Welsh Cake Recipes: A Little Taste Of Wales - Just Like Mam Used To Make!
Coming from a mining family who lived and worked in the Rhondda Valley in South Wales, Welsh Cakes are one of the most delicious memories of my childhood. How to describe Welsh Cakes to someone who has never tasted one? Well, they're a bit like a cross between a fruit scone and a pancake...but flatter and more moist than a scone and tastier than a pancake!
The smell of freshly baked Welsh Cakes (or "bakestones" as they are often referred to in my family!) is wonderful and the taste is just..well, if you've never had a Welsh Cake, I suggest that you put eating one on your list of "Things To Do Before You Die" :)
Welsh Cakes can be served hot or cold, dusted with sugar and can either be eaten plain or split and covered with jam or butter (or both) or drizzled with honey.
Welsh Cakes are extremely easy to make, will keep fresh if stored in an airtight container for a week or so and are DELICIOUS....even Ann Romney, wife of Mitt Romney the Republican nominee in the 2012 U.S. presidential election is apparently a fan. Mrs Romney's father came from the Welsh valleys (from a family of coal miners - just like mine!) and she gave out home cooked Welsh Cakes on her husband's campaign bus!!
Read on to find out everything you ever wanted to know about Welsh Cakes - how to make Welsh Cakes, Welsh Cake ingredients and Welsh Cake recipes!
In Wales, Welsh Cakes are known by different names depending on the area, including: Picau Ar Y Maen (bakestone cakes), Pice Bach (little cakes), Teisen Radell (griddle cakes) or Cacen Gri (currant rounds)
"Ar y maen" means "on the stone" and refers to the method of cooking which was traditionally an iron griddle (bakestone) suspended over an open fire on which the cakes were placed to cook
Welsh Cakes and me...it's a love thing!
To explain my life-long love affair with Welsh Cakes, I'll start with a bit of family history to set the scene!
My mother's family come from Pontypridd, a town in the Rhondda Valley in South Wales (affectionately referred to by the shortened form "Ponty"!)
My family were coal miners and my mother's father and older brothers all worked in the Albion Colliery in Cilfynydd, a village near Pontypridd. My grandfather was seriously injured in a coal mining accident and eventually died as a result.
When another mining accident injured one of my uncles, my grandmother vowed that the mines would not claim any more victims from amongst her family and almost overnight she moved her family lock, stock and barrel virtually as far away as she could travel.
The only means of travel available to her was the railway and she got as far away as she could. Not feeling she could cope with a big city after life in the Welsh Valleys, she got off the train at the furthest point away from Wales before the railway entered London - the town of Slough in Berkshire about 20 miles west of London.
Slough is an industrial town and there were plenty of (safer) jobs there for her older children and best of all, many other Welsh people who had moved for economic reasons.
So it was that I was brought up many years later amongst a community of "Welsh ex-patriots" who kept their roots and traditions very much alive...and that included the cooking, of which making Welsh Cakes was a regular part.
My mother's electric cooker was specifically chosen because instead of the usual four rings on the hob, it had a rectangular griddle - perfect for Welsh Cakes (or "bakestones" as they were known in my family). My aunts all had cast iron bakestones, either inherited, sent or brought back from Wales on visits "home". Wales WAS still their home...in their hearts, if not physically.
Just seeing a Welsh Cake now brings back so many memories of people and times long since gone.
I eventually married a Welsh man (we've since got divorced but are still great friends!) who is as much of a Welsh Cake fan as I am :)
I think also that for anyone with Welsh origins, Welsh Cakes are a symbol of Wales, every bit as much as the Welsh flag, Y Ddraig Goch (the Red Dragon), daffodils or leeks!
Go on...try some! There's full instructions and video tutorials on how to make Welsh Cakes below, but if you don't want to make some yourself, buy some and give your tastebuds a treat!!!!
Welsh Cakes - Celtic Comfort Food...read on and enjoy...and I hope you're inspired to try some Welsh Cakes yourself!
"Bakestones" - Another Name For Welsh Cakes
Welsh Cakes are often called "bakestones" - especially in South Wales. They're also known (especially by ex-pat Welsh people) as "miner's cakes"!
Traditional Bakestone or Planc / Gradell
In Wales, bakestones are also known as "Plancs" (sometimes spelled in the English way as "Plank") or "Gradells" and this cast iron baking stone is perfect for cooking Welsh Cakes in the traditional fashion!
