Welsh Cakes

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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.

welsh cakes on white plate with spoonful of jam

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.

Welsh Cakes

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.

welsh cakes on a white plate with jam and a knitted cloth underneath

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 sprinkled in sugar on white plate and metal wire rack

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.

plate of welsh cakes with spoonful of strawberry jam

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 make welsh cakes, measure dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl

how to make welsh cakes, rub the butter and lard into the dry ingredients

how to make welsh cakes, add the raisins, egg and milk until a soft dough forms

how to make welsh cakes, roll out the dough and use a cookie cutter to cut out small rounds

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.

Welsh Cakes

welsh cakes sprinkled in sugar on white plate and metal wire rack

5 from 1 reviews

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.

  • Author: eatlittlebird.com
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 16
  • Category: Cakes
  • Method: Frying
  • Cuisine: Welsh

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Measure the flour, sugar, mixed spice and baking powder into the bowl of a KitchenAid.
  2. 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.
  3. Mix in the sultanas and then incorporate the egg.
  4. Beat lightly until you have a soft dough.
  5. Add a splash of milk if the mixture is too dry.
  6. Tip the dough onto a sheet of baking paper.
  7. Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper until it is about 1 cm (half an inch) thick.
  8. Use a 6 cm fluted biscuit or scone cutter to cut out rounds (or use any size cookie cutter you like).
  9. Re-roll the pastry as needed.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Serve warm, sprinkled with sugar or served with butter and/or jam on the side.
  13. These Welsh Cakes can be kept covered for a few days and either served cold or reheated gently on the stove.

Kitchen Notes

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

Nutrition

  • 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

Did you make this recipe?

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Update

This recipe was first published on 29 August 2011. It has been updated with new photos and more comprehensive recipe notes.

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32 comments on “Welsh Cakes

  1. Julia 29 August 2011

    What a wonderful and beautiful photo filled blog. My welsh friend makes these often, I’m sure the key to her husbands heart, on a proper welsh stone. I’m going to direct her here asap. Off for another photo ogle.

    Reply
    • eat little bird 29 August 2011

      Hi Julia! Thanks for sharing this link with Lynne 🙂 I wish I could have shared more photos but silly me forgot to bring my battery charger for my camera!

      Reply
  2. Hazzer 29 August 2011

    Beautiful blog Creme. I love Welsh cakes. It was one of the first things my grandmother let me cook by myself, probably something to with having to make 100s for a fund raiser 😉

    Reply
    • eat little bird 29 August 2011

      Thanks Hazzer! Sounds like both of our grandmothers believed in child-labour 😉 Given how wonderful they taste, I’m rather surprised that they are not more popular. But I guess that, in a way, this makes Welsh cakes just that bit more special.

      Reply
  3. Anita Menon 29 August 2011

    You reminded me of my visit to Wales when I lived in England until a year ago. Surprisingly I never got around sampling any Welsh Cakes. But thanks for sharing the recipe. This is my opportunity to relive my time in the beautiful Wales.

    Reply
    • eat little bird 29 August 2011

      Hi Anita! As I mentioned above, I was surprised that none of my cookbooks had a recipe for Welsh cakes so I am more than happy to share what was on my recipe postcard 🙂 After this particular afternoon tea at the B&B, I anxiously awaited the next opportunity to sample these lovely treats again, which we did at a café in Laugharne. Let me know if you get around to making these at home!

      Reply
  4. Lynne Morgan 29 August 2011

    My friend Julia directed me here to read your comments! I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit to Wales, and especially our Welsh cakes. As Julia says, I have an old cast iron bakestone that I use to make them and my husband loves them. In soppier moments I’ve cut the odd one or two with a heart cutter.

    Can I just say though, that they are not ‘fried’ in the traditional sense, you simply smear some oil/butter over your bakestone/griddle to oil it, much as you would with a cake pan. It takes some fiddling with the gas flame to get it ‘just-so’, to let them cook quietly without burning. As in all things though, practice makes perfect.

