Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Pice ar y Maen (Welsh Cakes) for Breakfast

The weekends are a time when roles are reversed and invariably I have to get up first and, as it is the weekend, I am expected to return with breakfast. Usually this will be toast, but this morning as I was lying there, contemplating getting up, I realised that we were out of bread and that being a Sunday the deli wouldn’t open until 10am. For some reason (genuinely I have no idea why) I suddenly thought, ‘I’ll make griddle cakes!’. Which is odd, because I have never made them before; perhaps it was my distant Welsh blood speaking through the mists of time. 

I will be making them again though – a real success and very easy. It must have taken no more than 15/20 minutes, including making the coffee.

A Welsh Cake cooking in the traditional way.

Image from National Museum of Wales

Traditionally Welsh cakes would have been cooked on a bakestone (in fact one name for the actual cakes in Wales is Bakestones), which is a flat slap of stone that was heated in a fire and then used for cooking. More recently cast iron has replaced stone and they are cooked on a griddle pan over a range. Sadly we don’t have either, however we do have a panini maker that my mother bought me some time ago and which turned out to be just perfect.

They kept their shape so well during cooking that for afternoon tea, when using up the rest of the mix, I used shaped cutters instead of a round one. Once we get the bee-hives up and running I am looking forward to trying these out with honey rather than sugar.

If you look carefully at the image at the top you might see two things that would make my Welsh fathers turn in their graves. One thing that is there and shouldn’t be and one that isn’t there and ought to be... I’ll let on at the end.

Pice ar y Maen or Welsh Cake Recipe

(250g) 8oz self-raising flour
(75g) 3 oz butter
(1/4 tsp) pinch of salt
(75g) 3 oz currants or raisins
(75g) 3oz caster sugar
1 egg
a little bit of milk
Some extra sugar to sprinkle

They kept their shape so well I couldn't help
but use a different cutter for afternoon tea
Combine the fat and flour and then add in the sugar, salt and currants. Break in the egg and pour in enough dashes of milk to make it bind. Roll to the thickness of your little finger and cut using a cutter of your choice. Pop onto the griddle, bakestone, panini maker or heavy saucepan and cook until brown, turning once. Then sprinkle with sugar if so desired.

Do try these, they are so lovely and yet really easy. And the two historical errors in the picture? Well the Jam would certainly be frowned upon, whilst the lack of currants would have me banished from the sacred land!


  1. I guessed the jam....but failed on the currants (I assumed they were hidden in the dough). The teapot shapes are wonderful. Will you be making more for St David's Day? I've been addicted to Welsh cakes ever since I went to College in Barry in the mid 1970's - I used to buy them freshly baked from a local baker & had them every day for breakfast. I needed something tasty to guive me strength to tackle the steep hill from the town to college.

  2. Hi Karen,

    Thanks for your comment. Yes, I had forgotten it was St. David's day tomorrow. It would seem rude not to knock up another batch and this time I'll include the currents...

    The teapot is great, but my favourite is the yacht.