Welsh cakes, sometimes called “bakestones” or as my family calls them – “plank-cooks”, are something I’ve enjoyed cooking and eating since I was small. I’ve made them for friends and colleagues to a warm reception. Many have asked for the recipe so here it is. There are lots of welsh cake variations, usually regional. I don’t claim these are the best or easiest they are just the ones that four generations of my family have made.
This makes about 30. Preparation takes around 30 mins. Cooking takes about 45 mins and you need to be there for all of it.
- 1lb/450g Self-raising flour
- ½lb/225g Butter
- 6oz/170g Caster sugar
- 12oz/340g Currants
- 3 Eggs
- drop of milk
- I’ve given both imperial (UK) and metric but in reality I’ve always measured this is imperial so the metric is an approximation.
- You can use Margarine in place of butter but make sure it’s a suitable for baking one (e.g. not Flora light!).
- You can use Sultanas in place of the currants. Raisins will do at a push but can go bitter at the cooking stage.
- I’ve made a sugar-free version (for diabetics) using granular Canderel – use ¾oz/20g in place of all the sugar.
- Sift the flour ( not strictly required but makes for a smoother mix)
- Rub the butter into the flour until it is like breadcrumbs
- Add the fruit and sugar and mix together
- Add the eggs and mix well
- Add the milk very gradually while mixing. The consistency you are looking for is like
sticky pastry. Not too dry or it will break up when cooking but too sticky will make it hard
to roll out.
- Roll out the mix on a floured surface. Roll it until it is about ¼” / ½ cm thick.
- Cut into 2½” / 7cm rounds. I use a pastry cutter but my Nan always used the same
- Cook on a greased (with butter) smooth griddle or heavy frying pan. They usually take about 30 seconds on
each side – until they are brown but not burned. Flip them once and leave to cool.
- Dust with caster or icing sugar.
Best served slightly warm with a bit of butter and cup of tea! They are not usually accompanied by jam or cream. If you want that make scones.
They will keep in an air-tight container for a few days without drying out. You can freeze them when they have cooled properly. Defrost at room temperature and enjoy.
Don’t be tempted to cook them for too long or they burn. If the inside seems less cooked when you take them off that’s fine. It continues to cook slightly and if you leave them on too long the outside burns and that tastes horrible. My Nan taught me to flip them using my hands (careful though). She said if you could lift them and the underside was stiff they were ready to turn , if they bend too much then you need to leave them a bit.
You can also freeze the dough once it is made and defrost it before cooking but in my experience the best ones are made from fresh dough. In a similar way some recipes recommend chilling the dough for a couple of hours before cooking but that’s not something I was ever taught to do or have tried (habit I guess).
Traditionally they are baked on a smooth griddle – often called a plank or stone. A heavy or thick frying pan will do but some of the more modern frying pans transmit the heat too quickly and the cakes burn. DO NOT use oil on the griddle/pan – instead grease it with butter. The heat setting for the griddle will vary depending upon your cooker and griddle. Experiment with various settings until you reach a good one. As said you want them to go golden after about 30 seconds.