The cast iron surface ensures your cakes will cook to a beautiful golden brown finish quickly and evenly.
Bakestones were originally designed to be suspended over an open fire, but this modern version of a traditional bakestone can be used flat on electric or gas hobs and range cookers.
As well as Welsh Cakes you can bake many other kinds of food on a bakestone including bread, scones, pizza, pancakes and biscuits as well as flatbreads, naan bread, chapatis etc!
If you don't have a "proper" bakestone, you can still make Welsh Cakes! Just use a heavy bottomed griddle, skillet or frying pan instead!
Ingredients for Welsh Cakes
- 8 oz (225g) self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice (optional)
- 4 oz (110g) butter or margarine
- 3 oz (75g) caster sugar
- 3 oz (75g) dried fruit - currants
- raisins or sultanas (or a mixture)
- 1 medium egg
- A little milk
- Oil or fat to grease the bakestone (griddle) or pan
- Caster sugar for sprinkling over the Welsh Cakes after they are cooked
British Weights And Measures!
If you're not familiar with British weights and measures, here's how to convert them:
- Sieve flour into a large mixing bowl.
- Rub in butter/margarine until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
- Stir in the caster sugar, dried fruit, mixed spice and salt (if used).
- In a separate bowl or jug, beat the egg lightly.
- Stir the beaten egg into the flour mixture to form a soft dough. Gradually add milk a little at a time if the mixture is too dry.
- Using a rolling pin, roll the mixture out on to a floured board to a thickness of about 1/4 inch (5mm).
- Cut into rounds about 2.5 - 3 inches (6-7cm) diameter using a fluted pastry/biscuit cutter
- Lightly grease the bakestone (or you can use a flat griddle, pan or skillet with a heavy base if you don't have a bakestone) and allow to heat up gently for a few minutes.
- Using a fish slice or pallet knife, carefully place the Welsh Cakes one at at time onto the hot cooking surface.
- Cook the Welsh Cakes for about 3 minutes each side, or until they are golden brown.
- Remove from the pan or griddle using a pallet knife or fish slice, place on a cooling rack and sprinkle with sugar while the cakes are still hot.
- Serve hot or cold. Welsh Cakes can be eaten plain or split and spread with jam/butter/honey etc.
Rate this recipe!
How To Make Welsh Cakes
Welsh ladies showing how it's done on video!
Video: Margaret John Makes Welsh Cakes For St David's Day
The late actress Margaret John ("Doris" from the TV comedy series "Gavin & Stacey") talks about her childhood and demonstrates how to make Welsh Cakes!
Video: Grandma Betty's Recipe For Welsh Cakes
90 year old Betty demonstrates how to make Welsh Cakes - she's an expert, having made over 200,000 of them over the years!
Do YOU Love Welsh Cakes?
If you've ever had a Welsh Cake tell us how good you think they are!
Welsh cakes are a traditional "handed down" recipe, but there are lots of variations on the basic theme!
Here's some links to more delicious Welsh Cake recipes:
- BBC Good Food - Welsh cakes
Pice ar y maen, a Welsh teatime treat passed on through generations and still as popular as ever. Perfect for making with the children
- Welsh Cakes (Picau ar y maen) - Recipes by Tallyrand
WELSH CAKES (Picau ar y maen)
- all recipes - Classic Welsh Cakes
We attended a fayre in Wales and the ladies of the local church were baking and selling these traditional cakes. We asked for the recipe and they graciously shared it with us
- A recipe for Welsh Cakes for your kids to cook. Delicious, tasty and easy to cook.
These cakes take only ten minutes to bake and the kids can do most of the preparation. They make tasty bite sized snacks that all the family will love.
Fancy trying some more traditional Welsh recipes?
Welsh Heritage Food and Cooking contains more than 75 recipes for traditional Welsh dishes in an easy to follow format, beautifully illustrated with full colour photographs.
© 2009 LouiseKirkpatrick
Waffle About Welsh Cakes!
richard-hill-121772 on April 26, 2014:
I had Welsh Cakes for the first time yesterday. I'm from a town less than an hour's drive from Wales, and I've got a super Welsh uncle but I had to wait till I'd lived outside of Britain for 20 years before I tasted this amazingly simple, delicious versatile cake. Easy-peasy to cook, so even we English can manage it, provided we can pull ourselves away from Mr Kipling (Yuk!)
