Mum’s Welsh Cakes
St David’s day, 1st March, every year without fail my Mum made Welsh Cakes. My Welsh speaking Mum used to call them ‘Pice ar y maen’. She would stand at the stove for hours, flipping the little cakes, watching they didn’t burn, and hushing us away as we tried to nab the hot ones straight from the griddle pan. No one made Welsh cakes quite like Mum did – crumbly but firm, with just the right dusting of sugar across the top.
She would always make far more than the family could eat, some were taken to work, the others stashed in the freezer and brought out again in July when we’d forgotten they ever existed.
This year there won’t be any Welsh cakes made by Mum as last June she was cruelly taken away from us by Mesothelioma – a form of lung cancer. Mum was only 62. It seems funny now, but in the days after she died, I had an immediate instinct to make up a batch of Welsh cakes for the family who had all gathered together at the house. I was hoping my cakes would bring comfort, fond memories of Mum making them and most of all replicate a Welsh cwtch (a cuddle) from Mum for all of those that needed it.
A good heavy bakestone or griddle pan (or maen in Welsh) is essential to the success of the Welsh cake. Mum bought me one, so I could learn to make my own the first Christmas after I’d officially left home.
- 225g self raising flour or for gluten free, use a white flour blend (Doves works well)
- ½ teaspoon mixed spice or ground nutmeg
- pinch salt
- 100g butter, cold from the fridge, cubed
- 75g caster sugar
- 75g dried mixed fruit, currents or sultanas
- 1 small egg
- A little milk
- First, sift together the flour, mixed spice and a pinch of salt. Rub the butter it into the flour, as you would for making pastry. When the mixture becomes crumbly add in the sugar and fruit. Beat the egg with a couple of tablespoons of milk and then add this into the mixture, working it into a dough.
- Move the dough onto a lightly floured worktop and roll out to roughly ½ -3/4 centimetre thick. Using a ~6.5cm circular cookie cutter cut the dough into rounds.
- Using kitchen paper lightly smear the griddle pan all over with butter and warm over a medium heat. Cook the cakes in batches for 2-3 minutes each side until golden browned - making sure that they are cooked on the inside as well as the out.
- Sprinkle with a little extra caster sugar and serve warm.
- Keep re-rolling and cooking the left-overs until all the dough is used up.
- Some Welshies serve with extra butter on top. This was not our family tradition!
You can use 225g plain flour + 1 tsp baking powder if you don't have self raising.