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

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 grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Heather Dewey Pettet

    Gosh, PJ, I keep wanting to make these, I just haven’t had a chance. But when I first saw this a couple of years ago, I about had a heart attack, because I had been researching Wales and my ancestors, and the language.

    I had found out my maiden name is quite Welsh (Dewey). So, yes, I am Cymry. However, as my son is sensitive to AP flour, I have to make a healthier version.

    So, if I sub WWW or WW Pastry Flour for the AP, and add a couple of pinches of leavener, about 1/4 tsp, I think I’d be ok with that, don’t you think? I’ve made the KAF Baking Powder Biscuits that way a lot. Thanks in advance if you can respond yourself.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Heather, thanks for connecting here. I LOVE these cakes! While I’ve never tried making them 100% whole wheat, I think using our white whole wheat flour would be a fine substitute. I don’t believe you’d need to add any extra leavener (since they’re pretty flat anyway and don’t need to rise much), but it wouldn’t hurt to add just that small amount, 1/4 teaspoon. Good luck — hope you and your son enjoy these. Pobi hapus! PJH

    2. Heather Dewey Pettet

      Thanks for your reply, PJ! Yes, I hope that’ll work. So for now…

      Hwyl fawr! (I just love that “Goodbye” translates to “Big fun!”

      P.S. I’ve been researching Wales and Welsh again, as I’m trying to finish writing a book that is partly set in Wales.

  2. Carole

    I got my Welsh Cake recipe from a neighbour, some 50 years ago. She was a Welsh wartime bride living in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. I have been making them since. My family love them. I don’t sprinkle with sugar as we don’t seem to need it. My reason for replying is to tell you that they freeze well and the also ‘travel’ well. I now live about 200miles north of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and have shipped to my family as far as Houston, Texas and to Alaska. They also take plan rides when they come home for Christmas, Easter, etc.

    Reply
  3. Kerri

    these were spot on! I went to Wales this last Christmas and had Welsh Cakes for the first time. I have been failing at crumpet making so I thought I would give these a go! Delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Glad this recipe reminded you of the Welsh Cakes you enjoyed in Wales, Kerri! Barb@KAF

  4. Susie Breiten, WI

    My granddaughter is 5th generation to make Welsh Tea Cakes. Reading thru.. your recipe, I find one difference in your recipe. We use 1 tsp of baking soda along with baking powder. Grandma taught me to test my iron baking griddle for correct heat by dropping one drop of water on the pan. If it skipped across the griddle, the griddle was ready to use. We cut the cakes in triangles and serve them on
    Holy Saturday.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for passing on your Grandma’s tip for testing the griddle, Susie. I love it! And congratulations on five generations of Welsh Tea Cakes in your family! What a wonderful tradition. Barb@KAF

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

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

  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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

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