A lot of my recipes on this site have a bit of a backstory, like many recipes I guess; we learn them from grandmas and mums and dads, pick them up from foreign friends at uni or eat them somewhere amazing in the world and learn to make them when we get back. They might be the first dish we ever made, the thing we lived on for a year in poverty, or the last meal we made for a loved one. I guess every recipe has its own history for every person.
This recipe is no different.
I had never had a Welsh cake, or in fact heard of them, until I went to visit my amazing friend Elly at her parents’ farmhouse home in a beautiful part of North Wales. With a proper farm-style kitchen and veggies growing out back, this place was a little slice of paradise. The family was always happy, the dogs were well fed and the food tasted great. One morning, Rosemary, Elly’s mum, cooked up some Welsh cakes on their traditional AGA, a style of stove popularised in the 1930s that always stays on.
What I tasted was nothing short of a revelation.
Somewhere between a biscuit (cookie) and a scone, these don’t have to be baked, and they’re sweeter and spicier than their scone cousins. I think I probably ate about 10, and every time I visited after that, Rosemary made me some Welsh cakes for breakfast.
I started thinking about this last week, and seriously got The Craving again. Obviously, the butteriness had to go, and as is my wont, was replaced by coconut oil. Wholewheat makes them a little heartier, but as I only like to change a couple of things in traditional recipes I went with the usual brown sugar. The two boys in my house at the moment demolished the whole batch in 5 minutes. I think they were pretty good.
(Makes about 20-24 Welsh cakes)
2 cups whole wheat flour, or 1 cup of whole wheat and 1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1 clove, freshly ground
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
In a bowl, sift together the flour(s), baking powder, brown sugar, ground clove, cinnamon and nutmeg
Stir in the coconut oil, working it into the mixture until the mixture is like breadcrumbs
Add in the raisins, and stir in enough almond milk to make the mixture stick together well into a dough
Flour a surface and roll the dough out until it’s about a centimeter thick
Use serrated or smooth cookie cutters, and keep cutting until all the dough is used up
If you have a hot plate or an AGA, grease it a little with coconut oil and let it get to temperature, or if not, get the heaviest frying pan you have and do the same
“Fry” the Welsh cakes in batches for a 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on how you like yours done. I like mine on the very knife edge of burning, so they’re a little crustier, but that’s up to you
Either eat them hot or allow to cool, then slather with jam. Basically anything goes deliciously on these things
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The freshly ground clove in this recipe is absolutely essential; to me, it’s what makes a Welsh cake a Welsh cake.
Soon I’m going to make a farmhouse kitchen breakfast for some friends; fresh bread, black coffee, home made jam, home made granola, fresh fruit and Welsh cakes. I can’t wait.