Hi guys, I know its been a while – must try better!
I had the best day this week, I got to spend the day at my childrens’ school. They were having Dragon Day as part of Welsh Week where they had celebrated St David’s Day; they sang, danced, crowned the Bard and had all sorts of fun. Dragon Day was spent with the 73 pupils of year one and two going from station to station where all sort of creative things were set up for them to make Dragons. I was at one of the stations that they could visit and we made Welsh Cakes which they could cut out with dragon shapes or dragon egg shaped ones! I made the dough in advance but they got to roll and cut it out. I then cooked them on my bakestone on a camping stove (I kid you not). They were barely cool before my little charges had devoured them. Welsh Cakes are definitely best straight off the bakestone and this lot didn’t disagree. I was amused to discover a few chancers coming back two or three times or just hanging about in the hope of surreptitiously being slipped a Welsh Cake.
A bakestone is a heavy round metal plate with a handle which one put’s on a heat source and you cook on it. A lot of Port Talbot people will have their grandmother’s bakestone which would probably have been made in the Steelworks and smuggled home. I remember my Dad saying he tied some string to the handle of the one he made at British Steel and hung it around his neck under his overcoat like a huge medal to cycle past the security gate and the few miles home! So many Welsh people will recall a memory of their Nana or Mamgu making Welsh Cakes whilst they watched and waited patiently to eat them. It’s quite an evocative memory. A smooth griddle or a heavy based frying pan will also work.
I use a basic Welsh Cake recipe as Im an old fashioned gal. I have noted that blueberries and chocolate chips are making an appearance in some modern versions. I say nothing.
125g cold Welsh butter
250g self raising flour
75 g Caster sugar
150g currants / raisins or sultanas
pinch of mixed spice
In a large bowl cube the butter and rub it into the flour to make breadcrumbs (Like making pastry). Mix in the sugar, dried fruit and mixed spice then add the eggs to bring it all together as a dough. Shape into a disk cover (usually in cling film but I’m trying to do my bit for the planet) and pop in the fridge for 20 minutes or more.
Roll out to about a centimetre thick and then stamp out – a round fluted cutter is traditional but any shape can be used (dragons, hearts etc).
Heat your bakestone (or griddle etc) and pop the Welsh Cakes on in batches, probably around two minutes a side. The hardest part is getting the heat right. As the bakestone is just a slab of metal it conducts heat effectively. I find a low heat is best, even on the smallest ring. My bakestone is well seasoned so I don’t use oil or butter on it to cook as I find the cakes tend to burn before cooking through, I do however oil it before I put it away, just like you do with a wok.
If you don’t like dried fruit, leave it out then when cool enough to handle, cut them in half and spread with jam – Jam Splits – Yum.