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St. David’s Day is every March 1st and if you read my post from last year, you might recall that it is the celebration of St. David, the patron saint of Wales. If you can’t be in Wales to celebrate St. David’s Day, then you can at least make some Welsh Cakes right at home and enjoy with a cup of your favorite tea or if you’re really up for it, some Twinings Prince of Wales Tea!
What is a Welsh Cake? It’s like a cross between a pancake, cookie, or a scone but they are nothing like it. These are somewhat similar in appearance to Eccles Cakes but Welsh Cakes are a bit flatter than an Eccles Cake and unlike an Eccles Cake, Welsh Cakes are not filled. In order to make Welsh Cakes, these must be made on a griddle or a bake stone. Once you get the hang of cooking these, it’s literally a piece of cake!
- 225g/8oz plain flour
- 100g/4oz butter
- 75g/3oz caster sugar
- 50g/2oz currants (or raisins can be used)
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp mixed spice (to make mixed spice, simply mix 1 tablespoon ground allspice, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of ground nutmeg, 2 teaspoons of ground mace, 1 teaspoon of ground cloves, 1 teaspoon of ground coriander, and 1 teaspoon of ground ginger)
- 1 egg
- A pinch salt
- A little milk to bind
Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, mixed spice) together into a mixing bowl. Cut up the butter and rub into the flour. Stir in the sugar and fruit, pour in the egg and mix to form a dough, use a little milk if the mixture is a little dry. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about the thickness of a biscuit. Use a pastry cutter to cut out rounds. Cook the cakes on a greased bake stone or griddle until golden. The heat should not be too high, since the cakes will cook on the outside too quickly, and not in the middle. Once cooked sprinkle with caster sugar and serve with butter.
According to the Welsh Travel Website where this recipe comes from, an alternative you can try is mixed dried fruit or tropical fruit instead of currants or raisins. Some grated lemon or orange rind is also good, too! An unusual but delicious addition is 1 teaspoon of lavender flowers with some citrus zest. Add a little orange juice, zest and icing sugar to some soft butter to serve with the Welsh cakes.
Have a Dydd Gwŷl Dewi (Sant) hapus!
Recently, English Tea Store has had requests to carry Eccles Cakes and we are now proud to feature them on our site! They are still mostly unknown in the United States. While they are beginning to gain popularity here, they have been well known by British people for many generations. Eccles cakes are flaky, round, and flat little cakes covered in sugar and filled with fruit, usually with raisins or currants. They’re often described to be buttery, fruity, and sticky but very delicious.
Eccles Cakes were believed to have originated from Eccles, England, but many also say Lancashire (a suburb of Manchester, England), hence the name Lancashire Eccles Cakes. Eccles is also a word meaning “church” and it was the name of a local church where a service was held over the years to celebrate the construction of the church. Following the service was a fair where attendees could purchase food and drink, with Eccles Cakes being one of these said foods. It is unknown on who invented the recipe but it was popular in a shop run by a man named James Birch in the 18th century. His Eccles cakes were the ones sold on Church Street by the vicarage. Eccles cakes are often confused with the Chorley cake, but the Chorley cake is made with shortcrust pastry and is less sweeter than the Eccles cake.
Eccles cakes are becoming more and more popular, being been sold in other countries. They have been seen in a few specialty shops and are now sold right here at the English Tea Store. The best part is that these very cakes are made in Lancashire, so you know you’re getting the best quality! Try with a cup of tea either as a snack, dessert, or for tea time.
Trivia: Eccles Cakes are also known as Squashed Fly cakes.