I’ve always loved baking and known that, over the last 20 years of practice, I’ve become quite a competent baker. I love baking for people and particularly enjoy watching someone react whilst tasting something I’ve made. This joy has increased as I’ve baked on a Rayburn; I suspect this is partly as you have to get to know your Rayburn and as a result, it takes longer to master recipes, even old favourites.
I’ve been able to increase the number of bakes I feel really comfortable with, those recipes we call on at a moments notice, when a local fete needs something for the cake stall, or friends decide to visit and you want something to impress without too much stress. I’ve added a really excellent recipe for an apple cake (all credit for the excellence to the author and I will be sharing it with you in a later post), several variations of flap-jacks from down-right decadent to healthy and nutritious and two new chocolate cake favourites too.
Most recently I’ve been practicing my Welsh Cakes; it was a highlight of my first encounter with the local WI, when I was asked to make some for their stall at a local festival. These delicious, simple little cakes are much like scones. However, they don’t rise and are cooked on a griddle, not in an oven. Everyone has their recipe, handed down for generations, and I’ve worked on several from local cook books and advice, eventually coming up with this version which is delicious for a late breakfast or an early, springtime tea:
Dinah’s Welsh Cakes:
225g plain flour
100g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
75g light brown caster sugar
1/2tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
50g dried apricot, cut into pieces *approx 8 pieces per fruit
1 large egg, beaten lightly
semi-skimmed milk to form dough
Into a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and spices.
Rub in the butter, which should be in small cubes and at room temperature for best results.
Stir in the sugar and the dried apricot pieces, gently.
Stir in the egg and add enough milk to form a firm dough.
Lightly flour a clean, flat surface and roll out the dough to about the thickness of a digestive biscuit. Cut out rounds.
Heat a griddle or pan and grease lightly (with butter or light oil). Do not over-heat the griddle or you will burn the Welsh Cakes. Heat in batches until they are brown on the outside and cooked through (around 2-3 minutes per side is usually perfect on a Rayburn).
Sprinkle, whilst still warm, with a little vanilla-flavoured caster sugar. Serve with butter.