This morning I had brunch with MrsMauritius and Bella'sMum and afterwards I gave Bella'sMum a lift. I had to move the morning tea and patty pan trays from the front seat and suddenly I thought of Rock Cakes. Mum always baked them in patty pan tins. I loved the golden brown rounded base of the cake and the crunchiness from the sprinkle of sugar on top.
And that's why I baked some Rock Cakes today and why I have eaten 6 of them already: three for afternoon tea and 3 more for supper. Rock Cakes are a kind of scone really, they are basically made the same way and then you add an egg and treat them as a little cake.
Traditional Rock Cakes have mixed peel, but I don't like it, so I added more sultanas and currants and the zest of half a lemon to compensate. You can add any dried fruits, or even glace cherries. I like to sprinkle a little ordinary sugar on top just as they go into the oven. You don't need very much and it is a little extra luxury.
I used my large spoon, I think it's a tablespoon, and I scooped up the mixture and then levelled off the spoon. I used my finger to push the dough off, and let the smooth side fall to the bottom. The rough peaks on top catch the heat of the oven and go golden brown. There are not many things better than a Rock Cake and a cup of tea.
Rock Cakes makes about 2 dozen
- 300g (2 cups) self raising flour
- 1/2 tspn mixed spice
- pinch of salt
- 90g chilled butter, cubed or roughly broken up
- 110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
- 2 tbspn sultanas
- 2 tbspn currants
- 2 tbspn mixed peel
- 1 egg
- 60ml milk
- a little ordinary sugar for the top
Preheat the oven to 200*C. If you don't have a patty pan tray, then you can just put the spoonfuls of dough onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Sift the flour, salt and mixed spice into a bowl and then rub in the butter. Just use your fingertips, and as you rub the butter in raise your hands from the bowl so that the flour is aerated as it falls back down. Basically you want it to be reasonably fine, and there shouldn't be any lumps of butter left: generally breadcrumb size.
Add the sugar, dried fruit and peel and mix well, making sure it is evenly distributed and coated with flour.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk and add the egg. Whisk together in the well, it saves an extra bowl!!, and then gradually incorporate the dry ingredients until you form a dough. If it is a little dry, add some milk. If it is a little sticky, add a little more flour. Mine worked out perfectly.
Fill the patty pan tray, sprinkle each with a little extra ordinary sugar if you like, and then bake for about 12 minutes. I checked after 7 minutes, turned my trays and then they were ready at 12 minutes. The tops will be slightly golden and the base of the cakes will be a lovely golden brown. Cool on a rack and then store in an airtight container. They will keep for a few days, but we used to cut them in half, toast them and eat them with butter if they were a little stale. Still delicious!!!