Stuck for an Easter weekend treat idea? Whilst St. David's Day has been and gone, Welsh cakes are still a seasonal sweet treat and are relatively easy to make. Although my grandmother's experimental cooking is often hit and miss, her Welsh cakes are the best I've ever tasted - and since I'm Welsh, I can safely consider myself an expert.
This recipe is unusual as it doesn't contain a raising agent, so don't be discouraged if the cakes don't rise as expected - the Welsh cakes sent down the mines were flat like this. Although this recipe is as traditional as it gets, you can add your own citrus twist by including orange zest.
Makes: 30 cakes
100g unsalted butter for the dough
500g plain flour
120g caster sugar
1tsp of mixed spice
1 orange zest, grated
1 large egg
100g of sultanas or raisins
100g salted butter for frying
Firstly, cut the unsalted butter into small cubes and tip into a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, the sugar, spice and zest before rubbing the mixture together with your fingers. Continue until the mixture is all crumby, similar to the consistency of crumble topping. Put in the currants.
After beating the egg separately, add it to the bowl and work it in until the mixture is more dough-like, like shortcrust pastry. If it seems a little dry, add some milk.
Flour a surface and roll the dough out until it's about 1cm to 1.5 cm thick. Use a round cutter of around 6cm in diameter to cut out the cakes.
Using a heavy bottomed frying pan, heat a sufficient amount of salted butter to cover the bottom of the pan in a shallow pool. When the butter starts to bubble, place as many cakes as you can in the pan (this should be around three or four). Cook the cakes until each side is a dark golden colour - don't be worried if they look a little burnt, it won't detract from the taste. Repeat until all the cakes are cooked.
Sprinkle a little caster sugar over the cakes to finish. Some people put jam and butter on them, and some even put cream; evidently, this is your personal choice, but everyone should be advised that my grandmother considers putting anything other than butter on a Welsh cake pure sacrilege...