St David’s Day (1st March) is nearly upon us. It’s time to make some celebratory Welsh Cakes (pice bach, cacen gri, pice ar y maen). Traditionally Welsh Cakes were cooked on a bakestone or cast iron griddle and are sometimes referred to as ‘bakestones’. The bakestone or planc was heated on the open fire and used as a cooking surface.
Recipes vary from region to region and within families a favourite recipe is often handed down from generation to generation – ask a local person what makes the best Welsh Cake and the debate could last for hours! There are lots of alternative Welsh Cake flavours available now and in some areas they are popular split and filled with jam. Usually the cakes are made with flour, butter, sugar and raisins or sultanas/currants, sometimes a little cinnamon, spice or nutmeg is added. Some recipes use lard instead of butter. Welsh cakes are normally served plain, sometimes they are buttered or dusted with sugar but they are nearly always served with a good cup of tea.
The recipe below is adapted from several different versions and is my personal favourite:
8oz(225g) self raising flour
4oz(110g) Welsh butter
3oz(75g) sultanas or raisins
3oz(75g) caster sugar
1/4 tsp mixed spice and 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Rub the butter into the flour and spices, add the fruit and then stir in the beaten egg to form a dough. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1cm thick and cut into rounds about 6cm across. Lightly grease a heavy based frying pan or a griddle (if you have one) with lard and cook the Welsh Cakes for about 3 minutes on each side till golden brown and cooked through. Put the kettle on, put your feet up and enjoy your Welsh Cakes.