Monday, 2 March 2015

Welsh cakes

Since falling in love with a Welshman I have eaten my fair share of Welsh cakes. Reminding me of the cake from my heritage, Cornish fruit scones, these little beauties are a simple dough enriched with spice and fruit, cooked quickly on a hot griddle pan.

I'm not sure if it is coincidence or a regional variation, but the Welsh cakes that we eat in South Wales have a sugary coating to them, while the Welsh cakes that we ate in North Wales were served straight from the griddle, with no added sugar. It was the North Wales version that I personally preferred and over the week that we were away I found my favourites served at Ty Hyll (The Ugly House) in Capel Curig and The Poppity Bakery on Llanberis High Street.

With it being St David's Day yesterday I though it time to try my hand at these little tea time treats. My recipe is a version of three or four different recipes found online. Some people use self raising flour, others a blend of plain and baking powder. Again some use all butter, rather than using a lard mix and some omit the addition of spice. This seems to me the perfect reason to make them as often as possible, tweaking as you go until you find a Welsh cake that is perfect for you!

Welsh Cakes - Makes 12 3" cakes

225g plain flour
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp. mixed spice
50g unsalted butter
50g lard
85g caster sugar
50g raisins
1 medium egg, beaten
2 tbsp. milk

Rub the butter & lard into the flour, baking powder & salt until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.
Add the sugar, raisins & mixed spice and mix together gently.
Make a well in the centre of your dry mix and add the egg, along with half of your milk. Mix to make a stiff pastry, adding more of your milk to help the mix to bind.
Roll your pastry out onto a lightly floured surface to about 1cm thickness and cut into rounds.

Lightly grease and heat a smooth griddle pan, or a thick frying pan on a medium-high heat. Cook in batches of 4 cakes for 2-minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve still warm.

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