How to Make Tea Cakes Like Penny Lewis, Chef to British Aristocracy
Learn how to make delicious Welsh tea cakes.
Penny Lewis typically cooks for British aristocracy (she’s even fed the Royal Family). But last week, the chef and educator from The Culinary Cottage cooking school in Wales dropped by the Food & Wine Test Kitchen to cook her signature Welsh cakes for F&W’s staff and our Periscope followers (who didn’t actually get to taste the cakes but did get a live demonstration from Lewis).
Somewhere between a scone and a pancake, these chewy, buttery cakes are a staple of teatime in Wales. They’re supersimple to mix together and cook in just a few minutes on a griddle—plus, they’re delicious vehicles for whiskey-spiked whipped cream (Lewis likes Penderyn, a single-malt Welsh whiskey), which is always a welcome afternoon pick-me-up. Here, Lewis’s recipe for currant-studded Welsh cakes.
From Penny Lewis
225g all-purpose flour
85g extra fine sugar
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice or pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
50g butter, cut into small pieces
50g lard, cut into small pieces, plus extra for frying (or substitute butter)
1 egg, beaten
Splash of milk
1. Tip the flour, sugar, mixed spice, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Then, with your fingers, rub in the butter and lard until crumbly. Mix in the currants. Work the egg into the mixture until you have soft dough, adding a splash of milk if it seems a little dry—it should be the same consistency as shortcrust pastry.
2. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to the thickness of your little finger. Cut out rounds using a 6cm cutter, re-rolling any trimmings.
3. Grease a flat griddle pan or heavy frying pan with lard, and place over a medium heat. Cook the Welsh cakes in batches, for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown, crisp and cooked through.