You are here


St. David's Day, March 1, and Welshcakes - Sue Northcott
Welshcakes - Gloria Robertson
Welshcakes - John Gosden
Welshcakes, US Edition - Larry Finch
Another Welshcake Recipe
More Welshcakes
Welshcakes with Nutmeg
Welshcakes with Nutmeg, Two
Mixed Spices
             Larry Finch
             Jan Hatwell
             Sue Northcott

St. David's Day, March 1, and Welshcakes - Sue Northcott
Dydd Gwyl Dewi hapus i pawb dros y byd!
A happy St. David's Day to everyone across the world!
I realise that it must be March 1st for some of you already, although we've got quite a few hours to go yet.
As the actually day is on Saturday the children have gone off to school today wearing their traditional costumes and daffodils or leeks. They'll be spending the day singing Welsh songs, dancing and reciting poems and stories. They'll be eating some national delicacies as well. I was informed, just as I left for work yesterday morning, that Cari had promised 'Miss' that I'd cook Welshcakes for the whole class. So, I was busy last night. It could have been worse. I could have been expected to provide cawl (stew, usually lamb and vegetable) or Glamorganshire sausages (made with cheese and no meat), as well. (Actually, Cari did most of the work herself and is very proud of her first batch of Welshcakes.)
Tomorrow I'll wear my daffodil with pride.
For the story of Saint David, here's a link to an interesting program from BBC Radio 4: The Real Patron Saints
The broadcast lasts for half an hour. There are links for St. George, St. Andrew and St. Patrick, too. The BBC site has lots of radio programs that you can listen to on-line, even months after they were first broadcast.
The window of my office in Swansea faces east over the docks and Swansea bay. Provided there's not too much cloud I see the sun rise over Port Talbot and the sea every morning. Most of the senior managers have view of the Mumbles and get spectacular sunsets.
If you look at the views you may understand why I'm so fond of the sea.

This is the recipe for Welshcakes that we use. I got it from my Nanna who had it from her grandmother in Whitland, Pembrokeshire.
1lb (450g) Four (I use self-rising)
6oz (175g) Sugar (white granulated is ok)
6oz (175g) Fat, 1/2 lard, 1/2 salted butter (you can use all butter or a solid vegetable oil)
a pinch of salt
1/2 a teaspoon of ground mixed spice
1 large egg
milk to mix
Dried Fruit (this is optional, though I usually use raisins (my kids don't like the more traditional dried currants), the amount is up to you).
Mix all the dry ingredient (except the fruit). Rub the fat into the dry mixture. Add the fruit, if you're using it. Beat the egg well and add to the mixture and stir. Slowly add enough milk to form a stiff dough (like scone dough). (Don't worry if you add too much, a little extra flour will sort it out.) Knead well. Turn out onto a floured board and roll to 1/2 inch (or about 1cm) in thickness. Cut into rounds. Cook on a well greased plate over a low heat, turning regularly until both sides are brown.
Some people like to sprinkle sugar on them, but I think they're sweet enough already. If there are any left when they get cold you can spread the with butter (salted, of course). Here the plain ones are often split and filled with jam.
Personally I like mine hot and slightly undercooked in the middle, so they're crisp on the outside and squidgy in the middle.
Here the hot plates we use are usually round and made of cast iron. We call them bakestones, in English, or 'planc', in Welsh. Mine was made for me about 30 years ago by my grandfather from a piece of mild steel 'liberated' from Port Talbot steelworks. A griddle or heavy frying pan will work just as well. \

Welshcakes - Gloria Robertson
I dug into my 'bible' of British Cooking - a gift from Doug in 1976 - it being the only thing he could find in the one bookshop open over Christmas whilst on a charter flight at the time - I tell all this to give you the background! I think he was thinking of his stomach! The name of the book is "British Cookery, a complete guide to the culinary practice in the British Isles", based on research undertaken for the British Farm Produce Council and the British Tourist Authority by the University of Strathclyde, edited by Lizzie Boyd. The book itself would make a handy weapon as it is a worthy tome, but read the recipes! Most would fell the ordinary person who is trying to count calories! But, if you want to know how to make Trout Usequebaugh (add a generous amount of whisky) or Welsh Cakes, it is worth it's not inconsiderable weight in gold!
Welsh Cakes:
Half a pound of plain flour
Half a teaspoon of baking powder
Quarter of a teaspoon of mixed spice
2 oz margerine
2 oz lard
3 oz castor sugar
2 oz currants
1 egg
Sift the flour, baking powder and mixed spice; rub in the margerine and lard, add the sugar, currants and beaten egg. Mix in the milk to make a stiff dough and roll out to about a quarter inch thick. Cut into two rounds and bake on a hot griddle until golden brown, after about 4 mins on each side.

