This week I’ve been smitten with the Arcade Fire album ‘The Suburbs’ and in particular the song ‘Sprawl ii (mountains beyond mountains)’. It’s been a good distraction to the miserable weather that we’ve been having and is keeping me feeling chipper in the face of rain and yet more rain.
Now, I confess that up until recently I always considered the humble Welsh cake to be a bit of a Plain Jane. They’re somewhere between a scone or a biscuit and I’ve actually always steered clear of them, until now of course, because I’m not a big fan of raisins and sultanas. Usually I pick any currents out of my teacakes and scones like a fussy child! However, lately when studying for my New Nordic Diet MOOC, I began to cultivate more of an interest for traditional British treats and see what historically has been made in the UK. Scandinavia has always been my main baking inspiration, so it makes a nice change to indulge in a bit of British influence and embrace my Celtic heritage. I read on Wikipedia that in the past, men in Newport have made welsh cakes like these for their lady-partners as tokens of their love, which makes this post oddly timely as, guys, valentines day is this Friday…just saying.
Honestly, the smell while these are griddling is heavenly. The texture inside is rich and buttery, while not too sweet, meaning that you can snack on quite a few before feeling like you’ve overdone it. As i mentioned already normally they would be made with raisins, but here I’ve used blueberries, which I think compliments the cinnamon really beautifully. They are the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon cuppa, while watching the rain batter the windows.
Blueberry and cinnamon Welsh Cakes
- 125g cold butter, cut into cubes
- 250g plain flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
- 75g caster sugar
- ¼ teaspoon of all spice
- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
- 100g dried blueberries
- 1 large beaten egg
In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon and mixed spice and whisk thoroughly. Add the vanilla, blueberries and the butter, rubbing it into the flour as though making pasty, until you get to what looks like bread crumbs.
Add the egg and stir through with your hands, mixing until you get to a smooth, but not wet, dough.
Pop the dough into the fridge to firm-up for about 20-30 minutes.
Once cool, roll out on a lightly floured surface and use a cutter to press out circles. I used an approximately 7cm cutter and was rewarded with about 15 welsh cakes.
Heat a dry thick bottomed frying pan over a low to medium heat. Carefully slide in the cakes, and cook them for about 3 minutes before turning them over. When they are ready, they should be lightly brown and golden on both sides.
As you take the cakes out of the pan, sprinkle over a little extra cinnamon and dust with sugar while still warm.