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. Recipe with step-by-step photos.
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.
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.
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 it was then that I truly appreciated this tea-time ritual.
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.Print
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: Makes 16
- Category: Cakes
- Method: Frying
- Cuisine: Welsh
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.
- 225 g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour (all-purpose flour)
- 85 g (1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon) caster sugar (superfine 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.
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.
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!
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 😉
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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 🙂 )
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!
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!
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.
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.
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 🙂
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
It was lovely meeting you last week. I lookforward to your pictures of The Spice Diva. Your blog is beautiful and very interesting.
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!
I like your blog, very informative !!!
BTW, I love Welsh cake!!!! One of my favorite tea time snacks.
Thank you, Lydia! Happy to meet another Welsh cake fan 🙂 I must make them again soon!
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.
Wales is magical, Thanh! Great you included the amazing cake, my grandmother used to prepare it when I was a child.
How lovely to hear! I must make these again soon. They are so easy and delicious 🙂
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. 🙂
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 🙂
mmm…this looks delicious!!! Is good food and this looks like one of the BEST!! YUM!
My father, who is 90, would eat these like cookies… I would have to mail overnight to him… how would they fare? Lovely blog. ty. Mary Streets
Hi Mary, if you pack these Welsh Cakes properly, they should be completely fine in the post. I would suggest packing the cakes tightly in a plastic or cellophane bag, and then wrapping the bag in some bubble wrap or similar to protect them in the post. The cakes keep pretty well for several days, so they are perfect for posting to friends and family. I hope you and your father will enjoy this recipe!
I’m excited to try these! I’m sure my English mother will love them for Mother’s Day. I’m just curious: Do you know if these will handle freezing well? I’m hoping to make them in advance.
I’m not too familiar with freezing cakes, but my guess is that it should be fine for these Welsh Cakes. Their texture is similar to a scone, and I would suggest heating them up lightly once they have defrosted. Hope you will enjoy the recipe!
I enjoyed trying these, thanks. I made them with a food processor and frozen cubed butter (something I learned while making croissants from another excellent blog) then folded in raisins.
I would note that 1.5 cups of flour (Canadian all purpose) was 20gm over your specified weight. I mention this because I’ve become aware that Canadian flour needs to be cut back about 18-20% for bread (a major issue when it is 4-6 cups!) and these days I’m trying to be more careful about conversions.
I did find these to be quite sweet for my taste. I think the next time I would use 50% or 25% of specified sugar by weight, particularly with a jam (even a sourish one).
Thanks again for sharing!
Thank you for your feedback! I generally only use weight measures when baking for the reasons you have noted, but I have also included the US measures for those readers who are not familiar with using a kitchen scale. You can certainly cut back on the sugar in this recipe to suit your tastes – I frequently do that too 🙂 Thanks for visiting my website!