Welshcakes - John Gosden
Elizabeth David gives a recipe in her English Bread and Yeast Cookery. "Rub 6 oz (170g) butter into 9 oz (250g) plain flour. Work in 1 whole large egg, 3 oz (85 g) each of currants and sugar, 1/2 tsp of mixed spice or grated nutmeg, 1/2 tsp baking powder. Roll or pat the dough out to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Stamp out rounds with a cutter or small glass 3 inches in diameter. Bake the cakes on a griddle or planc, or in a lightly buttered frying pan (skillet). They are quickly cooked, and should be soft, not crisp. When well made, Welsh cakes are light and short, and I find them delicious. Sometimes they are eaten with a little butter, although when fresh I find them better without it."

Welshcakes, US Edition - Larry Finch
I have the US edition of Elizabeth David - she also has US measure for the welshcakes:
3/4 C butter
1 2/3 C unbleached flour
1 large egg
1/2 C currents
6 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp mixed sweet spice (or nutmeg)
1/2 tsp baking powder

Another Welshcake Recipe
8oz flour
4oz butter
3oz castor sugar
2oz currants
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
2 tablespoons milk
pinch of salt
1 egg
Sift the flour, baking powder, spice and salt together.
Rub in the butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and fruit.
Beat the egg. Add with enough milk to make a firm paste.
Roll out on a floured board to a thickness of 1/4 inch and cut into 2 1/2 inch rounds.
Grease a griddle or thick frying pan. Cook the cakes on the griddle over a gentle heat for three minutes on each side or until golden brown.
Cool and sprinkle with castor sugar. Serve alone or with butter.

More Welshcakes
This recipe is an old recipe that comes from the same family as scones. It is cooked on a burner instead of the oven. My mother is Welsh so I believe the recipe has been in the family for many years.
1 cup flour
4 tsp. baking power
2/3 tsp. salt
3 T sugar (this can be reduced)
4 T butter
about 1/2 cup milk
1 egg beaten
1 cup currants
Optional - rind of 1 lemon.
Cooking directions:
Cut shortening into flour. Add currants and lemon peel if used. Add egg and enough milk to make a soft dough. Knead dough for about 1/2 minute. Roll 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Use a small glass (or cookie cutter) 2 to 3 inches in diameter to cut dough into circles. Heat a griddle to medium heat. You should not need to grease the griddle. Put the cakes on the griddle and fry until the first side is a light brown, flip the cakes over and cook until the next side is also brown. I usually press the cakes down when they are first turned over because they rise quite well.

Welshcakes with Nutmeg
5 c flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 c softened margarine/butter
3 beaten eggs + enough milk to make 1 cup liquid
16 oz currants
Preheat skillet to 350, grease if necessary. Sift dry ingredients, blend in margarine. Pour in liquid, blend, add currants. Roll out dough to 1/4" thick on floured surface, cut out circles. Fry until light brown on both sides.

Welshcakes with Nutmeg, Two
A guest from Ohio sent me this recipe and said that Welsh cakes are as traditional in Wales as fish and chips are in England. You cut them out,
cook them like pancakes, and eat them like cookies. I like them plain or sometimes I include dried cranberries into the mixture. My guests like them very much.
2 cups Flour
1 cup dried currants/raisins (optional)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk2
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup softened butter
Measure first four ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Add butter. Mix well with a fork. Stir in currants or raisins. Break eggs into a small bowl. Beat until whites and yolks are well mixed. Stir milk and vanilla into the eggs. Add egg mixture to flour mixture until moist all the way through.
Dump the dough onto waxed paper or a pastry canvas that is sprinkled with a little flour. With your hands pat it out into a big circle about 1/4 inch thick. Use a large cookie cutter to cut it into as many cakes as you can.
Drop each onto a large griddle and cook just as you'd cook pancakes. When they're golden brown, they're done. On a cold winter evening, serve them with cups of hot chocolate or tea. Your family or guests will love them.

Mixed Spices
Larry Finch
From the US edition of Elizabeth David:
"two parts nutmeg; two parts white or black peppercorns or, for those who like a milder blend, allspice berries; one part cinnamon bark; one part whole cloves; one part dried ginger root.
"In both manageable and easily measurable terms, this means 1/4 oz each of nutmeg (1 large nutmeg) and peppercorns or allspice (3 level teaspoons), 6 inch cinnamon stick, 30 cloves,... a 2 inch piece of ginger root. "...add a fraction of freshly ground cumin seed for ... recipes that call for it."
If it isn't obvious, these ingredients must be processed in a spice mill or mortar and pestle. Also, she recommends storing it after blending in a dated small airtight jar without the cumin. It should be ground and added at the last minute when needed.

Jan Hatwell
I always put in equal quantities of cinnamon and nutmeg with a pinch of ground cloves. It seems to be well-received so far.

Sue Northcott
Looking at my pot of ground mixed spice it says it contains cinnamon, coriander, dill, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. If I had to manage without I'd grind my own cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. I know people who prefer not to use any spices at all, so it's a matter of taste.