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Keeping Alive a Tradition #2: Welsh Cakes

October 19, 2011

This is my second, and much belated, entry in the ‘Keeping Alive a Tradition’ series which aims to bring to the fore any recipes which have had a particular bearing on my heritage. The first recipe, cawl, is a favourite of mine and though it is well known nationally, it remains rather unappreciated on an international scale. Welsh cakes share no such problem as they are widely available throughout the United Kingdom and probably beyond, though I have no evidence of that. Nevertheless, a series of posts dedicated to Welsh cuisine couldn’t possibly be considered credible without the inclusion of these delicious drop scones.

Welsh cakes are traditionally cooked on an iron griddle which is then placed over one’s fireplace and left until the cakes are golden brown in colour. However, I appreciate that not everyone has access to a cast iron griddle or an open fire; I certainly don’t, so a heavy based saucepan on an electric hob will do. The most basic of Welsh cakes are flavoured using only sultanas, though one may complicate the recipe by adding mixed spice, nutmeg or cinnamon – I didn’t bother as they are quite delicious enough without unnecessary distraction. I am also of the opinion that real butter must be used in the process of making Welsh cakes, since it provides a steadfast body of flavour and richness which accompanies the other ingredients rather nicely.

The cooking of these drop scones is definitely the most difficult part of the process, which I suppose isn’t saying much. One must ensure that they are cooked in as little butter as possible over a fairly low heat, this will prevent them browning too quickly – if this happens they will likely not have had enough time to cook through. The butter is there simply to prevent the Welsh cakes from sticking; it plays very little part in the actual cooking process, though it probably adds to their immense flavour.

Welsh Cakes

Makes 16-20


• 230g self-raising flour

• 110g butter

• 75g caster sugar

• 1 egg, beaten

• A generous handful of sultanas

• ½ tsp mixed spice, nutmeg or cinnamon (optional)


1. Combine the dry ingredients thoroughly, then rub in the butter until the mixture has the consistency of breadcrumbs. Mix in the sultanas until they appear uniform throughout, mix in the beaten egg until you are able to form a soft, but not sticky, dough. The egg itself should provide adequate moisture to facilitate this, though one may add a tiny dash of milk.

2. Roll out the dough until just under a centimetre thick, proceed to cut the dough into circles roughly the same size as those depicted – perhaps 5cm in diameter. Once all the dough has been used fry them off in heavy based frying pan that has been greased with butter, they require roughly 2-3 minutes on each side. If they brown too quickly reduce the heat, remove the pan from the stove and try again.

Cost: These really are frugal little cakes and a batch of this size should set one back no less than £1.10. However, I had to go on a bit of a wild goose chase in order to acquire some reasonably priced sultanas. In the end they set me back roughly 17p per 100g!

94 Comments leave one →
  1. October 19, 2011 3:33 pm

    Sitting on a train platform I am wishing I was at home right now so I could make these. My mouth is watering at the thought of the melting butter! Mmmmmmmmm!

  2. October 19, 2011 3:53 pm

    Looks so yummy!

  3. October 19, 2011 4:00 pm

    These are so interesting, I’ve never had Welsh cakes before!

    • October 22, 2011 10:08 am

      I’m very surprised. You should make them, I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

  4. October 19, 2011 4:06 pm

    Oh my goodness, these look so good! I’ve never heard of Welsh Cakes, nor Sultanas (which, I’m assuming are a type of raisin?).

    Cannot wait to try these; or at least a version of them with local ingredients.

    • October 20, 2011 9:01 pm

      Ah, I’ve learned they are called “Thompson” grapes/raisins here in the States. Not sure if they’re exactly the same, but it seems to be pretty close.

    • October 22, 2011 10:09 am

      They are a variant of the raisin, yes. They are amazing, please do try them.

  5. October 19, 2011 4:09 pm

    I can confirm, with certainty, that I’ve never seen a Welsh Cake on this side of the pond. Since your recipe makes 16-20, I’m sure there’s a few extra you could send this way? 🙂

    • October 22, 2011 10:09 am

      Really?! Mad one. I’m afraid they are all gone, but you should try them. As you can see they are very simple indeed.

  6. buttery77 permalink
    October 19, 2011 4:09 pm

    A great recipe. I do like these cakes, though I like Cawl even more! Plus keeping our food heritage alive is very important.

    I have done quite a few Welsh dishes for, some have been more successful that others. Here’s a link to all the Welsh recipes on there so far (If you’re interested!). The est by far are the Welsh light Cakes.

