The first Easter following our move to England happened to coincide with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. This only meant one thing to us – extra holidays! So we set off on a camping trip to Wales where we encountered these yummy things called Welsh cakes. We also encountered some other interesting things like the guy who was into dressing up like Elvis and going to gatherings with other “Elvises” but that’s a story for another day.
What are “Welsh cakes” ? Really, they are a pancake more than a cake – made with flour, raisins/sultanas, spices such as cinnamon, butter,eggs and sugar. There isn’t really any baking time involved as you cook them on the stove in a fry pan. They are a lovely accompaniment to tea and go with any sort of fruit jam/preserve.
Do give it a go as it is incredibly easy to make and takes barely any time to put together. In addition, you can make it gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and sugar-free if you’d like.
225 gms standard flour (can be substituted with gluten-free flour)
85 gms caster sugar
100 gms butter cut into small cubes (can substitute with margarine, vegetable spread)
50 gms (1/2 cup) of sultanas, raisins or currants
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
splash of milk (I used hazelnut milk as I had some but can use any dairy or non-dairy milk)
1. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, mixed spice and cinnamon in a large bowl and mix until well combined.
2. Add the cubed butter to the flour and use your thumbs to crumble the butter into the flour. The end result should be a mixture that resembles fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively, you can add all ingredients to a food processor and blitz them for 30 – 45 seconds.
Note: If you are using a vegetable spread/margarine, make sure it is really cold (frozen if possible). Otherwise, the warmth of your fingers will melt the fat almost instantly and you won’t be able to make the bread-crumb like mixture with it.
3. Add sultanas to the mixture and fold them in.
4. Finally add a splash of milk (or water) to bring the dough together into a ball.
5. Roll the ball out into a flat circle, no more than 1cm in thickness. Mine’s about 7-8mm as you can see below – about the thickness of a sultana.
6. Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles. If there is leftover dough, roll it back into a flat disc and repeat the cutting. Place the cut circles on a bit of parchment paper on a baking tray.
7. To cook the Welsh cakes, heat a shallow pan to a medium level of heat. Lightly grease the pan with vegetable oil or butter and test run one of the cakes to see if it is hot enough.
8. If the pan is hot enough, the Welsh cakes should puff up lightly and go a golden brown. Once the pan is hot enough, you can cook the rest in batches that will fit your pan. If it isn’t hot enough, wait 1-2mins longer.
9. Store the cooked Welsh cakes in an airtight container and consume within 3-4 days. Usually, mine are gone within the day so I needn’t worry too much. Serve them while still hot, with a fruit jam or preserve or just with some sugar sprinkled on top.
10. And every time I eat them, I can’t help but think of our trip to Wales..