I can happily say that the first time I had Welsh cakes was in the most honest way possible, in Wales. We went for the long Easter weekend a few years ago and I might have got a bit addicted to these tea time treats which are neither scone nor biscuit nor really cake but a perfect amalgamation of all three. One of the local delis where I was getting my welsh cake fix over the holiday was a bit adventurous in their flavour combinations, as well as the usual plain version they also did a special Easter one, dotted with marzipan and chocolate. Unfortunately this incarnation has spoilt me and this has been the only way that I like to eat them since.
Thus begun my Easter tradition of making sure I always have plenty of Welsh cakes to hand and I take such pleasure in making them on Good Friday to last the weekend. To be honest I don’t know how I manage to only keep this recipe for this specific time of the year as I developed a bit of an unhealthy obsession with them directly after that holiday and made them All. The. Time. The best thing about making Welsh cakes is that it is so wonderfully simple that the whole family can get involved. Cats can oversee dough production and puppies can also be of use, by running around the kitchen, making sure that any loose currant is hoovered up, providing the chef with less cleaning at the end and not at all providing multi tripping opportunities.
There is something about doing ultra traditional recipes which denotes you simply must do everything by hand, using a Mason Cash mixing bowl like we had in school and the oldest wooden spoon and rolling pin you can find.
The only way to eat these treasures is to swipe them off the cooling rack as soon as they have been set there to cool. The chocolate chips will have casually melted and the hot cakes will be steaming with juicy fruit and plump marzipan pieces.
Easter Welsh Cakes
225g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
75g caster sugar
25g mixed peel
30g marzipan, cut into small chips
30g chocolate chips
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp milk
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and mixed spiced.
- Rub the flour together with the butter by hand, using the tips of your fingertips until the mixture resembles course breadcrumbs.
- Add the sugar, currants, mixed peel, marzipan and chocolate and mix well.
- Pour in the beaten egg and bring the mixture together with your hands to form a dough, if more moisture is needed add some milk but you shouldn’t need more than 2 tbsp.
- Roll out the dough until it’s about 1 cm thick and then cut the cakes using a 68mm pastry cutter.
- Bring a large frying pan up to a gentle heat and add a good knob of butter. Once the butter is melted add the cakes to the pan in batches. Cook for 2-3 mins on each side until just turning golden and slightly risen.
- As soon as you remove the welsh cakes from the frying pan, sprinkle with caster sugar.