    • October 22, 2011 10:10 am

      Thanks so much. I don’t really get the Welsh light cakes. They look lovely, but I don’t see what’s Welsh about them – I’ve certainly never heard of them.

      • buttery77 permalink
        October 22, 2011 3:39 pm

        It just seems that the Welsh have the monopoly on pancakes and griddle! There’s so many of them…

      • October 22, 2011 3:52 pm

        Ahha, we do. I have a griddle leaning against the house outside.

  7. October 19, 2011 4:26 pm

    I’ve never even heard of these before, but they look delicious. I just might have to add this to my repertoire

  8. October 19, 2011 4:41 pm

    Those look great and I haven’t heard of them before either.

  9. October 19, 2011 5:09 pm

    You’ve opened my eyes to another new thing. Love scones and would love to give these a try.

  10. October 19, 2011 5:47 pm

    These look amazing! How the heck do you have all thins time to keep coming up with recipes?!? You are amazing…

    • October 22, 2011 10:12 am

      Haha, thanks! I just find the time. I probably shouldn’t spend so much time doing it actually.

  11. October 19, 2011 5:52 pm

    My mom’s from Wales and when we used to visit every summer we’d get these by the dozen and eat them with fresh jam and butter. They are delicious! You’re recipe looks perfect, can’t wait to make these and remember all those summers!

  12. October 19, 2011 6:31 pm

    These look great, they are like mini griddle breads. A traditional bread from Kerry in Ireland. I’m going to try these as I love scones. Thanks a mil for sharing.

    • October 22, 2011 10:12 am

      That’s essentially what they are I suppose – I think some call them griddle cakes.

  13. October 19, 2011 6:54 pm

    I’ve never had welsh cakes, but I could really use a couple of these to enjoy with my tea right now! Yum.

  14. October 19, 2011 7:07 pm

    I am so glad that you are writing these recipes as a series. I’ve no experience with Welsh cuisine but, thanks to you, I’m learning. Thanks!

    • October 22, 2011 10:13 am

      Bara Brith may be next! A traditional Welsh tea cake. Welsh cuisine is surprisingly versatile!

  15. October 19, 2011 7:48 pm

    Never heard or tried these before, and my mother-in-law’s welsh! Thanks for sharing, I’m calling her now to ask her about them but I love the idea of these.

    • October 22, 2011 10:14 am

      Don’t know what she’s playing at quite frankly… Give them a go, they are lovely.

  16. October 19, 2011 8:22 pm

    You’re going to make me buy a flight!

  17. October 19, 2011 10:52 pm

    Oh my these look good. Although I must admit being in the US I had to google Sultanas to find out what it was. I’m assuming golden raisins I can find here would work. Your posts keep adding to my list of things I need to bake!

    • October 23, 2011 8:24 pm

      Thanks so much! any dried fruit at all would work – sultanas are just what are traditionally used.

  18. October 20, 2011 2:10 am

    These little welsh cakes sound wonderful and great addition to an afternoon tea.

    • October 22, 2011 10:15 am

      Indeed they are! Which is strange considering they would have essentially been a pauper dish.

  19. October 20, 2011 2:17 am

    A new cake idea to me, but with such a simple recipe list, i’m looking forward to trying this one out.

  20. October 20, 2011 5:04 am

    Yay for keeping alive traditions! Though I must say having roasted till golden brown over an actual fire … Now that would be awesome. I wonder if I could do these over a camp fire….? I have a camping trip coming up… Hmmm

    • October 22, 2011 10:16 am

      Yay indeed! That would be totally awesome! They would definitely work over a campfire – I assume this campfire would be hot? 😀

      • October 23, 2011 1:06 pm

        I looked in to this (and even showed my camping buddies a pic of these on my iphone when I saw them) and we were totally amped to do it…then we found out the national park we’re going to doesn’t let us have camp fires. Boooo. It was an awesome plan.

      • October 23, 2011 8:11 pm

        Oh what a shame 😦

  21. October 20, 2011 1:21 pm

    I haven’t had welsh cakes for years, so thanks for the memories. Although I did make bara brith this summer, my grandmother used to make it – happy days 🙂 My OH half said, “what you put butter on a slice of cake?!”.
    Keep blogging!

    • October 22, 2011 10:17 am

      No problem :D. Bara Brith is my next “challenge” I think. Bara Brith is incredibly delicious – one of my favourites.

      • October 22, 2011 3:46 pm

        excellent I’ll look forward to it . Do you soak the fruit in tea? Actually thinking about that I’ll just have to wait and read!

      • October 22, 2011 3:53 pm

        No, there’s no need! I’ve never heard of anyone doing that with Welshcakes.

