Welsh Cakes

Being able to make Welsh cakes (‘pice ar y maen’ in Welsh) is almost the law being married to a Welshman! My mother-in-law made wonderful, heart-shaped Welsh cakes for our wedding in 2017, and I’ve pretty much been smitten since. She even bought me a pancake pan especially so that I could make these beauties! I’ve made Welsh cakes several times and I never tire of them, as they are so delicious. The recipe I follow is one handed down to me which is known in Will’s family as ‘Mam-gu’s recipe’ (‘mam-gu’ is Welsh for ‘grandmother’). Welsh cakes often have mixed spices in them, but Will’s grandmother didn’t like spice so these are spice free. I’ve not tried one with spice, but all of Will’s family say how much they dislike them, so I’ve always stuck to this recipe. One day I might go rogue and make a batch with spice in it just to see what it tastes like hehe!

Making the Welsh Cakes

Step 1: Gather the ingredients

Here are the ingredients that I used:

  • 283 g self-raising flour
  • 85 g caster sugar
  • 113 g butter (softened)
  • 28 g Trex
  • 1 large egg
  • 72 g sultanas
Welsh Cakes Ingredients

Step 2: Make dough

First, I put the self-raising flour and the caster sugar into a large bowl, and stirred it together:

Stir self-raising flour and caster sugar

Next, using my fingertips, I rubbed in the butter and Trex (this is 100% vegetable baking fat) until the mixture was crumbly and resembled breadcrumbs:

Add butter and Trex
Rub in butter and Trex until crumbly

Then, I mixed in sultanas, as that’s what I had in the cupboard. The recipe I wrote down says sultanas and raisins, however several recipes use currants – I wonder if that’s more traditional. At this point I did a bit of research and learnt that sultanas and raisins are sweet and currants are tart. I think next time I will use currants to see if I can taste the difference.

Stir in sultanas

I beat the egg and then added it to the mixture:

Mix egg into mixture

I start off stirring it with a wooden spoon to get it going, and then I use my hands to bring it together. I’ve added too much egg in the past, which has resulted in a dough which is too sticky to roll out. So by handling the dough, I am able to judge the consistency of the dough better. You are looking to achieve a soft, malleable dough. In this instance I left some of the egg out as there was too much. I was really happy with how my dough turned out – it was malleable and not sticky – definitely the best I’ve ever made it!:

Welsh cake dough

Step 3: Roll out dough

Next, I rolled out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of approximately 1 cm. I floured the rolling pin too. I gently press the dough before rolling – when you first start rolling it seems like it’s going to completely crumble but it soon ends up smooth (although the edges always crumble a bit). Normally, the more times you roll out the dough, the worse the consistency of the dough gets – but not this time, hoorah! Only the last Welsh cake I cut out looked a bit cracked:

Roll out the dough

Step 4: Cut out Welsh cakes

I used a 6 cm plain round plastic cutter to cut out the Welsh cakes. After pressing down, I use a fingernail to scrape around the edge of the cutter to remove any sultanas jutting out. The cakes came out easily from the cutter and weren’t sticking to the surface much – bonus!:

Cut out Welsh cakes
Cut-out Welsh cake

Then I reroll the trimmings and repeat the process, reflouring the surface and rolling pin each time. I rolled out the dough five times and it made 16 Welsh cakes in total (batch 1 = 9, batch 2 = 4, batch 3 = 1, batch 4 = 1, batch 5 = 1). I think I made these thicker than I normally do, as I didn’t get as many from the dough – however I think they were a great size.

Step 5: Cook the Welsh cakes

I transferred the Welsh cakes to a floured plate, so that I could take them to the hob:

Welsh cakes on floured plate, ready for cooking

Next, heat up the pancake pan – you do not need to grease it. I cooked the cakes in three batches on a low heat. I cooked them for approximately four minutes on each side. Note that several recipes say to cook them for three minutes on each side, but I think because my cakes were a bit thicker than normal, they needed a little longer.

Using a spatula and a flat wooden spoon, I tend to move the cakes around the pan, as for some reason one side of the pan always gets hotter than the other. I also check the bottoms from time to time, to check that they’re not getting too dark. I find that the first batch of cooked Welsh cakes never look as nice as the second and third. I don’t know why…:

Welsh cakes about to be cooked
Cooked Welsh cakes

Step 6: Transfer to wire rack

After each batch has cooked, transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool down:

Welsh cakes on wire rack

Here are a few more pictures:

Closeup of Welsh cakes
Stacked Welsh cakes
Welsh cakes on plate
Inside of Welsh cake

Verdict

These Welsh cakes tasted so good! Definitely the best I’ve ever made them. They were sweet, crumbly and utterly delicious. They don’t tend to last long once baked (because they end up in our bellies!), but this time we put some away in the freezer. Have you ever tried Welsh cakes?

Published by

Helena Davies

Baker and Linguist based in Cardiff, Wales.

8 thoughts on “Welsh Cakes”

  1. For something that looks so yummy, it seems that these Welsch cakes are surprisingly easy to make. I have never had one but now I am really curious, especially about the spiced and not spiced ones.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Great! Bara brith (traditional Welsh fruit cake) is great in the colder weather as itโ€™s quite heavy – but perfect for taking on hikes ๐Ÿ˜Š

        Like

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