Anyone for a spot of tea?
Last year I wrote a very heartfelt post about why Welsh cakes are so important to me. A year on, they still very much are. I am positive they will always be.
I’m both excited and nervous about this recipe. Excited because after over 3 years of experimenting with grain-free recipes I only just found the confidence and inspiration to recreate my life long & family favourite Welsh cakes. Excited because the recipe worked. Excited because they taste not far from the real deal (not bad given how different the ingredients are). But, oh so nervous, because I think my Welsh ancestors and fellow compatriots would be narked at me for trying to make these healthy.
There are many schools of thought on making ‘healthier’ versions of otherwise sinful bakes. One of which being you have a treat very occasionally, eat the real thing and savour every second, or another that you make healthy versions and enjoy just as occasionally or even a bit more frequently (though of course still in moderation, including moderation right?) I’m kind of half way between the two on this one, it depends what food we’re talking about. But before you go making a judgement just picture for a second the people who really can’t eat any form of grainy flour, or white sugar – because it makes them sick – even when consumed once in a blue moon. These people need these recipes I do so love to develop. This one is for you.
Making Welsh cakes is an event I reserve for a couple of times of year; either for a family gathering, or in the weeks leading up to St David’s day (1st March) to celebrate my heritage and traditions amongst the uninitiated. I have been wanting to attempt this version since it occurred to me, back in December making mince pie pastry that the texture of the pastry wasn’t that far removed from a Welsh Cake. But, I waited because the time had to be right. I’m astounded I managed to hold out till now. To develop this recipe I played around with my pastry recipe whilst staring blankly at the traditional recipes calling for 225g self raising flour. I actually decided to bit of tapioca flour to the almond and coconut base, not because it has any nutritional value, but because it can help the texture of grain-free baked goods, assists with binding, and also helps the surface of the cake develop a nice crust. These were a little fiddly to flip (mainly because I used a cast iron casserole pan, since my cast iron griddle pan is in London where I am not), but worth persevering with. Don’t be tempted to cook on anything other than a low-heat. If you burn these you will be devastated. I think the word is patience.
To the untrained eye, these may appear to be biscuits, but they are actually more like a sweet buttery griddle scone, with a fluffy, cake-like inside. They are ridiculously good with a smear of butter on top, and right now that’s my preference over the other traditional topping of a dusting of sugar.
- 150g (1 &1/2cups) of ground almonds
- 75g (1/2 cup) coconut flour
- 25g (1/4 cup) tapioca flour
- 75g coconut palm sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp mixed spice (or ½tsp nutmeg, ½tsp cinnamon)
- 115g (1 stick) butter, at room temperature, plus a little extra for pan
- 75g dried mixed fruit
- half a whisked egg (or more depending on your flour)
- Sieve together the almonds, flours, sugar, spices and baking powder.
- Using your fingers rub in the butter till the mixture is crumbly. Mix in the dried fruits and use the egg to bring the mixture into a dough. Depending on how oily your almonds are, you may need more or less.
- Divide the dough in half, then place on top of a layer of parchment paper on your counter. Cover with clingfilm and roll out using a rolling pin to approx ¾-1cm deep . Use a small circular pastry cutter to cut out rounds. Heat your griddle pan over a low heat. Smear with butter and wipe off with a piece of kitchen towel. Cook the cakes in small batches, cooking for about 2-3 minutes on each side until the surface is browned and the cake is cooked through.
- Cool on a rack and dust with sugar if desired. Eat with butter / cream / jam / curd / as your Welsh Grandma would approve. Best served a little warm.