  22. October 20, 2011 1:47 pm

    oh my gosh. I am so excited. I LOVE WELSH CAKES. I’ve never made them for myself before, but my best friend makes them for me on christmas every year. I eat them before any christmas cookies. I should definitely try making them myself!

  23. October 20, 2011 2:55 pm

    Mmmmm, these look delicious! We have a version in Portugal called bolos levados, but they’re a bit trickier to prepare. I think I’m going to have to try this version and the Portuguese one together… gluten-free of course. I shall call them… Prelsh Cakes 🙂 Thanks for the recipe buddy.

  24. October 20, 2011 11:44 pm

    Ooh yum. I love scones and will have to try these! By the way, thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. It’s greatly appreciated!

    • October 23, 2011 8:21 pm

      No problem at all! I adore getting comments myself. You really do have to try them – they won’t disappoint.

  25. October 21, 2011 2:15 am

    It’s worth a try! I am definitely gonna make it! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • October 23, 2011 8:19 pm

      Haha! It is indeed. No problem. There’s certainly no need to thank me – yours turned out well 😀

  26. October 21, 2011 4:50 am

    Wow. A long time ago, I used to go back and forth between the US and Wales for an ex. I had a lot of these, but didn’t remember them until I saw your post. Definitely brings back good food memories.

  27. October 21, 2011 5:30 pm

    These look yummy I’m going to try and make a dairy/egg free version and see what I come up with:)

  28. October 22, 2011 8:30 am

    These look so yummy, I must give them a try!!

  29. October 22, 2011 12:36 pm

    I like your cooking heritage series! It’s fascinating to read about each dish’s history and to know you’re keeping the traditions alive. Very well done!

  30. October 22, 2011 9:09 pm

    These look great!

  31. October 23, 2011 2:32 am

    Hi there! I’ve tried to make this recipe and here my result:

    I’ve shared it to my Indonesian friend as well 🙂

  32. October 25, 2011 8:08 pm

    My husband is actually half Welsh; perhaps this explains his love of pancakes/griddle cakes? (He just requested some Sunday). I have never heard of Welsh cakes before (he grew up in the U.S. with the non-Welsh parent), but they look fantastic! I will have to try these the next time he requests some post-rugby pancakes.

  33. October 26, 2011 3:09 am

    Holy Cannoli these look good. I went to uni in Scotland and let me tell you I miss all that good, mostly simple, comfort food.

  34. gwynnem permalink
    October 30, 2011 6:17 am

    I’ve never eaten these kinds of cakes. Excited to give them a whirl soon. Also…beautiful photos!

  35. October 30, 2011 4:16 pm

    Never heard of Welsh cakes! Thanks for the education. I’ve made English muffins a few times – method sounds similar? – anyway, these look very tasty.

  36. November 3, 2011 11:35 pm

    You’re inspiring me! Thank you!

  37. liadh1 permalink
    November 5, 2011 8:01 pm

    These look fantastic! I can’t wait to try them out! I love your “Keeping Alive a Tradition” series concept as well. I am eagerly awaiting the next addition!

    • November 8, 2011 4:57 pm

      Thanks, so much. I really enjoy doing it. I have the next couple of recipes in mind.

  38. November 11, 2011 10:49 pm

    I’m originally from Swansea and it’s as if the streets round there are paved with welsh cakes. Every time you went into someone’s house you’d be offered them. Obviously EVERYONE’S grandmother makes the best welsh cakes in the world 😀

    • November 20, 2011 1:25 pm

      Yes, welshcakes and vomit :D. It’s true the are the best hidden secret Wales has to offer.

  39. November 13, 2011 4:46 am

    These look so good! My family always made these around the holidays (we call them Raisin Griddle Cookies). They were a traditional family recipe passed down from my Grandma. It is nice to see them featured on your site!

  40. November 22, 2011 4:36 am

    I’m going to make these for my Welsh friends who live with me here in Singapore. Will be a nice little bit of home for them 🙂

  41. February 27, 2013 11:18 pm

    Knew you would have a Welsh Cake recipe!!!
    A neighbour asked on facebook this evening where she could buy some so I said I’d make her some! Haven’t made them for years, just thought I’d check your blog for a good recipe and here one is! 🙂 Nice one! Thank you 🙂


  1. My first Welsh Cake | Ingset's Blog
  2. Mom’s Raisin Griddle Cookies | The Fit Cookie
  3. Welsh Cakes with dates « alternativeeating
  4. My top 10 blogs from 2012 « Cakes, bakes & cookies

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