What is a Welsh cake? It’s cooked on a griddle so it must be like a pancake, right? Except that it’s made from rolled out dough, so does that make it a cookie or a cake?
The correct answer is: none of the above. Welsh cakes are a delicious treat that doesn’t fit into any of those categories. And don’t let the name fool you. That is simply the English name given when they became popular in the 1930s.
The term Welsh cake is first mentioned in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1932. However, in all likelihood it existed long before that, as the Picau Ar Y Maen. Some claim that they date back to medieval times in Wales. Women in each generation handed down their recipes to their daughters and granddaughters.
So what exactly is a Welsh cake? It is a firm dough of flour, sugar, butter, egg and currants. The spices vary, some recipes use none while others add nutmeg or ginger. The dough is rolled out, cut into rounds and cooked on a griddle or bakestone. They are then sprinkled with sugar. One variation in South Wales is the Jam Split, a Welsh cake cut in half like a scone and sandwiches back together with jam.
8oz / 225g self-raising flour
1 tsp ginger or mixed spice (optional)
4oz / 110g butter
4oz / 110g sugar
4 oz / 110g currants
a splash of milk
Sieve the flour and spice (if using). Rub the butter. Add the sugar and currants.
Beat the egg and stir into the mix. Add a small amount of milk, as necessary, to create a firm dough.
Roll out the dough to about half an inch thickness. Cut into rounds.
Preheat the griddle and lightly grease. Cook the rounds for 3-4 minutes and then flip. Cook for the same amount of time on the other side. Remove from the griddle and sprinkle with sugar.
These are delicious warm, or keep them in an airtight tin and enjoy cold. They also freeze well.