The secret to perfect cakes is the bakestone, called a planc or maen in Welsh. Essentially a thick cast-iron griddle, it heats slowly and evenly. A cast-iron frying pan or even an electric griddle will work nicely in its place. Whatever pan you use, don’t overcrowd it; you’ll need the extra room to reposition the cakes during cooking to avoid burning them. Oh, and no need to say this, I’m sure, but I will: These are best served warm.–David Leite
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) chilled unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces
- 1/3 cup sultanas or golden raisins
- 1/3 cup dried currants
- 1 large egg well beaten
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until thoroughly blended. Add the butter pieces, and process until powdery, about 15 to 20 one-second pulses.
- Dump the mixture into a large bowl, add the dried fruits and the egg, and mix with a fork to form a firm dough. (If it appears dry, work it with your hands until it comes together.) Turn the dough out onto a clean surface, and knead it several times.
- Lightly flour the surface and roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/2 an inch. Using a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut out the disks, pressing firmly to cleanly cut through the dried fruits. Gather any leftover dough, knead briefly, reroll, and repeat.
- Heat a lightly buttered cast-iron frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Place 3 or 4 cakes in the pan and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, adjusting the heat and repositioning the cakes until they’re an even pancake-brown. Flip and cook another 3 to 4 minutes. Continue until all the cakes are cooked. Let cool completely before serving. The cakes will keep for a week wrapped in plastic in a cookie tin.
Originally published April 22, 2003