Welsh Cakes

Recently while on a trip to the UK, S4, the family’s equivalent to Jane Austin, surprised me with a trip to Wales. In my excitement I set out to research our destination so that I would be a bit informed and not a typical obnoxious American tourist.

Being the fabulous cook that I am, I started my Welsh research with food and traditional Welsh cooking. I lived in the UK in the days before gastro-pubs and Gordon Ramsey so I had to draw from a short list of food favourites to obsess, hanker over and long for after my relocation to the States. My all-time favourite food from across the pond are to-die-for sausage rolls; pork sausage wrapped in crispy pastry. The second is the Scottish shortbread. Imagine my delight at discovering that a very traditional Welsh food is also a baked good.

Being a bit of the gourmand...I would love to be including a high-faluting recipe for Welsh rarebit. But let's face it; Welsh rarebit is cheese on toast.

So we will focus on the Picau ar y mean. No, I did not intend to write Pictionary mean, Picau ar y mean ( look S4, vowels) is Welsh for Welsh cakes. A small cake, similar to a scone and almost as dry, the Welsh cake has been popular since the 19th century. Made from flour, lard or butter, sultanas, eggs milk and assorted spices, the Welsh cake is baked on a griddle or bakestone then sprinkled with Castor sugar. The traditional cake is 7-8cm in diameter and 1-1.5cm thick and resembles the silver dollar pancakes of my youth.

Unlike scones, Welsh cakes are not traditionally served with accompaniments such as Britain’s glorious clotted cream and unlimited flavours of jam. When we were in Portmeirion, we were persuaded to buy gooseberry jam or blackcurrant marmalade to go with our Welsh cakes. When you open the cake and add jam, it is called a Jam Split. There are also new twists, such as adding apples, to this little cake as foodies try update, and ultimately fail to improve this little bit of Welsh heritage.

As an American with a sugar dependency, I found the cakes to be a bit blah. However, they are adorable and I’m glad to have met them. I’m firing up the griddle to test this recipe I found on line offered by the Welsh Tourist Board. http://visitwales.com

8 oz. self-rising flour

2oz. Castor sugar

4oz. Butter or margarine

1-2. Handfuls of sultanas

1-2. Eggs

Makes 10-13 cakes

Sieve flour...you won’t, but that is the instruction

Add sugar and sultanas to the mix.

Add one egg. The mix needs to bind so if it’s crumbly, add the second egg

Roll on a floured surface to 1/4” thickness and cut circles with a 2” cutter...or in my house, a drinking glass does the trick.

Cook on a greased griddle pan or a bakestone over medium heat, 4-5 minutes on each side.

To test for doneness, press the centre; it should be springy. If there is ooze keep

cooking and if there is no spring, start over.

Dust with sugar and enjoy warm or cool.

*read about our Portmeirion adventures in the Travel category of this blog.

**FEL RHECH MEWN POT JAM translates into 'like a fart in a jam jar.' I thought that was funny.

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About Us


Fearing the empty nest? Don't! Since my children have flown the coup, I have had time to refocus on my passions of travel, art, and writing.  This little blog is a handy tool that helps me share what I have learned with others.


I grew up in the States, but have lived a large chunk of my adult life in the UK. I now split my time between London and South Africa as well as chasing the sun around the world. 


 When my nest emptied, I began to plan my trips according to my own schedule, indulging in going solo. Once one gets used to traveling solo, it can be a very freeing experience. I seek out interesting, informative and unique experiences, and proffer advice with my network of readers.  I also have a lot of fun!


 Spa retreats and personal growth travel are core to what I do.  If there was a master's degree in the art of booking massages, I would be a scholarship student! I also plan to conquer Europe one city break at a time and with all that effort, I need as many beach holidays as possible. 


So please enjoy reading my tales of travel. I hope you are encouraged to get on that plane and perhaps have a few giggles along the way.


When my large family was quite young, we lived in several international postings. In an age before Google Translate,  I negotiated the grocery stores of foreign countries in search of tasty ingredients. I soon became an expert at discerning information from food labels and also learned to cook healthy, quick meals from local sources. 


From this experience, I became quite the foodie, even before 'foodie' was a word. And now as an empty-nester and devotee of food travel networks, I  interpret those old recipes into smaller, even tastier versions. 


Being an editor and food/wine travel columnist,  I travel the world sampling indigenous recipes which I share on Old Bag on a Plane. I also love wine!


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