Darlene Foster's Blog

Welsh Tea Cakes

Posted on: March 2, 2014

A good friend suggested we attend a demonstration on making Welsh tea cakes at a local book store. You know how much I love book stores and good food, so it didn’t take me long to decide it was a good idea. We had a marvellous time.  Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks is a store devoted to cookbooks as well as books related to cooking or food. The warm, inviting store has an amazing collection of books, many filled with mouth watering photographs of culinary delights. One could spend hours browsing and it is difficult to leave without a purchase.

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The shop has a full kitchen which is used to demonstrate recipes as well as for holding cooking classes. To celebrate St. David’s Day, staff member Mark Holmes, a transplanted Welshman, demonstrated the art of making Welsh cakes in the shop kitchen. He even wore the traditional daffodil in his button hole to honour the occasion.

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Grating the fresh nutmeg

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Rolling out the dough on a counter lightly dusted with icing sugar

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Cutting out the cakes after chilling the dough

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Cooking in a frying pan at low to moderate heat

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Ready to eat!

Mark recalled stories of his grandmother making tea cakes at home in Wales, while we sampled the mouth watering finished product along with a lovely cup of tea. We learned some great tips as well. For instance, grating the cold butter into the flour mixture is much easier than cutting it into the mixture and has the same desired results. I can’t think of a better way to spend a chilly March 1 afternoon.

Life is full of coincidences and they no longer surprise me. Two days ago, Barbara, a dear blogging friend from England, wrote on her blog, March House Books about a vintage cookbook called   250 Recipes by Elizabeth Craig . She included  recipes from the book such as the following  for Welsh Cream Tea Cakes. This one is a bit different as it calls for baking the cakes in an oven, instead of the traditional method of cooking them on a bake-stone or griddle, like a pancake. Either way, they are delicious.

Welsh Cream Tea Cakes from 250 Recipes by Elizabeth Craig
1 lb flour
1/2 teaspoonful salt
1/4 lb currants
Grated nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoonfuls Borwich’s Baking Powder
1/4 lb butter
2 oz sugar
cream to mix
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a basin. Rub in butter, then mix in washed and dried currants, sugar, and a grated nutmeg to taste. Mix to a stiff batter with fresh cream, and foll out on a floured pastry boards. Cut into squares. Bake on a greased tin in a quick oven. Sometimes I make mixture a little thinner, and cook it in buttered muffin tins. Again, I fork out pieces of dough, and arrange them on tin, like rock cakes, without rolling mixture.
To see more recipes from this quaint book with unique paintings, visit Barbara’s blog:
Do you enjoy looking through cookbooks, new or vintage?

44 Responses to "Welsh Tea Cakes"

What a culinary experience. I can’t help but think of Wm. Wordsworth’s poem “I wandered lonely as a cloud” in which he tells about his encounter with a field of daffodils. He was from NW England, not so far from Wales.

I actually thought of the Wordsworth poem myself. It was a great experience. So happy my friend suggested it.

My in-laws are Welsh and she makes delicious Welsh Cakes. I’m glad you enjoyed them.

Lucky you to have someone to make them for you. It was my first taste.

First of many, I hope. I also hope you’re going to have a go at making them: they’re quite easy, except that my ‘pinch’ of salt was a bit too large when I made my own. Must try again. Let us know how you get on if you try. Maybe you can write a blog about that too!

I will try to make them soon and I’ll watch the pinch of salt.

Yum. Hats off to him for making these in the middle of a book store!! That is amazing to me. They look yummy. Thanks for sharing the recipe. 🙂

It was amazing to watch him prepare and cook the cakes in a book store! Hope you get a chance to try the recipe.

One of my parents’ neighbours is a Welsh lady who makes the best Welsh cakes – she seems to be able to churn out hundreds in one go! Never actually tried to make them myself though so I might have to give it a try.

