I first tasted an excellent Welsh Cake on a trip to Cardiff around five years ago. I was visiting with my sister, and we decided to take a walk around the waterfront. We passed a tiny shop, which had just enough space for a small counter and griddle, on which a steady stream of fresh Welsh cakes were cooked and sold piping hot in paper bags. I couldn’t resist buying a few, and I can only describe them as a complete revelation. I would liken them to scones; when shop bought, they are hideous, but when cooked fresh, they are scrumptious – soft, light dough, packed with juicy sultanas and a faint spicy note, topped with a light dusting of crunchy sugar.
I’ve been meaning to make them ever since, but producing four cookbooks in quick succession has left me with less time for experimentation than I’d have liked. However, I’ve finally had time to have a play around and have come up with this recipe. It’s based on a Be Ro recipe which must be 30 years old at a guess, but I’ve adjusted the quantities and flavourings to make it even more delicious. I do hope you enjoy them, too. They’re ever so easy to make, and would be really fun to make with children, too.
Makes around 20
500g self-raising flour, plus extra for the work surface
100g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 generous pinch sea salt
1 tsp mixed spice
250g salted butter
1 large egg, beaten
3 tbsp whole milk
Place the flour, sugar, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl and stir well to evenly distribute the flavourings amongst the flour. Add the sultanas and stir again.
Next, whisk the egg and milk together, and pour into the dry ingredients. Gently stir to form a stiff dough.
Lightly dust the work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Roll it in flour to cover all surfaces and roll out to just under 1cm thick. Taking a 5-6cm round cutter, stamp out discs of dough. Bring the remaining dough into a ball and roll again, using a little more flour if you need it.
Once all your dough is used, place a large non-stick frying pan onto a medium heat to warm. Your pan needs to be hot, but not smoking, or too hot even, as the Welsh cakes will burn too quickly. Place the discs into a dry pan and cook for around 3-4 minutes on each side until they are a medium brown colour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before eating. They keep well for 3-4 days, stored in an airtight container.