Here's my family recipe for Welsh cakes and why they've always connected me to home (2024)

My mom is a great cook. She has a way of knowing exactly how to create something delicious out of whatever random ingredients Welsh cake recipe: Here's how this family recipe connects me to homeshe happens to find in the fridge. And although she's always worked full time, she's never strayed from her resolve to make everything fromscratch. Cake never came from a box. Sauce never came from a jar. It just seemed wrong to her.

We moved around a lot while I was growing up, from the UKto the East Coast, then finally out westto Colorado. But my mom's cooking was always a constant. And one recipe provided a comforting connection to home,Welsh cakes.

Welsh cakeshave been astaple in kitchens across Wales for generations. The small, generally round, cakes arelike a cross between a cookie and a scone. They're buttery, a little sweet, a little salty and totally addicting.

The recipe my family uses to make Welsh cakes comes from a cookbook my mom was given in her home economics class at school when she was 12 years old. She grew up in the valleys of Wales in a town called Aberbargoed, where my grandmother still lives.

Throughout the school year in her secondary school, students learned how to make every recipe in the small book, "Home Recipes With Be-Ro." After class, the students would take their baked goods home in a basket. Because only girls took cooking class then, the boysalways tried to beg for a scone or a Welsh cake on the way home.One of those boys wasmy dad, and my mom refused to ever give him anything. This summer they will celebrate 29 years of marriage.

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When making Welsh cakes to this day, the book, now tearing at the edges and splattered with years worth of stray flour, is always brought out for reference although my mom knows the recipe, and how she alters it, by heart.

If you don't have self raising flour, make your own with baking soda and a little salt. If you don't have a weighing scale, measure it out in cups.If the box of golden raisins runs dry, add chocolate chips instead and forget margarine, butter tastes way better.

When my mom was growing up, she always baked at home with her grandmother when she wasn't cooking atschool. Growing up, I always baked with her.

Specialties included Victoria sponge cake and Delia Smith'sbanana bread oftenserved with thick yellow custard and a hot cup of tea. But Welsh cakes were a fixture in our house. A repurposed chocolate tin lined with a paper towel and filled to the brim with Welsh cakes had an almost permanent spot on the counter.

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I've made Welsh cakes with my mom for longer than I can remember. Rubbing the butter into the flour taught me patience; I would always profess it was readyand my mom would say, no, just a little more. She taught me, as her teacher taught her, to work the butter into the flour using only your fingertips, never getting flour on your palms.

It a recipe we always have fun customizing, switching the raisins out for butterscotch or chocolate chips and using different shaped cookie cutters.

And now when my mom makes Welsh cakes,my dad is finally allowed to have some.

How to make Welsh cakes

Makes: About 2 dozen Welsh cakes.


  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾tsp salt
  • 4 oz (1 stick) butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup golden raisins (or chocolate chips)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the bowl. Next, rub the butter into the flour using your fingers or a pastry blender. Challenge yourself not to get any flour on the palms of your hands.

Once all the butter is incorporated and the mixture resembles bread crumbs, stir in the sugar and golden raisins (or chocolate chips).

In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and egg. Pour the mixture into the flour and knead until a stiff dough forms.

Dust a large surface with flour and add the ball of dough. Make sure to sprinkle the ball of dough and the rolling pin with flour to prevent sticking, and roll the dough to about a quarter of an inch thick.

Now it's time to cut out the shapes. Traditionally, Welsh cakes are cut round or round with fluted edges. But part of the fun of this recipe, and one reason it's fun to make with children, is any cookie cutter shape can be used. I have one that makes little sheep, which feels fitting given how many sheep are in Wales.

Once the Welsh cakes are cut out, they're ready to cook. You will need a griddle or heavy-based pan. Any pan you use to make pancakes will work. Set the griddle to medium heat and grease with a small amount of butter or nonstick cooking spray. Make sure to repeat this step between each batch.

Add Welsh cakes to the griddle and cook for about two minutes on either side, flipping with a spatula. The Welsh cakes should turn golden brown and puff up slightly.

If making Welsh cakes with raisins, these are now finished. Serve with a spread of butter.

If making plain Welsh cakes, fill a small bowl with sugar. As the Welsh cakes come off the griddle, immediately place them in the bowl, coating the outside with a dusting of sugar. The heat will help the sugar stick. These Welsh cakes can be enjoyed plain or with a spread of strawberry jam in the middle.

All types of Welsh cakes pair perfectly with a hot cup of tea.

Here's my family recipe for Welsh cakes and why they've always connected me to home (2)

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Here's my family recipe for Welsh cakes and why they've always connected me to home (2024)
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