Pice ar y maen or Welshcakes are scrumdidilyumptious! These traditional little spicy cakes are made on a bakestone or planc - pice ar y maen literally means 'little cakes on the stone' in English. The bakestone is an ancient cooking tool which is still widely in use today. In Wales bakestones are often passed down through the family – they are heavy, black cast-iron monsters on which cakes can be made and bread baked. But the best thing you can make on a bakestone are ... welshcakes! Yum yum yum. If you have never had one you are missing out! You don't even need to have a bakestone - a heavy based frying pan will do. Welsh cakes are normally round but I wanted to express my love for them by making them heart shaped! I was being a bit experimental yesterday so I also changed the recipe ... sacrilege!! The welsh cakes below are made with cranberries and white chocolate instead of the traditional currants and mixed spice ... delicious!
225g Self raising flour and ½ teaspoon of baking powder
125g of butter chilled and cubed (or margarine can be substituted)
75g of sugar
75g of currants or raisins
1 large egg and a little milk
a good big pinch of mixed spice
- Sift the flour and baking powder and mixed spice together into a nice big bowl.
- Rub in the butter / margarine until the mix looks like breadcrumbs, then mix in the sugar and fruit.
- Crack open the egg into another bowl and lightly beat, then add it to the flour mixture and combine. Add a little milk until the mixture has a dough like consistency (a bit like shortcrust pastry).
- Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least two hours.
- Once the dough has chilled, put your bakestone onto a very low heat on the hob and rub with the tinest bit of butter - this should be all you need for the whole cooking process (you are not frying them!), leave the bake stone to heat up.
- Dust your work surface with flour, roll out the dough to about a 1/4 inch thick and use cutters to cut into rounds, hearts, stars ... what ever you fancy.
- Place on the bakestone a few at a time and cook, flipping them over once you can move them around the pan without them sticking, keep flipping them until they are cooked through and nice and brown on both sides.
- While they are still warm dust with caster sugar, then alow to cool on a rack or plate, whatever you have to hand.
- If you want to make cranberry and white chocolate flavoured welsh cakes - simply substitute the cranberries for the currants / mixed spice and add chopped up white chocolate.
Rules of the Welsh Cake
- Welsh cakes must be eaten sprinkled with caster sugar.
- Welsh cakes must be eaten with a pot of tea
- Never ever split them and fill them with jam or put jam on top of them ... what you are after is a scone ... go and buy one.
- The first welsh cake of a batch never comes out quite right (a bit like pancakes) do not panic the rest will be perfect.