“What would you like with your cup of tea?”
I asked my husband this question in the tea shop after a walk in the countryside.
“I’ll have two rock cakes, please.”
“You like rock cakes?”
“I’ve always liked rock cakes!” he replied.
After fifteen years of knowing him and all his food likes and dislikes, his partiality to rock cakes was a complete surprise to me.
I had always thought that rock cakes were those hard, horrible looking things that live in not very nice teashops, and which taste hard and stodgy. But since that conversation three years ago, I now make a batch of rock cakes nearly every week. As there are only two of us, I wrap nearly all of them in cling film and store them in the freezer. They can then be taken out and thawed (they don’t take very long) and you’ve got a nice fresh cake to have with your cup of tea or coffee!
I can now make rock cakes in about 30 minutes. By the time the oven is heated to the correct temperature, I’ve made a batch and they’re ready to go in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes.
- 225g self raising flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 100g butter
- 50g caster sugar
- 100g sultanas
- 50g currants
- 1 egg (whisked in a bowl)
- Milk (if needed)
- Demerara sugar (for sprinkling)
- Preheat oven to gas mark 6.
- Grease a baking tray with a little butter.
- Sift the floor into a bowl, together with the baking powder and pinch of salt.
- Cube the butter and add to the flour. I always thought you had to soften the butter but you don’t need to – in fact it’s better if its straight out of the fridge.
- Rub the flour and butter between fingers so that they resemble breadcrumbs/grated Parmesan.
- Add the sugar, sultanas and currants and just mix into the crumbled mixture.
- Add the whisked egg to the mixture and mix in. You don’t want to make it smooth like a Victoria sandwich cake; you want it quite crumbly-looking – but it must hold together. You may need to add some milk (but do this very slowly). If you add too much milk and there is a sheen to the mixture the rock cake may taste heavy.
- When ready scoop out with a biggish spoon and plop onto the baking tray. You don’t need to shape the rock cakes much.
- Once you’ve made 10 or 12 sprinkle the tops of the rock cakes with Demerara sugar. You don’t need to be too fussy about this, and it doesn’t matter if the sugar goes all over the baking tray – the sugar can be scrapped off once the rock cakes have been baked.
- Put the tray of rock cakes into the pre-heated oven (in the centre) and cook for 15 – 20 minutes depending how brown you like your rock cakes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool.