Wednesday, 10 December 2014
I asked the Culinary Consultant whether there was something in particular he wanted me to bake. Usually I don't get much a reply other than along the lines of "Not really". This time however he did bring up the subject of Rock cakes. I haven't had them before, but I remember the Culinary Consultant has mentioned them a few times. According to Wikipedia they are fruit cakes which have a rough surface resembling rock. They were promoted during the Second World War by the Ministry of Food as they require less sugar and eggs than ordinary cakes. Old ways are often good ways, so I decided to give them a try. I used this recipe from BBC food but added a bit of cinnamon and allspice.
Rock cakes (makes about 12):
225 g self raising flour
75 g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
125 g butter, cubed
150 g dried fruit (such as sultanas, raisins, orange peel, currants)
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla extract (I used one tsp vanilla paste)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Mix the flour, sugar an baking powder and add the butter. With your fingers, rub the butter with the flour mixture until the texture of coarse sand. Mix int the dried fruit and spices. In another bowl, mix the egg, milk and vanilla extract. Add to the flour and butter mixture and stir with a spoon until a rough dough forms. If the dough is too dry to come together, add a tsp of milk. Don't overmix. Using two spoons, drop the dough onto a parchment paper lined baking tray to form rough heaps the size of golf balls. Bake for 15-20 minutes (mine baked for 24 minutes) or until golden on top. Enjoy with tea or coffee while warm.
The cakes are very quick to prepare and don't take very long to cook, so they are easy treats to make. They did turn out similar to the picture in the original recipe, so I think I got it quite right. The texture of the cakes is lovely and crumbly and the pieces of fruit are really good. I had three as soon as they came out of the oven...