Sunday, 8 January 2012

Welsh Cakes

What can I say about these little beauties?  I grew up on these, my Grandmother, who lived in the same street as us and with whom I was incredibly close, used to bake them all the time.  My mother, who didn’t like them, used to bake them often for us – they were a staple of my childhood!  

Hubby loves them, and sometimes I make one or two with a heart cutter for him – usually when I want something but hey ho, it’s the thought that counts right?! 

These are at their absolute best while still slightly warm off the bakestone and with a cup of Earl Grey for some reason!  They don’t keep very well, which is just as well as they don’t hang around.  I always sugar mine but if you keep half un-sugared, if they last longer than two days they are delicious buttered. 

Traditionally cooked on a bakestone – a cast iron flat griddle.  Mine came to me from my
mother and was made for her by my great-uncle ....... at work in his job as colliery blacksmith! 

The recipe I use is as follows : 

12oz plain flour
8oz butter (or margarine)
5oz sugar
5oz dried fruit (I usually just use currants)
1tsp baking powder
½ tsp mixed spice
Pinch of salt
1 egg

Sieve together the flour, baking powder and mixed spice and add the sugar and butter and rub together as though you are making pastry.  I stick the whole lot in the KitchenAid and let it get on with it!  Then add the dried fruit and then the egg to bring it all together.  If it seems at all dry add a drop of milk.    

Roll out to a ½” thickness on a well floured surface and using a 2 ½” cutter cut into rounds. 

Lightly grease and heat your bakestone on the hob and cook the cakes for approximately 4 minutes each side.  The timing is very hit and miss to be honest, because the temperature of the bakestone depends on how long it has been on the heat and how high the heat is!  All I can say to you is to use your eyes and nose.  Flip them over when you think they are done on one side and check the colour – if they are underdone just flip them back to finish later. 

As they are done remove to a cooling rack and sprinkle with caster sugar on both sides. 

Some people prefer them with jam instead of fruit.  If you want to try that proceed as above but omit the dried fruit and when the cakes are cooked split them through their middle and spread with jam. 

I prefer them sugared, or stale and buttered!

I’ve made these for the cricket club from time to time and they disappear at an alarming rate when the tin is brought out! 

I’d like to dedicate this recipe to my lovely Grandmother.  She’s been gone for 26 years and I still miss her.

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