West Virginia has a Scottish Heritage Festival every summer. It’s a blast to go to and there’s some great food, great music, and great fun. I had my first welsh cakes there a few years ago and fell in love. They’re just a tad sweet and keep well.
Welsh cakes are a bit labor-intensive compared to some treats since you have to man the griddle or cast-iron skillet, but it’s worth it! History has it that these were often found in Welsh coal miners’ meals. It’s nearly impossible to find real currants here in this area of the US. Zante currants are in fact a kind of raisin.
I need to make another batch of Welsh cakes. I’m out again!
Welsh cakes (picau ar y maen)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar plus more for sprinkling
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup 1 stick unsalted butter, cold and diced
- 1/4 cup lard cold and diced, plus more for cooking
- 3/4 cup currants
- 2 large eggs slightly beaten
- 2-3 tablespoons buttermilk I've used regular milk too
- Lard for cooking
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, orange zest, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl. Mix in the butter and lard with your fingertips until the mixture looks sandy. Stir in the currants. Beat the eggs and 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk together. Stir into dry ingredients to make a shaggy dough, adding more buttermilk if dough is dry. Gather dough into a flattened ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Roll the dough on a floured counter into a piece about 1/4" think. Cut into 2 to 3" rounds. You can also separate small balls and roll out into small 2 to 3" flat rounds by hand individually.
Heat a griddle or cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Brush the pan with lard. Cook the cakes until a pale golden brown and cooked through, about 4 or 5 minutes on each side. Low, slow and steady wins the race with these. Move to a cooling rack, dust with sugar and cool.
Cooking time is for the entire batch using a medium sized cast iron skillet. A larger griddle means a shorter cooking time because you could do more at once.