Owen Barry on February 07, 2014:
I love welsh cakes and I enjoyed you personal touch that you put in this lens!
anonymous on April 10, 2013:
Leave out the dried fruit from some and don't dredge with sugar, then eat them warm with a good crumbly Caerfili cheese. Heaven!
ComfortsOfHome on March 27, 2013:
My mother made Welsh Cakes all the time when we were kids - haven't had them for years, yum!
HardyGirl on December 26, 2012:
After reading your lens, I need to pull out my grandmother's recipe and makes some "pics" (as we called them) real soon. Very inspirational!
anonymous on November 28, 2012:
when my dad returned to australia from his trip to see his family in tenby, he made us welsh cakes for the following week :) i remember them piled high...yumm
John Uwen on November 05, 2012:
wow these cakes really do look great....I love to cook, but the weight conversions to cups will take a little figuring for me....I so wished recipes in the states were in grams and be listed by weight. baking is a formula ya know!
Elizabeth Sheppard from Bowling Green, Kentucky on October 25, 2012:
My grandmother was Welsh... and I would love to try a Welsh Cake someday. They sound and look great! ::::blessings::::
Elyn MacInnis from Shanghai, China on September 22, 2012:
I thought your story was wonderful too - and I do intend to try them. I wish I could try the real thing in Wales, but I am sure your recipe is excellent, and from that I can imagine a walk down a lane in Ponty. Squid Angel blessed!
anonymous on September 20, 2012:
Born in Wales, I immigrated to Canada as young lad. it was a good move for everyone although that part of me that will always remain Welsh is deeply rooted within me. My mother used to make Welsh cakes both in Wales and in Canada.I have her receipt and have made Welsh cakes many times. I am presently living in Guatemala and yes have to the delight of many that have sampled them, made Welsh cakes a part of this landscape. How can anyone exist without tasting Welsh cakes. I love them.. Mmmm must be time to make another batch.
Rose Jones on June 27, 2012:
I am going to try your Welsh cakes! I love your personal approach - the story and all. Pinned to my cooking and food board and Squid Angel Blessed.
sibian on June 26, 2012:
Looking forward to baking a lot tonight. Yum...
julieannbrady on June 17, 2012:
Ah, I don't think I would waffle over a Welsh Cake ... from the ingredients, they surely would be something I'd love to try! Love how you blend such a delightful story to give the cakes flavor!
anonymous on May 07, 2012:
welshcakes are lush and so are other types of cakes from wales.bara brith and my fav teisen lap :-)
JoolsObsidian LM on April 02, 2012:
I love welshcakes and I have tried the M&S ones but they are not as good as the ones I had when i visited Wales!
victoriuh on March 17, 2012:
Those look wonderful!
Gala98 on March 14, 2012:
also Pontypridd born here - except we moved west first before ending up east of London. Mum still makes welshcakes regularly & they disappear so fast! lol great lens & very memory filled for me too, xxx
anonymous on February 29, 2012:
Thanks for these lovely recipes!
anonymous on February 05, 2012:
Just found this site by accident. Turns out my wife's family has a recipe handed down for 'griddle cookies'. I just showed her this site and we are convinced that it is the same thing. Fabulous treat for both young and old. They never last long in our house!
Jeff Johnston from Alberta Canada on January 21, 2012:
nice lens, never had welsh cakes but gonna have to try to make some ASAP :D
anonymous on January 16, 2012:
enjoyed reading this and seeing these photos, never had it but I would if I had some right now.
anonymous on January 01, 2012:
My Welsh relatives lived in Scranton, Pa. I have very fond memories of visiting some of them and eating those marvellous miners' cakes. Sooo good. I have tried making them with reasonably good results but not quite that warm, floury, sweet but not too sweet, taste. I s there a secret? Do you have to live near coal mines? (joking)
Heather B on October 31, 2011:
Mmm, Welsh cakes. Just thinking about them makes me miss Wales!
Carol Fisher from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK on September 08, 2011:
I must try this recipe, they look really good.
Liz Mackay from United Kingdom on August 10, 2011:
Haven't had welsh cakes since I lived in Cardiff, now I can use your recipe to make my own. Blessed by a squid angel.
blanckj on July 27, 2011:
Looks yummy. Never had them but now I want to. Thanks.
