Welsh Cakes

This is an old family recipe, which my grandmother passed on to my mother. In Welsh they are called picau bach ar y maen.

These are cooked on a bakestone or griddle, heated over a low fire or gas flame. My mother's is a piece of cast iron about half an inch (1.5cm) thick, which is said to have been made by an apprentice in a shipyard, possibly her Uncle Garnet. I was told as a child that it was made using an offcut from a battleship.

The same mixture also makes nice biscuits (which are completely different and utterly inauthentic) if you bake them for around 20 minutes at Gas Mark 4 (180° C, 350° F), until they are golden brown.

  • 8 oz (200g) self-raising flour
  • 4 oz (100g) fat (my grandma probably used half lard and half butter, but nowadays we use all butter)
  • 4 oz (100g) sugar (granulated or caster)
  • 2 oz (50g) currants
  • 1 egg
  • a little grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt

Rub the fat into the flour, mix in the other ingredients and knead lightly. Add a little water if needed to bind the mixture to a stiffish dough. Roll the dough out on a floured board to about ¼ inch (0.5 cm) thick, then cut it into circles about 2½ inches (6 cm) in diameter using a pastry cutter, or a glass if you don't have one.

Bake them gently on a bakestone or griddle, greased with a little lard or butter. Once they are golden brown turn them to cook the other side. Leave them to cool on a cake rack. Serve on a plate, sprinkled with a little caster sugar.