These moist, crumbly, spiced cakes were the result of one of the first recipes I learned to make as a child. I would mix together a batch for tea – my family would sit in front of the telly and watch wrestling on a Saturday afternoon – Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy – with a cup of tea and a rock cake. That’s just how we’d (rock and) roll!
The cakes are like a cross between a scone, a cake and a bun – only they are unique because they have a craggy surface with crunchy sugar and are beautifully spiced. The whole house is filled with the warm inviting scent of sugar and spice and all things nice.
Yesterday we were having a little Sunday tea party and I had very little in the house to eat – so I decided it was time to turn back the clock and re-visit this childhood favorite. I have used measured ingredients – I’m stepping away from cups and volume measuring – not only is this a lot less accurate but it’s not how I baked at home as a child.
Rémy has taken to using my camera and yesterday I came into the kitchen to find he’d been food styling the rock cakes. Minty was very impressed that he’d used the teapot in the background! I love his composition, his tower of rock cakes and apart from being a little nervous that he’s so into using my expensive camera I’m loving his new found photography hobby!
225g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon all-spice
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
85g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
85g organic cane sugar
75g golden raisins
25g zante raisins
1 large egg
2 tablespoons whole milk
turbinado sugar for sprinkling (about 1 tablespoon)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F
2. Sift together the flour and spices into a large mixing bowl.
3. Add the butter to the flour and rub in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
4. Add the cane sugar and the two types of raisins and stir to distribute evenly.
5. In a small bowl lightly beat the egg and then add the milk, beat to combine. Slowly add this egg/milk mixture to the large bowl and make a firm stiff dough that is able to stick together without any dry crumbs left in the bottom of the bowl.
6. Spoon the dough onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and make 10 even heaps with peaks and craggy forms – they should look like rocks. Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar and bake in the center of the oven for 12 minutes – or until the cakes are golden brown and firm to the touch.
7. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and try to resist eating until they have cooled a little. Eat the same day as these cakes do not keep.