Family Traditions: The Rock Cakes

By Andrea Pavee

Yesterday, during a flurry of texts, Mum told me she was about to bake a fresh batch of Rock cakes.

Hmmm…..I couldn’t for the life of me remember having seen, or even eaten them.

She promised to send over a picture once she had completed baking up her batch.

Not long after, the picture came through, and then, from the deepest, darkest recesses of my mind, a childhood memory surfaced.

Rock cakes! I remember them now.

Turns out this recipe is older than I am and was passed on from generation to generation until Mum inherited it back in 1974!

It was given to her by my Godmother, of blessed memory, who coincidentally was also my grand-aunt.

She was a phenomenal cook and an excellent baker. Her Christmas parties were the family’s Party of the Year. Cooking from a humble two-burner stove and a Kensington, or was it a Wedgewood oven, you know the old-fashioned ones which had two swing-open doors, one glass and the other metal, she made mouth-watering food for the heart, stomach and the soul.

Mum’s a very good cook too and I am always catching inspiration from her. She now lives in Australia, while I reside in Malaysia. Although I do not get to sample her delicious goodies, sharing recipes keeps our traditions going on strong, even as we pile on new ones.

Rock cakes are very much like scones, only easier to make and require no proofing time. Studded with mixed peel and raisins, they resemble rocks once baked. Since they are a cinch to make, you can whip up a fresh batch for a weekend teatime treat in no time at all.

Rock cakes are best eaten straight from the oven. While they can be eaten plain, serving them with clotted cream and jam is teatime heaven.

For more lavish occasions, a dollop of whipped mascarpone cream topped with slices of strawberries is a delectable option.

And so, from our home to yours, here is the recipe for Rock Cakes:

Ingredients

225 grams self-raising flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

125 grams butter, chilled and chopped

4 tablespoons sugar

200 grams raisins or sultanas, whichever preferred

1 teaspoon lemon or orange rind

1 egg

3 tablespoons of milk, cold

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Pinch of salt

Method

Line baking trays with parchment paper and heat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

Sieve the flour with the salt.

Rub the chilled and chopped butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

Using a spatula, mix in the sugar, raisins and citrus rinds. Combine with the egg and follow that on with the cold milk and vanilla essence. If your mixture is too thick, add a little extra milk to soften the dough.

Drop golf sized dough balls onto the baking sheet. Make sure you leave a little space between your balls so they have space to grow and spread when baking.

Bake at 190 degrees Celsius for about 12 – 15 minutes.

P.S. If you like, you can substitute mixed peel for the rinds. Also, if you are using salted butter, you can leave off the salt called for in the recipe.

Enjoy!

Posted by Chayo, HomSkil Editor 1, 2 May 2021

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