If you’re in my age bracket & above (y’know, 40something, a youngster 😉 ) you might have fond memories of visiting to your grandparents and teatime. My nan would always bring out trays of egg sandwiches, bowls of crisps, Penguin biscuits & Viscount biscuits. These would be followed by things like scones, teacakes and these forgotten classics – the good old rock cakes.
Now, I’m not suggesting for a second that these aren’t made anymore, but I’m going to be as bold as to say they aren’t as popular as they once were. Certainly I don’t recall seeing them in the shops that often nowadays (not that I look much) and they’re not featured on the baking shows. So I felt it was time for a revival! Rock cakes are awesome, right? You don’t need anything on them or with them, they stand alone as a delicious little cake, full of flavour and, as my memory serves me, satisfying.
Traditional recipes has mixed spices and mixed fruit & peel. My own version has just raisins, a small amount of nutmeg, a good dose of cinnamon, some cherries and my own unique addition, a sprinkling of mixed chopped nuts to give them a bit of edge. They’re great, don’t stray too far from tradition and are easy to make. So, watch the video (made whilst listening to The Libertines) or follow the recipe and method below and join the revival. Let’s go ‘nuts for rock cakes.’
350g Plain Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
2 tsps Baking Powder
175g Light Brown Soft Sugar
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1 1/2 tsps Cinnamon
12 Glace Cherries (chopped)
30g Chopped Mixed Nuts
175g Stork (margarine) or unsalted butter
1 Large Egg
1-2 tbsps Milk (as needed)
Demerara sugar to sprinkle on top of the dough mixture of each.
Preheat oven to 190c/375f/gas mark 5
Line a baking sheet with non stick greaseproof paper.
Sift flour, baking powder & salt into a large mixing bowl. Add in the sugar, nutmeg & cinnamon and stir thoroughly ensuring that any lumps of sugar are broken up.
Add the Stork (or butter) and rub into flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the raisins, nuts & cherries and stir through.
Add the egg and stir. This will bind the ingredients and start to form a stiff dough. You will need to add 1 tablespoon of milk. You’ll need to judge whether you need to add a second. If it’s too stiff (the dough) you won’t be able to “fork” it onto the baking sheet so let that be your guide.
Get a good forkful of dough and “plonk” it onto the baking sheet, spacing them out. Allow about 3-4 centimetres between each one. You should be able to get 12 rock cakes out of this mixture. You don’t need uniformity of shape, a spikey mound is fine. Sprinkle a little demerara sugar on each to give a crunchy topping.
Bake for 20-25 minutes in centre of your oven until golden brown. Remove and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
These will keep in a cake tin for 2-3 days. They won’t last that long!!