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Go by the book
When the weather is gloomy and all you want to do is curl up in front of a roaring log fire, there is nothing better than a pot of tea and a plate of scrumptious and crumbly Welsh Cakes to cheer you up. Our favourite Welsh export is one of the best comfort foods around - dotted with juicy fruit and traditionally cooked on a cast-iron griddle or bakestone, this golden brown delight is best eaten warm, with a dusting of sugar - a favourite book and woolly socks are optional!
How to eat them and a little crumb of history
It appears that Welsh Cakes have been a teatime favourite since the mid-nineteenth century with regional differences in recipes, although this particular history is disputed by some going as far as to claim that they did not originate in Wales, but by Welsh settlers in a faraway land! History does however dictate that they are best served straight from the griddle pan, with people are daring enough to put a slab of vanilla ice-cream at the side, or even go for vegan Welsh Cakes!
Now it's not our place to say if this is the correct etiquette, but we are always open to suggestions where food is concerned - and this one sounds like something that we could become used to. If this has got your mouth watering, then we have included a recipe that you can whizz up while you are in the mood. If you are on holiday however, and time is at a premium, maybe you should head to one of these wonderful places where the best Welsh Cakes are waiting for you.
Wonderfully passionate about baking, this gorgeous little shop in Parkmill, the heart of Gower, has so many things to try but their warm Welsh Cakes are easily our favourite. Using organic ingredients and a traditional artisan way of cooking, you will really know that you are eating something special. But don't worry if you can't get to the shop, they distribute them throughout Gower, Swansea and South Wales and and you will also find them at markets and food festivals across Wales.
This contemporary bakery only makes Welsh Cakes so you can be sure you are getting them from the experts! Not only some of the best Welsh Cakes we have tried, they also wrap them in gift boxes and bags for you to treat a loved one (or yourself)! If you are a traditionalist you will love the regular cakes, but also recommended are the cherry and mocha ones, oh and the lemon and white chocolate.
Of course you must try the maple pecan ones - best to take home a whole selection? With shops in Castle End and Mermaid Quay, no trip to Cardiff would be complete without popping in and treating yourself.
If you like more of an old-fashioned vibe, this bakery and confectioner is the one for you. It's not only locals who come for the Welsh Cakes here. Visitors make sure that they make a quick trip in to pick up some. You will find the bakery in Mumbles as well as in the Swansea Market where you can also buy other lovely baked goods. You can eat them there with a hot pot of tea or pop them in your bag to take home later.
If you want to see Welsh Cakes tantalisingly made in front of your very eyes, your mouth watering as you wonder whether a whole box will be too many, Cardiff Bakestones is the place to go. The lovely owner bakes up to 1000 cakes a day using a 100 year old secret recipe. People travel from all over the country to Cardiff market to taste her cakes, and she has fans from as far as Japan.
Over 20 years of making Welsh Cakes and the secret to keeping at the top of their game? The owner says of her and her team 'we just put a lot of love into what we do.' We can't argue with that!
Now we wouldn't want to say that these are the best Welsh Cakes in Wales, but plenty of people do. Traditional cakes sit beside ones with a twist at this quaint cafe at Snowdonia National Park. They use only the finest locally sourced ingredients including pure Welsh butter and Welsh organic eggs, all of which support local businesses and guarantee consistency and quality. Fresh off the griddle as they should be, try a white chocolate and cranberry or chocolate mint, or if you are a purist, the traditional Welsh Cake. If that isn't enough, secretly buy a box and pop them in your bag before anybody sees - sharing may just be overrated when it comes to these cakes.
Or why not make your own!
Traditional Welsh Cake Recipe
225g plain flour
85 g caster sugar
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg, beaten
splash of milk
How to do it:
Tip the flour, sugar, mixed spice, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl, then with your fingers, rub in the butter until crumbly. Mix in the currants. Work the egg into the mixture until you have soft dough, adding a splash of milk if it seems a little dry – it should be the same consistency as shortcrust pastry.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to the thickness of your little finger. Cut out rounds using a 6cm cutter, re-rolling any trimmings. Grease a flat griddle pan or heavy frying pan with butter and place over a medium heat. Cook the Welsh cakes in batches, for about 3 mins each side, until golden brown, crisp and cooked through. Sprinkle with caster sugar on both sides and cool on a wire rack.
We hope you enjoy your Welsh Cakes and have been inspired to make your own! If you would like to visit these wonderful places in person, why not have a look at our selection of cottages in Wales including The Dairy in the Brecon Beacons.