Welsh Cakes

welsh_cakesHot straight from the baking stone or griddle with lashings of good Welsh butter is how we like our Welsh cakes. Who need English scones?

The Welsh cake (Welsh pl: picau ar y maen) is a traditional Welsh snack, somewhat similar to a scone.

The cakes are also known as bakestones within Wales because they are traditionally cooked on a bakestone (Welsh: maen), a cast iron griddle about 1.5 cm or more thick which is placed on the fire or cooker.

Welsh cakes are made from flour, butter or lard, eggs, sugar, and currants and/or raisins. They are roughly circular, a couple of inches (4–6 cm) in diameter and about half an inch (1–1.5 cm) thick.

Welsh cakes are served hot or cold dusted with caster sugar. Unlike scones, they are not usually eaten with an accompaniment, though they are sometimes sold ready split and spread with jam, and they are sometimes buttered. They are often eaten with tea.

In some regions of Wales, the bakestone is a food separate from the Welsh cake, being larger and less sweet.

RECIPE
Ingredients

  • 225g/8oz plain flour
  • 100g/4oz butter
  • 75g/3oz caster sugar
  • 50g/2oz currants
  • ½tsp baking powder
  • ¼tsp mixed spice
  • 1 egg
  • A pinch salt
  • A little milk to bind

Method
Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, mixed spice) together into a mixing bowl. Cut up the butter and rub into the flour. Stir in the sugar and fruit, pour in the egg and mix to form a dough, use a little milk if the mixture is a little dry. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about the thickness of a biscuit. Use a pastry cutter to cut out rounds.

Cook the cakes on a greased bake stone or griddle until golden. The heat should not be too high, as the cakes will cook on the outside too quickly, and not in the middle. Once cooked sprinkle with caster sugar and serve with butter.

As an alternative you can try mixed dried fruit or tropical fruit. Some grated lemon or orange rind is also good. An unusual but delicious addition is 1 teaspoon of lavender flowers with some citrus zest. Add a little orange juice, zest and icing sugar to some soft butter to serve with the Welsh cakes.