I had my niece and nephews for a few hours one afternoon and my niece, as she often does, asked if we could bake something.
I told her I had a recipe we could do: Welsh cakes.
She didn’t know what they were. I didn’t know what they were. So I asked her to read the blurb while I got some ingredients ready.
“Warm, slightly spicy and sweet, these little treats are very quick indeed—there’s no oven to heat up as they are cooked on top of the stove, or over the fire, on a heavy griddle or in a frying pan.”
Are they cookies? Are they scones? Are they cakes? Are they pancakes? I honestly still don’t know. They’re Welsh cakes.
The first step was to sift flour, mixed spice and sugar into a mixing bowl. She helped me measure out the ingredients and then asked what spice I was using. I told her in Canada, pumpkin pie spice is interchangeable for British mixed spice as an ingredient.
It was also cute because I asked her to measure out 112 grams of flour (we did a half recipe) and she made sure to get it exactly right. It reminded me of the early days of doing this blog, when I’d swap big pecans for little ones to get the exact right amount. (As you may have noticed, I’ve lost that need for precision over the years.)
(And yes it has been years. The first recipe I did was in 2017.)
She then asked me to sift because she struggles with it, but she was happy to toss the butter around in the flour and squish it with the tips of her fingers. After she did that, I threw in some Craisins (in lieu of currants or sultanas, as the recipe suggests).
It’s actually quite handy having a baking assistant.
Then I measured out milk into the egg yolk and overflowed the tablespoon, causing a slight milk flood on my counter.
My nephew was happy to help clean it up and proceeded to stand on his tippy-toes to slurp up the milk puddle.
With that mixed, I poured it into the flour mixture and started showing my niece how to mix it with a round-bladed knife. She got mixing while I properly quickly cleaned the slurped-up-milk spot on my counter.
Then she got bored and started playing with my collection of rings and necklaces while I rolled out the dough onto the lightly floured counter.
Using the only cookie cutter I have, I made rounds. They were supposed to be 1cm thick, but the first half dozen I cut were not, so I tried to flatten them a little with the rolling pin.
Then I followed the final step:
“Heat the griddle or frying pan—grease it lightly only if necessary as the Welsh cakes shouldn’t be fried in fat. Cook the little cakes, in batches, for about 2 minutes on each side until they are puffed up and a good golden brown and feel firm when gently pressed.”
Two things about this instruction. First, it doesn’t say what temperature to heat the frying pan to, which would have been nice. I assumed medium heat, but maybe it was supposed to be medium-high or medium-low. Some specificity would’ve been nice.
Second, I wasn’t sure how much they’d actually puff up because the recipe calls for self-raising flour, and I used all-purpose flour with a teaspoon of baking powder.
The kids wanted to watch Shrek, so I gladly obliged because it’s one of the best movies ever made. I continued baking in batches as they started the movie.
Then while they were introduced to Donkey, I took a sneaky bite to see what it tasted like.
It was good! The flavours were delicious, although the texture seemed a little under-cooked. I’m not sure if it was the thickness issue or heat, or if that’s what they’re supposed to taste like.
There’s only egg yolk in there and I don’t think that’s as risky for salmonella anyway. (Not that I listen to that. I have eaten raw cookie dough my entire life.)
I gave two each to the kids, and then another one each when they asked for more. The youngest decided he didn’t like the raisins, and I told them he didn’t have to eat them then, and he proceeded to eat them without complaint.
No one can resist a snack right in front of them.
These were possibly the easiest recipe I’ve done yet and they pay-off was pretty good! It’s a good go-to recipe, especially if you want to confuse people about what you’ve served them.
Are they cookies? Are they scones? Are they cakes? Are they pancakes? You decide.
Sixteen recipes to go.