I have been planning for a while to make some Welsh cakes, ever since I went on a date a couple of months back with a very nice Welshman (we now no longer speak but that is a different story). He told me that Wales only have three national foodstuffs; rarebit which is basically just cheese on toast, lava bread which is definitely an acquired taste (i.e. not very nice) and Welsh cakes and that, of these, only the latter was something he was proud of. With such a recommendation as this how could I help wanting to make some of my own? And what better day to make them on than St David's day, the national day of Wales? I am not actually Welsh and therefore don't really have much right to be celebrating St David's day, though I did live there for a while as a child and I remember every year having to put on a little frilly bonnet and a daffodil to go to school - that at least gives me a reason for remembering the day. Plus I just love recognising days with food; if someone told me that in an obscure religious cult the worshipers celebrated the 9th of August as a holy day by making lemon meringue pie then I would probably do it, even if I had never heard of them (though I may look it up first just for curiosity's sake.)
I had never actually eaten Welsh cakes before I made them today. I always imagined them to be somewhere between a scone and a scotch pancake and this was not far off, though they don't have the texture of a scotch pancake, they are made in a similar way in a griddle rather than baked like scones. They are very similar to scones in terms of taste and texture, though I think that I actually may prefer them because they are a bit sweeter and have spices in them. The recipe I used for these is from Mary Berry's baking bible which I was given as a Christmas present but haven't actually cooked anything from until now. Here is an abbreviated version of the recipe:
350g Self raising flour
2 tsps baking powder
115g caster sugar
3/4 tsp ground mixed spice
1 large egg
2 tbs milk
extra caster sugar for sprinkling
- Lightly grease and heat a frying pan or griddle
- Measure out the flour and baking powder into a large bowl then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, currants and spice.
- Beat the egg with the milk and add it to the mixture and mix to form a firm dough, add more milk if necessary.
- Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface to about 5mm thick and cut into rounds with a 7.5 cm round cutter
- Cook the Welsh cakes on the pre-heated pan on a low heat for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown (don't cook them too fast or the centres will not be fully cooked)
- Cool on a wire rack and sprinkle with caster sugar.
They are really quite quick and easy to make if you can put in the effort and I would definitely recommend them. Happy St David's day everyone.