Debbie from England on May 28, 2011:
Blessed by a Squid Angel ;)
KonaGirl from New York on March 11, 2011:
I am back. Just wanted to let you know that I have featured this site on my St. Patty's Day lens Traditional Irish Recipes for St. Patrick's Day. Also leaving you with a Squid Angel blessing and added your link to My Squid Angel Wings
PrettyWorld on March 10, 2011:
These look so delicious! I'm going to have to make some.
Sue Dixon from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK on March 09, 2011:
Wonderful. Certainly worth a blessing from a Regional Foods angel! Added to my new regional foods lens too.
madoc on March 05, 2011:
Thanks for the recipe, really been missng them!
anonymous on January 31, 2011:
Yum! They look so good,got to try them!
ChrisDay LM on January 04, 2011:
Great stuff and lensrolled to my Quiz on Wales
anonymous on December 23, 2010:
My great grand mothers recipes, she way from north Wales, looks a little different than your but they taste good. The bad thing is we only make them for Christmas.
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2t backing powder
Â½ cup butter
Â½ cup Crisco, vegetable shorting
1 cup currants
Â¼ cups milk
Cover currants with warm water for a few minutes then drain well and lay on a towel. Mix flour, sugar, nutmeg, baking powder, salt, vegetable shorting, and butter like making a pie crust. Add eggs, milk, currants and vanilla and mix to combine. Dough will be sticky. Place on wax paper and place in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours. This will make it easier to work with. Flour the countertop and roll out dough to about 3/16 to a Â¼ inch thick. Cut out with a round cookie cutter. Cook on an electric griddle at 325 for 2Â½ to 3 minutes a side.
anonymous on November 08, 2010:
Wish I had the ingredients on hand now, Wlsh cakes sound absolutely yummy and not too hard to do! Very nicely done!
Sensitive Fern on October 18, 2010:
I didn't know about welsh cakes, but they look delicious! I was sitting here thinking about having pancakes for breakfast and happened across this lens. I've added this lens to the list of featured lenses on my pancake recipes lens.
JackRussell LM on October 17, 2010:
I am tempted to make some Welsh cakes as they look so yummy! Thank you so much =)
Anthony Godinho from Ontario, Canada on October 14, 2010:
Yummy lens and you had my mouth watering. I've never had a Welsh cake before, but have put it on my list of things to do before I die :) **Blessed by a Squid-Angel**
Thomas F. Wuthrich from Michigan on October 09, 2010:
Wish I could give you a second thumbs up for Betty's Demo. For me, that 150-year-old griddle would add another whole dimension to my enjoyment of her Welsh Cakes! :)
Thomas F. Wuthrich from Michigan on October 09, 2010:
I love foods with a history and from faraway places. I try to limit my intake of high carb foods, but your wellwritten lens has captured my imagination and I plan to treat myself to some Welch Cakes in the near future. Thumbs up...and a favorite!
LouiseKirkpatrick (author) from Lincolnshire, United Kingdom on October 04, 2010:
@FanfrelucheHubs: In the UK, the sort of sugar we put in coffee is called "granulated sugar" - caster sugar is simply granulated sugar that's a bit finer! Granulated sugar will do pefectly well :)
Nathalie Roy from France (Canadian expat) on October 03, 2010:
Never tried these, it looks good tho. Does not seem to difficult to make. I may try. I am just unsure what is " caster sugar". Is it regular sugar (like we put in coffee)? Have to google it and will find out. With tea and lots of butter it must be so good!
anonymous on October 01, 2010:
I think I've been seriously deprived. Shhh...I've never heard of a welsh cake but thanks to your lens I think I might have a go at making them myself.
Laraine Sims from Lake Country, B.C. on September 29, 2010:
You are right, they do look like scones. I love scones and you say that you like them better than scones. I'll just have to bake some. Thank you, it's always nice having a new recipe to try out.
HorseAndPony LM on September 24, 2010:
Wow! These look and sound amazing. I am going to try and make them. Thanks for sharing your stories and recipes.
MagpieNest on September 15, 2010:
Ooh what a good idea. We always have Welsh cakes when we visit my in-laws and my MIL sometimes brings them when she visits. But for some reason I had never thought of making them! The kids love them so I'll have to have a go.
tandemonimom lm on September 14, 2010:
These look really great! But I have one complaint - you didn't explain how to pronounce "Picau Ar Y Maen" and this is important information!
Joycevoice on September 09, 2010:
Making these will be on my "Things to do WAY before I die" list.
resabi on September 07, 2010:
A quick fly-by to leave a blessing. :-)
ElizabethJeanAl on September 05, 2010:
Thanks for sharing and thank you for the blessin on my Black Widow Spider lens.
