Grandma’s bakestones

Grandma's Bakestones, Welsh cakesThey were never called Welsh cakes in our family – always bakestones after the flat, heavy griddle they were cooked on, often passed down through the generations.

Mum made them to the family recipe and grandma was a particularly prolific baker of them. It wasn’t until she was in her nineties that mum persuaded her to write the recipe down – for which I’m very grateful indeed.

In my memory now they were always around when I was growing up – a cup of tea and a bakestone.

Grandma used to send batches with me when I went to uni, always layered up with baking paper in a recycled biscuit tin. She knew, without ever needing to say it, that having a tin of cakes to hand round in those first couple of weeks was a great way to kick off new friendships. And there was many a fuzzy-headed morning when a breakfast of strong tea and a few bakestones was the only thing that got me out of bed and through the day.

It was also the first time I’d lived outside Wales and this was a welcome taste of home at a time when I was rediscovering my appreciation of Welshness.

Grandma’s sadly no longer with us – the last time I went to visit I took her a batch of bakestones I’d made for her. It’s her recipe and I think it’ll always be my favourite thing to cook.

Ingredients

4oz mixed fruit

1lb self-raising flour

8oz margerine

1 cup caster sugar

1 egg (beaten in a cup, topped up to 1/2 cup with milk)

Method

1. Soak the fruit in warm water

2. Mix together the sugar and flour

3. Rub in the marge to the flour/sugar mix. Drain and add the fruit.

4. Gradually add the egg/milk, mixing by hand until you have a dough that is firm enough to roll out (you may not need it all)

5. Roll out to just under 1/2 inch thick before cutting out (traditionally with a  fluted cutter)

6. Cook on a warm bakestone (low gas) until golden brown on the outside and cooked through in the middle

7. Dust with sugar

Grandma's bakestones close up

Grandma’s tips for prefect bakestones

1. Use a light touch when rubbing in and rolling out

2. Use “little man” flour. We worked out she means Homepride – the brand with the little man on the bag

3. Keep hands floured when handling the dough and cutting out

4. Always a warm bakestone – they’ll burn without cooking through otherwise

My tips

I don’t have a traditional bakestone – I use a wide, flat pancake pan, but any heavy, non-stick pan will do.

I prefer butter to marge in the recipe. Grandma thought this very decadent, told me off a bit but loved the end result!

12 Comments on “Grandma’s bakestones”

  1. Carol Smith
    May 9, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    Welshcakes were one of my family’s favourites too, Made by my grandmother and then by my mum ! I have the bakestone they both used, but never had the recipe. Now I can make a batch ! My brother will be delighted,and hopefully my family will love them as much as we did when we were kids. Starting baking today!

    • May 9, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

      So pleased the recipe will be bringing back the family bakestone! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

  2. Linda Wheeler
    May 29, 2013 at 5:14 am #

    Oh Im going to try this in my pancake pan. My mother-in-law has a welsh history and now lives in New Zealand
    Linda

  3. Peter
    August 15, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

    Thank you- for years my wife thought I was nuts calling welsh cakes bakestones! I am glad someone else’s family did the same. Just made a batch and they are delicous

    • August 15, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

      Thanks Pete – I never knew they were called Welsh cakes at all until I was we’ll into my teens! Only ever bakestones to our family. Glad you’re enjoying them :)

  4. Dennis
    September 16, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    We always called them bakestones, I think only non-Welsh people call them “Welshcakes”. My mam would make them with butter and cook them in bacon fat, we never dusted them with sugar. I think this was a result of WW2 rationing when sugar was too rare and expensive.

    • Anthony Gigante
      December 24, 2013 at 2:21 am #

      Can you explain how they were cooked in the bacon fat? Were they somehow fried? Or just use the bacon fat in lieu of lard?

  5. Frances
    October 29, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    Thanks for putting this on the web. To me they always were and always will be bakestones! My English friends can’t understand this and when I ‘translate’ into Welsh cakes they tell me I made ‘bakestones’ up. Great to know that it wasn’t just my family either!!!

    • October 29, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

      Hope it’s good to know you didn’t make it up then!! Let’s all promote the bakestones!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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