Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus! – Mwynhewch picau ar y maen…

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Are you Cymry?

Then you know what the words above mean.

For those who don’t read or speak the Welsh language, here’s the translation:

Happy St. David’s Day! Enjoy Welsh Cakes.

Native to Wales, as their name suggests, Welsh Cakes are the perfect breakfast on the feast day of their native country’s patron saint, St. David — celebrated each year on March 1.

These soft, tender cakes are a cross between a pancake and a baking powder biscuit, with a touch of cookie and muffin thrown in for good measure.

Sturdy enough to be eaten out of hand, they can be served plain; sprinkled with sugar (or cinnamon-sugar, our favorite); or spread with butter, and gilded with sugar or jam.

In addition, they’re excellent the next day, warmed in the toaster as you’d warm toaster cakes.

Or not. Frankly, these little cakes are so melt-in-your-mouth tender, they don’t even need to be re-warmed.

Intrigued? Let’s make Welsh Cakes.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 to 3/4 teaspoon salt (depending on what type of butter you use; see below)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Whisk until well combined.

Cut 1 cup (half a pound) of cold butter into pats or cubes; don’t fuss over this, just chop it up.

If you use salted butter, use 1/4 teaspoon salt in the recipe. If unsalted butter is your choice, use 3/4 teaspoon salt.

Add the butter to the dry ingredients.

Work it in until the mixture is fairly evenly crumbly; a few larger pieces of butter can remain.

Next, we’re going to add 3/4 to 1 cup of currants.

These tiny dried grapes (pictured at right, above, next to golden raisins, for scale) will disperse nicely throughout your cakes. If you want to substitute raisins, it’s best to chop them up before use.

Add the currants to the dry ingredients, and stir to combine.

Put 2 large eggs in a measuring cup. Add enough milk to measure 3/4 cup liquid total.

Whisk to combine. You should have 3/4 cup liquid.

Add the milk/egg mixture to the dry ingredients.

Mix until well combined.

Scrape the sticky dough off the sides and bottom of the bowl, divide it in half…

…and plop the halves onto a very well-floured work surface.

A word to the wise – imagine how easy it’ll be to clean up if you use a silicone mat

Shape each piece of dough into a thick, 4” to 5” disc.

Wrap one piece in plastic, and refrigerate it while you’re working with the other piece.

Roll the soft dough into a 9 1/2” circle; it should be about 1/4” thick.

Be sure to lift up the dough and flour underneath it as you roll, so it doesn’t stick. A giant spatula works well here.

Using a 2 1/2″ to 3 1/2″ biscuit cutter or other round cutter, cut the dough into circles. If you’re cutting on silicone, BE GENTLE; pressing down too hard may score the silicone.

Gather and re-roll the scraps, cutting until you’ve used all the dough.

Heat an ungreased skillet over low-medium heat; an electric frying pan or skillet, set at 325°F, works well.

Here are your cakes, ready to fry.

It’s best to fry one test cake first, to see if your pan is the right temperature.

Fry the cake for about 2 1/2 minutes on the first side…

…then about 2 1/2 minutes on the second side, until it’s golden brown and cooked through.

Pull the cake apart; it should separate easily, and shouldn’t look wet inside. Moist is fine; gummy isn’t.

Adjust the temperature of the pan or grill if necessary to cook the cake all the way through.

Onward!

Place the remainder of the cakes on your griddle; or fry however many you can at a time.

An electric griddle is super-handy – not only can you adjust its temperature easily, you can fry a dozen cakes at once!

Transfer the cakes to a rack to cool.

Cut and fry the remaining cakes; since the dough’s been refrigerated, let the cut cakes warm for about 10 minutes at room temperature before frying.

If you want to serve all the cakes warm, stow the first batch in a 200°F oven while you fry the second batch.

To serve, dust with cinnamon-sugar or superfine sugar.

A tea strainer does a nice job.

Split the cakes if you like, and spread with butter and/or jam. A pot of tea is the perfect accompaniment.

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Welsh Cakes.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Sandra (Alicante)

    I lived in Wales for about 23 years but had forgotten St.David’s Day until reading this post! While I thank you for reminding me, I’ve now got to struggle to find currants. Sultanas are no problem here but for some reason currants are not seen here, unless in ex-pat shops.
    Of course, coming hot on the heels of that, we have Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday)……hey, I can pick lemons from my own tree for that! In the UK we often drop currants into the pancake batter, then they are rolled up, sprinkled with sugar and squirted with lemon juice.

    Oh, my… those pancakes sound wonderful. And thanks for reminding me about Shrove Tuesday next week. Definitely have to celebrate that one. Wish I could pick lemons from my tree – but it would only work if lemon trees can exist in -30°F and covered with tons of snow! :) PJH

    Reply
  2. DeborahW

    I grew up in South Wales eating welsh cakes and still make them – my grandmother made them with half lard half butter so I still do the same. I’ve never had them with cinnamon – mixed spice is more common.

