Welsh cakes - even the name evokes images of cozy kitchens, dreary weather and steaming cups of tea. And, oh, they do live up to expectations!
Welsh cakes are quick bread cakes that are quickly mixed together and are baked on a griddle (or in a frying pan). The ingredients are similar to those of baking powder biscuits but the taste and consistency, oh so delightfully different. The butter to flour ratio is very high, producing a flaky, delicate cake. Welsh cakes are slightly sweet, but not so sweet that they are reserved only for the dessert course - they are very nice alongside a savory dinner.
These cakes are one of my favorite "emergency" tea treats (someone unexpectedly drives up the driveway - and I mix up Welsh cakes while the kettle heats) that seem to have universal appeal. And of course the ingredients are basic, so I always have them on hand. Slathered with butter and served with homemade jam, they are humble perfection.
1 C flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
1/2 C butter, cold
1/4 C sugar
1/3 C currents or raisins (optional)
2 T milk
Powdered sugar (optional)
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, nutmeg (if using) and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Stir in the sugar and currents or raisins (if using). Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the egg and milk. Using a fork, mix the ingredients until the dough comes together. Flour a work surface and roll the dough out about 3/4 inch thick.
Cut with a round cookie cutter (fluted is traditional), gathering up the bits and cutting cakes out until you have used all of the dough. Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Lightly grease the griddle (or skillet) and place as many rounds as will fit without touching. Bake approximately 3 - 4 minutes on first side (until brown) and then carefully flip over. Cook for another 3 - 4 minutes (until browned). Remove from griddle onto wire rack and sprinkle with powdered sugar (if desired), or place directly unto a platter and serve.
|Butter added (I always double the recipe!)|
|Cutting in the butter|
|Stirring in the egg and milk|
|On a floured surface|
|Rolled to 3/4 inch thick|
|Cut (with a fluted edge!)|
|Ready for the griddle|
|Welsh cakes are served!|
|With Dublin Coddle|
I hope you try these delightful little cakes and find, as we have, that they are bites of sweet perfection!