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.


4oz mixed fruit

1lb self-raising flour

8oz margarine/butter

1 cup caster sugar

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


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!

27 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.

      • Welshkev
        November 24, 2019 at 12:46 am #

        Always bakestones in our house from the valleys.
        Cooked them to your recipe and history repeated itself, you can never fill a plate when the kids are around. Finally found out why my mother was so frustrated when we were kids and she was cooking them.
        Tasted great as always.

      • November 24, 2019 at 8:56 am #

        So glad you liked the recipe. Yes, there’s nothing quite like bakestones still warm from the griddle!

    • Marion
      February 24, 2015 at 12:54 pm #

      I can trace my bake stone back almost 200 years to my great grandmother . I am in my late sixties and will eventually pass it on to my granddaughter. My grandmother brought it from Wales in the 1930s and it has fed many generations. Welsh cakes are its main use but It also makes scotch pancakes crumpets and the most delicious English muffins.

  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

  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!

  6. Jan
    June 28, 2014 at 9:45 am #

    Hi, out of the blue I was talking to my friend about welsh cakes and said when I first heard the term I didn’t know what they were. Mum always called them bake stones. So we googled it and up came your site! Her recipe is slightly different to yours in that she used roughly a combination of 2oz lard and 4oz marge, 4oz granulated sugar and 4oz currants 1lb SR flour, and either 2 eggs and 5 tbsp milk or 1 egg and 7 tbsp milk. A lot depended on availability, size of eggs and money. Her eyes and a teacup were used to measure the ingredients but they were always yummy and still are, though sometimes I vary the recipe I still use our old bakestone.

    • June 28, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

      Thanks for sharing that Jan – glad google came up trumps for ‘bakestones’! My grandma always used marge but most traditional recipes have some lard in – indeed to try it out 🙂 I’m afraid I’m some years off being able to do it by eye quite yet – it wasn’t until she was in her 80s that we persuaded grandma to even write down the recipe! Lovely that you still have the family bakestone to use 🙂

  7. Dan Jones
    August 10, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

    In our family they were always known as Welsh Cakes, and many of my family members were born welsh so I guess it depends on who you speak to and where they come from in Wales. To be fair, all my side of the welsh family are from South Wales, but whether that makes any difference or not I don’t know.

    I have looked for years to find a Maen of the same type that my Nan used to use but to no avail. Hers was a good 3/4 inch thick piece of Boiler Plate about 18 inches in diameter. The modern manufactured ones pale in comparison as many of them seem to be cheap reproductions, though they do still seem to work OK.

    I love introducing Welsh Cakes (or bakestones) to my friends… as I currently live in the south east of England (Though I come from the Welsh Border area) many of them have never tasted the delights and in most cases even heard of them. They generally go down very well! :o)

    Good site!
    Dan Jones

    • August 14, 2014 at 8:59 am #

      Thanks Dan
      Sounds like that boiler plate was amazing – I use a modern version too and it does the job pretty well.
      They are a great thing to share, I agree. Always the first thing I think of too when anyone ever asks about what ‘typical’ Welsh food is.


  8. Lynne Stagg
    January 1, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    I make cakes for my fortnightly group meetings but my oven blew up on Christmas Eve so I am about to make some Welshcakes both sweet and savoury, for tomorrow`s meeting! I shall be cooking them on my grandmother`s heavy cast iron frying pan which is brilliant once it`s been tempered.I was born and brought up in Wales and they have always been called Welshcakes there not bakestones..There is still a stall in Swansea Market where you can buy them straight off the bakestone, warm. Fantastic!
    For savoury ones I substitute the currants and sugar with grated cheese and cooked chopped onion and a pinch of herbs.

    • January 1, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

      Thanks for sharing that Lynne – I’m intrigued by savoury versions. Will have to give that a try 🙂

  9. Susan
    October 27, 2015 at 10:17 am #

    Thanks for this:-) Like many of the contributors I didn’t know anyone called these delicious little morsels welshcakes. We have always called them Bakestones and we always will. I’m just going to start a batch for my family and friends. Happy baking all!

  10. Pat Dymond
    February 13, 2016 at 6:52 pm #

    I grew up knowing them to be called bakes tones as they were cooked on a traditional iron bake stone, I am born and bread in the south of Wales, when I was growing up and first heard the term welsh cakes I thought they were something different, it doesn’t really matter what you call them they are delicious.

  11. Ann
    March 17, 2016 at 9:24 am #

    We always call/called them bakestones. I can remember asking for half a dozen bakestones when my late husband and I were in Tenby many moons ago, and the lady had no idea what I was talking about (and I live in S E Wales!). I make mine on the bakestone my maternal grandfather made (he died when I was a baby in 1951), which is the one my later mother used too. A great aunt always made half of hers with currants, and the other half plain, and then split with jam in. I’ll probably be making some again to take to the States for my son and my American D-in-L next week. I even bought a Minnesota-shaped cutter last time I was out there!! (Though I have so much stuff to take, maybe I’ll just make them out there! My very much ‘non-cooking if he can help it’ son, made some for St David’s Day last year. He was too busy this year, so maybe i WILL just make them out there. (It wasn’t my best idea to make a big pile of them when I went out 18 months ago, and then wrapped them in foil and put in my hold case – goodness knows what they looked like on the X-ray machine… I wasn’t stopped though!)

    • March 17, 2016 at 6:59 pm #

      Thanks for commenting Ann. Sounds like a lovely trip to the US coming up. Although you’re right about what customs must have made of that!
      Always think it’s great to hear of bakestones being handed down and the traditions being upheld. I know my family uses this recipe a lot and it’s great to feel the connections to generations past.
      I split mine too – but make traditional and coconut or choc chip cos my wife doesn’t like dried fruit.
      Bon voyage!

  12. June Gibson
    November 19, 2016 at 2:48 am #

    I have been making welsh cakes, or bakestones for 50 odd years and this is the the first time I have heard them called bakestones. My parents came from Wales and my Mother made them all the time, she had a griddle over the grill of the stove. I make them in a stainless steel electric frypan which I have had for 44 years. I now live in the US!

  13. Pip
    January 21, 2017 at 10:37 am #

    Am trying to find recipe for a Bakestone (NOT Welshcakes!). It’s the same consistency as welshcakes but the size of the bakestone on which it is cooked. Filled with fruit – wimberries usyally and sugar added halfway through. Help!


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