Saturday Morning Welsh Cakes

Weekends were made for baking and there's nothing nicer than something freshly made first thing in the morning. We're big fans of pancakes and crepes in our house. Both savory and sweet. Scones and muffins too, are regular productions. But when it comes to something light and delicious that will also last beyond breakfast, Welsh Cakes are perfect.

Lighter and spicier than scones, Welsh Cakes are, unsurprisingly, a traditional Welsh fare. They have been around since at least the late 19th Century. They're a fairly simple cake and, like scones, allow for a lot of customisation and addition of flavour and ingredient.

Also, they smell incredible when you're cooking them!

Christian's Welsh Cakes & Jam Splits

500g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
75g caster sugar
2tsp mixed spice
250g unsalted butter
pinch of sea salt
150g raisins and sultanas
1 large egg
50ml milk

Sieve the flour, sugar and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the bowl with a pinch of salt. Using your hands, rub all the ingredients together into a fine breadcrumb consistency. Now add the dried fruit.

Make a well in the centre of your mixture and crack in the large egg and add the milk. Then, using a fork, beat everything together. Once combined, the dough will be quite short, so don't work it too much.

Heat a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. IF possible use a thick-bottomed pan. Dust a clean surface and roll out the dough to a 1cm thickness. Then using a 5cm pastry cutter (or any similarly sized cylindrical kitchen object), cut out as many rounds as you can. Rework and re-roll the dough as needed to ensure as many rounds as possible.

Test the temperature of the pan by cooking one Welsh cake for a few minutes. You should aim for a heat that creates a golden light brown colour at about 4min on each side. Don't crowd your pan but do cook as many as it will comfortably allow at the same time.

Allow the cakes to cool on a wire rack and dust them with a small sprinkling of caster sugar. They can be served as is or cut them in half and dollop in some cream and jam (or fresh fruit if you have it - Strawberries / Raspberries / Blueberries etc.).

When you split them like that and add jam or fruit they are called Jam Splits. If you feel even more adventurous you can make Apple Dragons by adding grated apple to the mix. I like to add a little more cinnamon when doing this as the apple just deserves it.

Finally, if you don't have Mixed Spice, just sub in equal amounts of Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Allspice.
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