Welsh Cakes for St David’s Day (Picau ar y Maen am Dydd Gŵyl Dewi)

Welsh Cakes (Picau ar y Maen) for St David's Day
Making St David’s Day Welsh cakes with my grandmother is one of the few kitchen memories I have of her that doesn’t involve me being actually turfed out of the kitchen. I think an early love of these small, sweetly spiced discs sealed my affection for that old Marmite of baking staples – dried fruit. This recipe is adapted from a very old one involving the use of lard; my grandmother, who was also vegetarian, changed it by using white vegetable fat instead. I’d be fibbing if I said she made them religiously every year – she didn’t, and was perfectly happy buying a bag from the local market. Welsh cakes are sold in bakeries throughout Wales every day of the year – it was quite an eye-opener when I moved to London and realised, to my dismay, that I couldn’t buy them anymore. I quickly learnt to make my own, and make them every year; although if I’m perfectly honest, my Welsh mother-in-law makes the best Welsh cakes I’ve ever had.

Traditional Welsh cakes are made on a bakestone or a griddle; a large, heavy frying pan would do the job though.

Makes about 16 cakes.

200g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
50g cold butter, cubed
50g cold Trex
75g caster sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
75g raisins
1 medium egg
2 tbsp milk

P1050374 P1050375
In a mixing bowl large enough to hold everything, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the cubes of butter and use a teaspoon to add manageable blobs of Trex. Rub the fats into the flour until you have a breadcrumb-like mixture; you can do this by hand or use a processor or mixer as you please. It only takes a couple of minutes so I usually do it by hand, purely because I’m too lazy to wash unnecessary Kitchen Aid attachments!

P1050136 P1050139
Sprinkle in the sugar and mixed spice and stir until thoroughly combined. Now add a lightly beaten egg and use a wooden spoon or spatula to bring everything together. If it seems too dry, add a tablespoon or so of milk. You are aiming for a firm but pliable dough. Lightly knead in the raisins until evenly dispersed.

P1050146 P1050378
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1cm. Use a round cutter to cut out discs. I use a 6cm fluted cutter, but a round one is better as it cuts through the raisins better!

P1050383 P1050405
On a low-medium heat, cook the Welsh cakes for about 3-4 minutes on each side. It is better to take your time, as you don’t want a burnt cake with a raw centre! Aim for a nice golden colour and remember they firm up as they cool. When removed from the heat, sprinkle each cake with a little caster sugar. Allow to cool completely before storing; they will keep for a few days in an airtight tub.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

4 thoughts on “Welsh Cakes for St David’s Day (Picau ar y Maen am Dydd Gŵyl Dewi)”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

20 − 11 =