    Like you, I like to sit down mid-afternoon with a cup of tea and a Welsh Cake – Earl Grey is my personal preference. They seem to suit eachother so well.

    As we say at the bridge, Croeso i Gymru!

    Reply
    • eat little bird 29 August 2011

      Hello Lynne! Thank you so much for visiting my blog! I’m a bit nervous to have a Welsh person see my version of Welsh cakes so I hope they passed the test! Thank you for pointing out that the pan only needs to be smeared or wiped with fat – I probably used too much lard then … oops! For the first batch, I did wipe the pan with some lard using a paper towel, but I was worried that the cakes needed more fat in order to cook through to the centre. So I added more fat the next time which, of course, was all absorbed by the cakes! In hindsight, both methods produced similar results, though the former is probably more health conscious 😉 I will make a minor adjustment to the recipe.

      Earl Grey is also my favourite so I’m happy that I already have the perfect pairing for these Welsh cakes.

      It also makes me smile that I will always have fond memories of Wales whenever I make these 🙂 This is definitely a recipe which I will keep making again and again.

      Reply
      • Lynne Morgan 29 August 2011

        Baking Welsh Cakes really is an art form – I think it takes longer to faff about with the pan heat than it takes to make and roll them out! Like I said, my bakesone is quite thick cast iron so I get it quite hot before I start baking and then turn the gas down – think simmering temperature. The middle of the cakes cook with the heat of the bakestone. They were traditionally made on the old fashioned ranges and just never morphed into modern cakes – a throwback to when our great grandmothers made them!

        Your recipe is very similar to the one that I make. There are probably as many recipes as there are families – most a variation of the same basic one.

        I am so glad you enjoyed your visit to Wales, and took a little bit of us back with you.

        Reply
  5. This post made me so happy 🙂 I feel very lucky to live in Wales, it is indeed such a pretty place. And yes, we have welsh cakes! Cant really beat that now can you! 🙂 Love the little things so much and i havnt made them in farfar too long, so thank you for reminding me that i simply must make them very soon indeed! (ps just a fact to throw your way, welsh cakes traditionally do not have sugar on top, die hard fans would recoil at this fact! But i too like the sugary topping like you have done and is more common than not these days 🙂 )

    Reply
    • eat little bird 29 August 2011

      Hi Sasha! Oh dear … really?? Actually, come to think about it, the Welsh cakes I had in Wales were not sprinkled with sugar. But I wanted to stick to the recipe on the postcard because I (maybe foolishly?) thought that it was a “traditional” recipe! And also, I’m impartial to anything sweet so I sprinkled away!

      You are indeed very lucky to live in such a beautiful country. Even though it rained everyday when we were there, I think we would have been disappointed if it hadn’t rained! The area out near St. Clears, Haverfordwest, St. David’s, Pendine is so, so pretty. We loved it so much that we hope to return again someday for another visit, especially since there are now direct flights between Zurich and Cardiff 🙂 Next time, I will bring my rain boots!

      Reply
  6. renee 29 August 2011

    What is the combination of spices in “mixed spice”? I have never been to Wales and these sound delicious but I am unsure of the authentic spice flavors. Thanks!

    Reply
    • eat little bird 29 August 2011

      Hi Renee! The “mixed spice” which I use is a combination of ground cinnamon, ground allspice and ground nutmeg. If you can’t find “mixed spice” where you are, I would suggest adding a pinch of any or all of these mentioned spices. Or, you could probably also omit the spices. I have to admit that I was hesitant to add any at first because I didn’t recall the Welsh cakes I had eaten in Wales to be particularly aromatic. But it is such a small amount that I’m sure the cakes would still taste great without the spices.

      Reply
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    Reply
  8. Sara 29 August 2011

    What a lovely trip down memory lane during my lunch minute! Thank you for that! My grandmother was Welsh & taught us to make these as our first baking experience together – they are a family favorite I can’t wait to share with my daughter.

