The quantity of memories I have of Wales far surpass the time I actually spent there. I don’t know what sort of magic this wild land spun on me but it certainly made a mark.

Was it sitting on the side of a cliff amongst the ruins of an ancient castle as the sun set? The towns filled with books, stacked against walls outside, lining the castle grounds, piled upon piles of piles in old, musty cellars? The memories of visiting the family of a friend in the valleys, slipping in their icy driveway, eating Welsh-Chinese food in the car from a takeaway deep in mining country? My first taste of cockles and laverbread (seaweed boiled to a black paste) at Swansea Market?

I think though, it was the Welsh Cakes.

The ingredients of a scone (plus sultana and a little spice) but cooked on a griddle like a pancake, these little crumbly delights then rolled in sugar and served hot. The besmocked ladies churn them out by the thousand on the ground floor of Swansea Market, tossing in bags at a rate of knots. At 25p a pop, it’s hard to not grab a hot bag to keep your hands warm in the cold Welsh morning.

Welsh Cakes were traditionally made by the lady of the household as a treat to serve at afternoon tea, and were also given to children with their school lunches. Since they are durable, filling and delicious, Welsh Cakes also became a favored treat of the coal miner husbands of many a Welsh housewife. Indeed they are the perfect size to be slipped into a coat pocket, these sweet reminders of home were often the only bright spots in a miners otherwise dark and dreary day spent toiling “down the mine”.

The Welsh Baker

Welsh Cakes (picau ar y maen)

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, TeaCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time





The perfect teatime treat (or any time of the day, really). A mix between a scone and a pancake, these currant-stuffed, sugar-rolled hot cakes are best served with butter and/or jam.


  • 225g plain flour

  • 85g caster sugar

  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 50g butter, cut into small pieces

  • 50g lard, cut into small pieces

  • 50g currants or small sultanas

  • 1 egg, beaten


  • Measure the dry ingredients into a bowl, add a pinch of salt. Then, with your fingers, rub in the butter and lard as you would for scones, just until the mix is crumbly.
  • Mix in the currants/sultanas. Work the egg in with your fingers until you have soft dough. Add a splash of milk if it seems a little dry. It shouldn’t be too wet – think consistency of shortcrust pastry.
  • Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface, to the thickness of your little finger. Cut out rounds using a 6cm cutter. You can re-roll the left overs, no waste here.
  • Grease a flat griddle pan or heavy frying pan with lard or butter, and place over a medium heat. Cook the Welsh cakes in batches, for about 3 mins each side, until golden brown, crisp and cooked through. Sprinkle a little extra caster sugar on them as they come off the pan.
  • We love them served warm with butter and jam. Cakes will stay fresh in a tin for 1 week.
Lani Kingston, the Founder of Four Seasons of Food, is a food and coffee industry veteran with four bestselling books under her belt. Her first book, How To Make Coffee: The Science Behind the Bean is now published in 13 languages and is a textbook at barista academies around the world. Born in Australia, she has lived in London, New York, and Singapore – and now resides in Portland, Oregon, where she is a professor of anthropology at Portland State University teaching coffee history. She is also the Conference and Education Manager at Coffee Fest, the premier specialty coffee industry trade show held four times a year in different cities across the United States.

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