    Cinnamon is easier for Americans to access, Deborah; that’s why I went in that direction. Mixed spice would certainly be more traditional… PJH

    Reply
  3. Sandra (Alicante)

    Actually, just caved in, who cares about currants anyway? Now have tray of cakes cooling…..lovely buttery smell filling the house. At least I put half the mix in the freezer for later!:)

    Save it for Tuesday – impress your friends with your knowledge of patron saint days and their signature foods! :) PJH

    Reply
  4. Leslie

    I like to soak raisins in whiskey and water for a while before putting them in the batter. Adds a nice flavor. I’ve got a bottle of Canadian Club set aside just for soaking raisins. Will try currants next time!

    Reply
  5. Rose Fox

    These look lovely! I will have to try making some. About how many does this recipe make?

    Also, for those who would like to use mixed spice, here’s a recipe from the Wikibooks cookbook:

    * 1 Tbs ground allspice
    * 1 Tbs ground cinnamon
    * 1 Tbs ground nutmeg
    * 2 tsp ground mace (or 1 tsp additional nutmeg if you don’t have mace)
    * 1 tsp ground cloves
    * 1 tsp ground coriander
    * 1 tsp ground ginger

    Blend all spices together, and store in a sealed jar away from light.
    This recipe makes about 2 dozen 2 3/4″ cakes. Thanks for sharing the spice mix, Rose. Elisabeth

    Reply
  6. iahawk89

    How well do these freeze? Cook then freeze, or shape, freeze, thaw, then cook?
    I would suggest the latter. I am not sure if we have tested freezing them. Will you let us know how it goes? Elisabeth

    Reply
  7. hfredricks

    I love Welsh Cakes and these look awesome, I had problems getting currants over here (moved to MA from London) but I found nutsonline stocks lovely currants, also essential for my Spotted Dick recipe! As for using mixed spice – I have found that “pumpkin pie spice” is a very reasonable substitute for mixed spice, now my cakes taste just like my mum’s home made… :)

    Thanks for the tip – I’ll have to remember pumpkin pie spice when a recipe calls for mixed spice… Glad we could help you enjoy a taste of home. Cheers- PJH

    Reply
  8. "sandra Alicante"

    These freeze well after baking or at virtually any stage beforehand! To make it really easy, shape and freeze if you are going to freeze the raw dough. If freezing baked cakes, don’t sprinkle with sugar until you serve them. Allow to defrost naturally and just warm in M/W for a few seconds to freshen.

    Thanks, Sandra – good tips from an obvious expert! PJH

    Reply
  9. chinchillalover

    Well deborahw ,PJ is right very rarely can mixed spice be accessed by the average american.I myself had an incident with mixed spice when i started baking(4 years ago)when i tried to make lebkuchen.and i thuoght “WHATS MIXED SPICE!!!”.So i tried to make it with PUMPKIN PIE SPICE.And they turned out nastily.Then i googled mixed spice and discovered how big a mistake i had made.So many european recipes are confusing to americans. tchsuss.

    Reply
  10. Irene in TO

    Cook then freeze. Reheat in the oven wrapped in foil. Sugar only just before serving.

    These will keep (baked) in the fridge for 2 weeks if you skip the leavening. They will cook up a little denser but taste just great. I used to make huge batches of these for camping trips as they were perfect breakfast food along with some OJ. Sugar not needed.

    Reply
  11. kd8ejt

    I can’t wait to try these. There’s a Celtic festival here in town and there is a merchant who sells these. I can’t get enough of them. it’s nice to have a recipe to try now.

    Glad we could help – just think of these, hot off the griddle – you may give that merchant a run for his money! :) PJH

    Reply
  12. annzie

    YUM!! Sounds like a nice variation on English Muffins. I love the idea of baking them on a griddle. I will definitely try these–and thanks for the Welsh lesson!

    Wish someone a Happy St. David’s Day tomorrow, Annzie – in Welsh. If you can! :) PJH

    Reply
  13. jjmcgaffey

    Is the mixed spice a replacement for the cinnamon in the cinnamon-sugar, or does it replace the nutmeg in the recipe? It sounds interesting. And these sound yummy, either way.
    Judging from the previous comments, I believe it replaces the cinnamon in the sugar coating. Folks, jump right in if I’m wrong! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  14. peoplepractices

    These are great. I made them last night and just refreshed on the griddle this morning. I used fresh ground nutmeg and it was a great enhancement. Since we have an adorable corgi at home, these were in his honor.

