If you haven’t tried welsh cakes before, you don’t know what you’re missing. I never used to be a fan when I was younger as I’m not a massive currant/sultana lover but as I’ve grown up my taste buds have evolved and now I love them!
There’s something about welsh cakes that’s warm, comforting and very satisfying when baking them yourself from scratch. Like pastry, I love the feeling of making something by hand. You can use a food processor for these but for the amount of time it takes (plus the extra washing up) I would definitely recommend getting your hands stuck in.
I find it hard to describe the taste and texture of a welsh cake…it’s not a scone, it’s not a cake and it’s not a biscuit. They are light and when baked right, melt in the mouth and have a slightly spiced flavour.
They can also be referred to as “bakestones” and this is because welsh cakes were originally baked on a bake stone or griddle. However, you can bake welshcakes in a heavy bottom frying pan. (preferably cast iron or something similar) I use an electric crepe maker as I find it works just as well once you get the temperature right. You basically want something that’s going to distribute the heat evenly so a normal frying pan or saucepan would probably cook the welsh cakes too quickly and burn them.
Welsh cakes have always been popular and lately I’ve seen many variations on the recipe…White chocolate and raspberry, chocolate chip, Cherry Bakewell, orange and cranberry, jam splits and chocolate orange are some of the most popular options I’ve seen around and they all taste just as delicious!
I had the inspiration to make a Christmas themed welsh cake last week, due to the fact that as much as I love Christmas and the variety of seasonal flavours around, I’m not a fan of traditional Christmas pudding, Christmas cake or mince pies! I selfishly wanted to create something that I could enjoy at Christmas time with all my family and this is my play on the traditional welsh cake recipe…
Ingredients (makes 12 – 16 welsh cakes)
225g Self Raising Flour
110g unsalted butter
75g golden caster sugar
1 large egg
1tsp all spice (you can use mixed spice, however I’d highly recommend all spice to ramp up that Christmassy flavour)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Grated zest of 1 orange
Pinch of salt
60g sultanas or currants
**Soak your sultanas in the Brandy overnight if possible to help them absorb as much flavour as possible**
1. In a large bowl, add the self raising flour, all spice, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, salt and orange zest together and mixed so everything is well incorporated.
2. Cut the butter into cubes and add to the flour mix. Use your fingertips to rub the flour mix and butter together until it resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Add the sugar and mix with a fork until combined.
4. Crack the egg into the mixture and use a fork to gently combine everything together.
5. Drain the sultanas and then add them to the mixture. Use your hands to combine everything together until it forms a dough. (Be careful not to overwork the mixture as the gluten in the flour will cause the welsh cakes to become hard and dry. Just work it enough until it just comes together)
**Normally, in a traditional welsh cake recipe, I would add a little drop of milk if the mixture seemed to dry or wasn’t coming together easily but because of the liquid in the sultanas you shouldn’t need too. If you feel the mixture is a bit dry add a little milk or if it’s too wet, add a tiny bit of flour.
6. Lightly dust your work surface with flour and place your dough mix on the surface. Use a rolling pin to roll out your mixture to a thickness of around 5mm (1/4 inch) thick.
7. Take a biscuit or pastry cutter and cut out as many rounds as possible. If you have any spare dough left simply form another ball of dough and re-roll it, cutting out more rounds. You should have between 12 – 16 welsh cakes depending on the size cutter used.
8. Place your bakestone/griddle/heavy bottomed frying pan over a low-medium heat. Grease the pan with a little butter. I use an non stick electric crepe maker which works just as well.
9. Cook the welsh cakes for about 3 minutes on each side until they are a lovely golden brown colour. (I always do a tester on one of my welsh cakes to make sure the temperature is correct and adjust accordingly if needed)
10. Once the welsh cakes are cooked, transfer to a plate and dust them lightly with caster sugar.
11. Welsh cakes are best enjoyed warm but they will keep fresh for a couple of days when stored in an airtight container. Add some butter (or brandy butter) over the top for an extra indulgence.
These treats didn’t last 2 minutes in my house so I’ll definitely be making a few more batches before Christmas. Plus these would make lovely Christmas gifts for family and friends. I hope you enjoy them as much as me and my family.