    Reply
    • eat little bird 29 August 2011

      Hi Sara! It sounds like you and many others have wonderful memories of learning how to make Welsh cakes as a young child, and I think these are such lovely memories to have! I have no doubt that these Welsh cakes will also be a favourite in our home 🙂

      Reply
  9. Reem | Simply Reem 29 August 2011

    Oh what a lovely post with amazing pictures and wonderful recipe!!!!
    I have never tried these but will love to have some now.
    Will make them for sure, They sounds delicious.

    Reply
  10. Len (from the urban peasantry) 29 August 2011

    We camped in Wales right on the border with England and swore we’d have to go back to drive deeper into Wales, I loved the countryside. The cakes sound very comforting. In North-Eastern Europe, where I come from, we’d make similar pan-fried cakes based on cottage cheese, which would probably be a nice substitute for butter in this recipe, in case someone is trying to limit the fats. I love quiet food, like these cakes. Have a lovely day!

    Reply
    • eat little bird 1 September 2011

      Hi Len! These cakes are indeed very comforting, like any sweet bite to have with a cup of tea 🙂 I’m interested to hear about your cakes with cottage cheese – sounds really lovely!

      Reply
  11. mommytanya (@mommytanya) 29 August 2011

    Those look amazing. Just last week I had a twitter conversation with a friend in NY and another friend in England. I grew up in SE Asia and did a study abroad at Oxford and we were all talking about different foods from different parts of the world and welsh cakes came up as something neither I nor my NY friend had heard of before. I can’t wait to try my hand at making these!

    Reply
    • eat little bird 1 September 2011

      Ooh please let me know if you do end up trying these! They are quite easy to make and even easier to eat 🙂 I’m rather surprised that these Welsh cakes are not more popular, though at the same time, the fact that they are not common do make them a bit more special.

      Reply
  12. At Anna's Kitchen Table 3 September 2011

    What beautiful photographs! I agree, there are some beautiful places in Wales (My brother lives in South Wales)
    I’ve never made Welsh cakes, but enjoy eating them!

    Reply
  13. Phyllis Hunter 18 November 2011

    It was lovely meeting you last week. I lookforward to your pictures of The Spice Diva. Your blog is beautiful and very interesting.

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 21 November 2011

      Hello Phyllis! It was lovely to meet you, also. Your spices travelled well back with me to Zurich 🙂 I hope to post a travel update soon … I’ll keep you posted!

      Reply
  14. Lydia 21 November 2011

    I like your blog, very informative !!!
    BTW, I love Welsh cake!!!! One of my favorite tea time snacks.
    xx

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 22 November 2011

      Thank you, Lydia! Happy to meet another Welsh cake fan 🙂 I must make them again soon!

      Reply
  15. Kris 20 March 2013

    Dad makes Welsh cakes and they are a family favorite! We tried the commercial version when we went to Wales, but Dad’s home baking is so much better! You’re right, getting the griddle to the right temp is the tricky part of the recipe. Thanks for introducing these to so many others! Your blog is beautiful.

    Reply
  16. Agness of Fit Travelling 16 February 2017

    Wales is magical, Thanh! Great you included the amazing cake, my grandmother used to prepare it when I was a child.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 16 February 2017

      How lovely to hear! I must make these again soon. They are so easy and delicious 🙂

      Reply
  17. Michele Lewis 9 January 2018

    My family made Welsh cakes(we just called them welsh cookies)for many years. I always use my grandmothers old electric frying pan. I don’t know where we got the recipe from, but I did find out a few years, ago that my great great grandparents were from Wales. It must have been passed down through the family. I’ve always enjoyed them, & maybe my Welsh heritage is the reason why I love them so much. By the way my husband’s grandparents were from Wales too. 🙂

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 19 January 2018

      So many connections to Wales! Have you ever travelled there? It’s such a beautiful part of the world. I grew up making pikelets (also called drop scones) on an electric frying pan, something which I think I will start with my own children 🙂

      Reply
  18. Julia 12 April 2018

    mmm…this looks delicious!!! Is good food and this looks like one of the BEST!! YUM!

    Reply

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