The first day of March is St David’s day. St David is the patron saint of Wales and whilst I consider myself to be Cornish I was actually born in Wales. The daffodils aren’t out here yet so I need to find something else to mark the day with. That’s a good enough excuse to make Welsh cakes for me!
My mum used to make these for us as an after-school treat, cooking them directly on the stove top of our Rayburn. Although the method and ingredients for the dough are similar to scones the end result is quite different. Soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside little griddlecakes, they are delicious warm with a little dab of butter or cold sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.
I have also read about the tradition of giving ‘Newport lovelies’ whereby the men of Newport give their new wives Welsh cakes as a wedding gift. I think my friend Katy may need to have words with her husband about this as a suspect she may have missed out.
You don’t have to soak the fruit, it’s not traditional to, but it does plump it up a bit and the tea adds an extra depth of flavour. If you choose to do so then simply pour a few tablespoons of black tea over the fruit and leave it for a few hours to absorb. Drain off any excess liquid before using.
makes about 12
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
pinch of salt
3 tbsp dried fruit (raisin/sultana/currants) soaked in tea
splash of milk or buttermilk (I used the orange buttermilk from my homemade butter)
Mix together all of the dry ingredients except the fruit. Cut the butter into small pieces and rub this into the dry ingredients to leave you with a mixture that resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix through the fruit.
Lightly beat the egg and use this to bring the dry mixture together to form a soft dough. If you need a little more moisture then incorporate the milk/buttermilk into the mix.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1cm thick. Use any shaped cutter you like, though round is traditional, to cut out the cakes. Cook these in a little butter on a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. They should take about 3 minutes on each side and be just cooked in the middle.
My home made orange and cinnamon butter is really good on these by the way…