A delicious and authentic recipe for Welsh Cakes which are gently spiced and filled with raisins for sweetness. These Welsh Cakes are lovely served warm with some butter and jam, or simply with a sprinkle of sugar.
A Wedding in Wales
We have been lucky to have had the opportunity to go to Wales twice, both times for weddings of close friends. It is such a beautiful country, particularly if you head outside of Cardiff where you will see picturesque rolling hillsides, lush green farms and, if you make it that far, magnificent coast lines.
On the first occasion, I recall the bride telling stories of how she had stayed up the night before cooking batches of heart-shaped Welsh Cakes to give to guests as wedding favours.
On our second trip, we stayed in a quaint country house near St. Clears which had gorgeous views overlooking the Welsh countryside with glimpses of cows and sheep grazing in the distance; one could only feel relaxed in such surroundings.
Either sensing our state of tiredness from the travel or, more likely, as a sign of hospitality, our host offered to make us some fresh tea and Welsh Cakes, and we happily accepted.
And so if I didn’t appreciate the comfort of Welsh Cakes the first time around, I certainly understood them on our second visit. As a traditional tea-time snack, they are lovely with a cup of tea and will do wonders in helping you to unwind. That and the fresh, country air.
What are Welsh Cakes?
The next time you think about making scones, perhaps you might like to try your hand at these Welsh Cakes. Both recipes require more or less the same ingredients but, with Welsh Cakes, you make something more like a shortcrust pastry which is then pan-fried on the stove.
The texture is somewhat like a scone, but a bit more crumbly like a shortbread biscuit.
Welsh Cakes Recipe
Welsh Cakes are usually subtly spiced with cinnamon or mixed spice, and plumped with some raisins.
The Welsh Cake recipe below calls for lard, thereby guaranteeing that melt-in-your-mouth texture that you can’t always get with just butter.
I was rather surprised that I didn’t have a recipe for Welsh Cakes in any of my cookbooks, but thankfully I picked up a postcard in Wales which had a recipe for it on the front, and I adapted accordingly.
This is one of the things I love about travelling – discovering foodie treats that I can try to recreate when I get back home, a taste memory if you will.
How to Make Welsh Cakes
Making Welsh Cakes is very similar to making scones or pastry, in that you first rub the fat into the dry ingredients, followed by some egg and/or milk to bind the dough together.
What is special about Welsh Cakes is that they are gently spiced and contain raisins for sweetness.
And unlike scones, Welsh Cakes are cooked on the stove, a bit similar to cooking pancakes. I use a non-stick frying pan for this task, and the trick is to make sure the heat is gentle but moderate, so that the cakes can brown nicely, but also so that they cook through to the centre.
During our trips to Wales, I noticed that Welsh Cakes were generally made using a fluted cookie cutter. However, you can use plain round cookie cutters or any shape you like.
How to Serve Welsh Cakes
Welsh Cakes are wonderful served warm from the pan with just a sprinkling of sugar or even with some strawberry jam, but they also taste great cold. I know many love to spread just butter on their Welsh Cakes.
A delicious and authentic recipe for Welsh Cakes which are gently spiced and filled with raisins for sweetness. They are lovely served warm with some butter and jam, or simply with a sprinkle of sugar.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: Makes 16
- Category: Cakes
- Method: Frying
- Cuisine: Welsh
- 225 g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
- 85 g (1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon) caster sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 50 g (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 50 g lard, plus extra for frying
- 40 g sultanas
- 1 egg, beaten
- splash of milk
- granulated sugar, for sprinkling
- strawberry jam, for serving
- Measure the flour, sugar, mixed spice and baking powder into the bowl of a KitchenAid.
- Add the butter and lard and gently beat everything together with a flat paddle attachment until the mixture resembles damp sand. Alternatively, you can do this by hand by rubbing the butter and lard into the flour by using your fingertips.
- Mix in the sultanas and then incorporate the egg.
- Beat lightly until you have a soft dough.
- Add a splash of milk if the mixture is too dry.
- Tip the dough onto a sheet of baking paper.
- Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper until it is about 1 cm (half an inch) thick.
- Use a 6 cm fluted biscuit or scone cutter to cut out rounds (or use any size cookie cutter you like).
- Re-roll the pastry as needed.
- Using a paper towel, wipe some butter or lard onto a non-stick saucepan over low to medium heat and cook the cakes in batches, about 3 minutes a side until they are lightly golden and cooked throughout.
- To test if the cakes are cooked through the centre, gently squeeze the sides of the cake with your fingertips. If it feels a bit soft, the cakes might still be under-cooked in the centre. If the cakes feel firm (like a cookie), they should be cooked through.
- Serve warm, sprinkled with sugar or served with butter and/or jam on the side.
- These Welsh Cakes can be kept covered for a few days and either served cold or reheated gently on the stove.
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 135
- Sugar: 6.9g
- Sodium: 5.7mg
- Fat: 6.1g
- Carbohydrates: 18.1g
- Fiber: 0.5g
- Protein: 2g
- Cholesterol: 23.1mg
This recipe was first published on 29 August 2011. It has been updated with new photos and more comprehensive recipe notes.