Thanks Lucy. I do hope you try them. It looked quite easy (at least when Mark did it)

I’ve never heard of a combination like this: a bookstore with a working kitchen. With all those books on food, this is absolutely a delightful idea. And a cup of tea too? I want to drop into a sofa in the corner and drool over some of those cookbooks.
I had over a hundred cookbooks but I donated them all to bookstores because I found it easier and faster to find a recipe online. Coldhearted, I know. This is my one flaw. 😀

I know, it is a unique concept. I have had to get rid of some of my cookbooks as well. I did keep the special ones with gorgeous pictures. I tend to sit and read my cookbooks. (Some even have stories attached to them) Thanks for commenting.

The cookbooks with the stories are the best kind. I recall planning a special dinner and sitting on the carpet surrounded by open cookbooks. Planning a dinner was a big event in itself. 😀

Yummm! I will definitely make a batch.

You would have loved this shop Sheila. Next time you are out here I’ll take you for a visit. Enjoy the tea cakes.

Darlene, I’m so jealous I wish I could visit that lovely bookshop and sample some of the goodies – culinary and bookish!
Thank you for mentioning my blog in your post, I really appreciate it. Barbara xx

You would just love that bookshop. The owner, Barbara-Jo McIntosh, has written a delightful cookbook herself called Cooking for Me and Sometimes You with stories of living in Paris and Parisienne recipes,What a great coincidence that you posted a Welsh Tea Cakes recipe the day before I attended this event!

It certainly was Darlene. I’m sure there must be a hidden meaning! x

I love those!!! I can’t stop eatin’ ’em! 😀

They are irresistible. You can never eat just one.

These are cute little cakes. How fun to get to watch the demonstration.

it was fun. They taste as good as they look too.

These look delicious! I don’t think I’ve ever had one. What a wonderful shop and demonstration kitchen!

You would have loved it!! You might want to try making them.

Mmmmm delicious! What a wonderful looking bookstore, it could fairly give me the munchies.

I thought the Welsh Tea Cakes resembled scones somewhat. The book store most definitely gives you the munchies. I think it is clever of the owner to offer cooking lessons and events.

They are a bit scone-like, but trickier to make, I think. Don’t you have to be quite careful with them during the cooking part? I’ve never tried making them but I should do.

I plan to try making them soon. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Now that looks like a really great time. When I was in Whales I loved the tea cakes, so I would have been in heaven watching and nibbling.

I would love to visit Wales and eat the tea cakes there. This was the next best thing.

Darlene, I lived in England for 3 years, and to my great disappointment I never had a Welsh teacake. After reading your post, I know that this is something I need to rectify. ~ James

Perhaps you can try making them. There are a few variations of the recipe (like most traditional cooking)

How fun and I love the looks of the store. I could spend hours there.

They would be hours well spent. It is such a clever idea, a book store full of cook books.

Delicious start to a sleepy Monday. I am part Welsh myself.

Thanks for stopping in on a sleepy Monday.The short time I spent in Wales, I loved the people.

I love this! What a gorgeous place – the best of both worlds ! 🙂

How wonderful to hear from you. Hope all is well. It was a fabulous place. I loved it and so would you.

This looks like such a fun day! My husband’s family has Welsh ancestry and comes from the Scranton, PA. area. They’ve always made “Welsh Cookies,” and I make them, too.
And yes, I love cookbooks!

Thanks for visiting. I love to hear that so many still enjoy cookbooks. I’m sure your Welsh cookies are very yummy.

Darlene,
There are so many people who love cookbooks! Check out Cynthia Bertlesen’s blog, She’s a food scholar working on cookbooks.
http://gherkinstomatoes.com/author/cbertel/

Thanks. Great site!

Sounds like a fun afternoon, Darlene. A tiny plate of Welsh Tea Cakes would be especially lovely right now as I enjoy my cup of tea on a chilly winter / spring day in the German Alps. 🙂

Thanks Tricia! It was fun and the Welsh cakes are perfect with tea on a chilly day. I’m sure it is beautiful where you are right now though.

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