VarietyWriter2 on September 01, 2010:
Blessed by a SquidAngel :)
resabi on August 10, 2010:
I came close to licking the computer screen on this one! Delicious lens, now connected to mine Welsh Lovespoons. I'm terrible at baking, but my sisters are all great at it. Going to force them to make some!
KonaGirl from New York on June 29, 2010:
@LouiseKirkpatrick: Excellent! I don't care much for the American pumpkin pie spice mix, but now that I know the spices that are used I'll be able to make my own mix. Wish me luck! Thank you so much!. BTW, I lensrolled this lens to my Pumpkin Beer lens.
LouiseKirkpatrick (author) from Lincolnshire, United Kingdom on June 29, 2010:
@Kailua-KonaGirl: Of course I don't mind! :)
Mixed spice is a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg , allspice, cloves & ginger. Sometimes caraway, cassia and coriander seed are added. Mixed spice is (apparantly!) known as pudding spice or pumpkin pie spice in the USA!
It smells heavenly :)
KonaGirl from New York on June 29, 2010:
@LouiseKirkpatrick: Thanks for the response. I have one more question, I hope you don't mind. What are the ingredients in mixed spice? Cinnamon & nutmeg, or something else? Thanks so much CDT.
LouiseKirkpatrick (author) from Lincolnshire, United Kingdom on June 28, 2010:
@Kailua-KonaGirl: Hi KonaGirl - my Mum always used butter! I would also say that whole wheat flour is actually MORE traditional than white flour given that Welsh Cakes have been made for centuries -ga long before we got into the habit of refining everything we eat :)
I hope your cakes turn out well! If you'd like to take a photo, I'd be delighted to add it on this page :)
KonaGirl from New York on June 27, 2010:
I am completely sold on Welsh Cakes an want to try them myself. Loved the video of Betty's demo. I am wondering...I don't believe in using margarine because of all the chemicals and will only use real butter. Will that make a difference in how the cakes turn out? Is it possible to use a whole wheat cake flour instead of white flour, or will this completely ruin the whole tradition of Welsh Cakes?
LouiseKirkpatrick (author) from Lincolnshire, United Kingdom on April 20, 2010:
@myraggededge: Diolch yn fawr iawn Bev!
myraggededge on April 19, 2010:
As this is one of my most favourite pages on Squidoo, thought I'd fly by and sprinkle a little zesty angel dust on your Welsh Cakes.
nelabai on March 25, 2010:
Ahh looking delicious. I need to try making those!
anonymous on December 06, 2009:
Welsh cakes are the best childhood memory I have of my Gramma in Cardiff, she would always make then for me on the bakestone. Yum! Definately have to pass this to my kids.
myraggededge on August 29, 2009:
My bloke loves his Welshcakes - gets all the women in the family to make them for him. Me, I'm a Cornish Pasty living about 20 mins from Pontypridd. 5*s
Auntiekatkat on May 18, 2009:
Welcome to the very best of squidoo food lens group. a> We look forward to more of your lens in our group.
Why waffle about Welsh cakes I would rather eat them!!!!!!111
Lord_Sid on April 23, 2009:
ArtSiren LM on February 26, 2009:
These Welsh cakes look delicious. My kind of snacking food! And perhaps TOO easy to make for me to stay trim. ;-)
And wow - Welsh looks like a difficult language! I used to work in Bristol and we could get S4C on the telly - I'd sit transfixed listening to it. lol.
anonymous on February 24, 2009:
Great lens. And welcome to the group, "Recipes from the Heart."
Debbie from England on February 24, 2009:
Just noticed you've featured 3 of my lenses!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
Debbie from England on February 24, 2009:
Superb, original lens! I love the way you've told your own story as well as given topic information. I love Betty!!! I could almsot smeel those Welsh cakes :) Lensrolled to http://www.squidoo.com/cornish_pasties AND http://www.squidoo.com/fish_chips 5*****
Dianne Loomos on February 23, 2009:
I enjoyed reading your lens. Welcome to the Hungry Squidz Choice Group. Please stop by the group and grab the blue ribbon for your lens!
Sniff It Out on February 23, 2009:
Love your lens, a welcome addition to The Cooks Vafe group!
KimGiancaterino on February 22, 2009:
I'm going to try these... they sound delicious! Welcome to Culinary Favorites From A to Z.