Memories of Welsh Cakes
By Rowan Davies-Ostrom
Welsh Cakes! That was the first thought in my head when this assignment was announced. The second thought was that this would be easy; I would email my Tad-Cu and great aunt, get their stories, write it down. Bam. Done.
I was wrong. Welsh cakes, as easy as they are to make, are hard to write about, or more precisely, the memories associated with them. Welsh cakes themselves are pretty easy to write about; mention how buttery and soft they are, mention the sugar inside, and mention the process of coating them. Done. Perfect. The memories associated with them, the emotions and feelings? Not as easy.
I could simply write down my Tad-Cu’s memory of always having Welsh cakes waiting for him at home, but I would be missing how Welsh cakes were his mother's way of saying welcome home and I love you. I could add the memory of his sister making them and forgetting the sugar, only to realize the guest had diabetes and couldn’t have eaten them with sugar. But I would never catch the feelings of horror, and then relief as they realized they hadn’t embarrassed themselves. I could write about his memories of raisins instead of currents, and batches that never looked the same since his Mam stubbornly refused to use a recipe, but I would be missing the feeling of warmth and love that came when eating her Welsh cakes, no matter how unique each batch was. I just couldn’t get the feelings right.
Making welsh cakes in an amazing onesie. They turned out a bit dark, but they're fine, and they tasted amazing.
I struggled the most with the memory my Tad-Cu has of his Mam putting salt instead of sugar into the Welsh cakes, another manifestation of her memory loss. How could I write about the love felt through the Welsh cakes which were made by a woman I’d never met, yet also capture the sadness and amusement that followed the first bite?
So instead I wrote this -- a stream-of-consciousness vent -- and realized it captured the memories perfectly. Brief, yet ever-lasting in the grand scheme of things. Just like your first bite into a Welsh cake.
Welsh Cake Recipe
Makes 30 servings
Makes 30 servings
Step 1: Sift together the flour and baking powder. Once sifted add the cubes of butter and mix with hands or fork, until it resembles semi-fine bread crumbs. Then add the sugar and currants, and mix it all together.
Step 2: Mix the egg, vanilla extract, and milk in a small bowl. Then add to dry ingredients. Mix until firm, yet not sticky. If dough seems to dry, and will not hold together add more milk in small amounts. Once mixed refrigerate for 5- 10 minutes.
Step 3: Once dough had cooled place on floured surface. Roll until dough is a ¼ inch in thickness. Then take circular cookie cutters (your choice in size) and cut out the dough. Once dough is fully cut take the extra and roll into another ball.
Step 4: Heat frying pan on stove on medium to low heat. Place 3-6 Welsh cakes (depending on frying pan size), and cook each side for 3-5 minutes.
* The first few always look a bit too dark, or too light. I would recommend keeping an eye on them, depending on the size and which one landed in the pan first some may be ready before the others, and may need to be flipped before the recommended 3-5 minutes.
Step 5: As soon as fully cooked place Welsh cakes on a cooling tray and sprinkle heavily, or lightly, with sugar. Flip over and sprinkle other side. Be careful they're still pretty hot.
Step 6: Take photos, and enjoy.
Here are the finished Welsh cakes, along with some adorable Welsh dragons!