    Reply
  15. CJ

    On yummy . . . my first batch was hit and miss. I think it will take me a few tries to get my pan regulated correctly (no electric skillet here – oh well).
    Question – I have a few friends who are gluten intolerant. If I made these with the KA Gluten free bread flour, would it still work?
    CJ

    I don’t think so, CJ – not without further refinements, such as the addition of xanthan gum. However, since I haven’t tried it, don’t know how much xanthan gum. It might be something you could experiment with, by looking at some of our other GF recipes to get a feel for ingredient proportions. Sorry I can’t offer you specific help here – I wish it were as easy as simply substituting GF flour for regular AP flour, but it’s not… PJH

    Reply
  16. Jeannette

    I didn’t expect to see Welsh written on an American website! Although I am Welsh and live in Wales I don’t often make these, they are lovely though. Thank you for putting on the recipe for others to enjoy!

    Reply
  17. davidssa

    Any reason I can’t use other fruit? My family is balking at the currants, and I have one picky three year old who won’t eat raisins. Could I use other dried fruit? How about cherries? Or those wonderful little dried Maine blueberries I can sometimes find at Trader Joes… What about fresh raspberries (our favorite in muffins)? Any thoughts on how to adjust the liquid for fresh/frozen berries? I’m going to try them as written this morning, but I’m always up for tweaking. Thanks so much!

    Any dried fruit would be fine. Fresh or frozen fruit, more of a challenge as it may create soggy pockets. But if you don’t mind experimenting, try anything you think the kids would like – chocolate chips, chopped apple, anything you’d put in a pancake. Enjoy- PJH

    Reply
  18. davidssa

    BELIEVE THE HYPE. These are obscenely delicious. And they were easy, too, once I got used to how quickly they cooked. The suggestion to try a test cake is a good one. I did them on my unreliable electric stove, and I still only burned one (with four children running around the kitchen, I always burn something). And they had to sit around for a little bit while I helped a small person with her potty-training, and it didn’t affect anything. (Some baking soda breads don’t like to sit, I’ve found. Of course, this is powder, but I was still a little concerned.) They kept fine in a warm oven, and they were gone before anyone got up from the table, currants and all. I’m going to try messing around with the seasonings for variety because these are awesome! Chopped apple is a good thought. I think that’s next. Maybe with a little boiled apple cider in place of a little bit of the milk…

    Reply
  19. 2darnhot2

    I have used dried blueberries & they were great. I added a drop of lemon extract to (didn’t have a lemon for zest or I’d have used that). So yes, they work just fine.

    Reply
  20. Elysant

    I was born and raised in Wales. My mother used to make Welsh cakes on the Maan (iron griddle) that my grandmother used, and my great grandmothers before her. I have always used cinnamon and cloves, and currants or raisins. The welshcakes are made by the rubbing in cake method, rolled out as described, and cooked on a greased griddle. In ancient times it was a stone hot from the hearth. They also were made by celtic pockets of people in France, and there is documentation by a clergyman about the switchover to iron vs stone maans somewhere back in history. One thing I have never seen is the slicing of the Welsh cakes, and putting butteer ot jam inside them. They are usually too thin for that, and are only dusted with castor sugar. The spices go into the mix not coating the outside. Also I guess it would be an adventure to try using cherries or blueberries in them, I’d never thought of that. And another way they are made is that they cut the rolled out dough into small oblongs without any spices or fruit in them, coat the one side with jam, fold them so they are little squares with jam inside and put them on the griddle that way. Still called Welsh cakes. Diolch yn fawr (thank you) for putting this recipe on your site.

    Rydych yn croesawu, Elysant. These little cakes are very compelling, aren’t they? Thanks for their wonderful “back story.” PJH

    Reply
  21. huntclub02

    I saw this recipe early this morning, and knowing that my husband’s family is from Wales, I thought they would be fun, and immediately had to make them! I did not have currants, so I used raisins instead; and cooked them on our griddle. They are really different, ridiculously delicious, and easy! My family…needless to say there are none left! I will absolutely be adding this to the arsenal of recipes I make regularly. Thank you KAF for posting a really great recipe!

    Smart thinking! I just found some “red flame raisins” and might try them in this next! If it worked for you, why not me? Kim@KAF

    Reply
  22. CR

    I just picked up some fresh currents from the farmer’s market. How much should I use? Should I use the same amount, 3/4 to 1 cup?
    If they are fresh (red or white) they are going to be quit heavy in moisture content. Plus, there are a lot of seeds. Maybe processing into a jam or jelly for eating along with the Welsh Cakes may be a batter option? Elisabeth

    Reply
  23. Rob Lane

    Mae’n edrych yn flasus iawn! Rwy’n falch i weld yr ysbryd o’r Gymru yn fyw o cwmpas y byd!

    Rob
    Llanelli
    Cymru

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Rwyf wedi cyflwyno nifer o bobl i bara hwn blasus brecwast, Rob – Diwrnod Hapus Gŵyl Dewi! PJH

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