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Round Cakes

North Cornelly, Pen-y-bont

Margaret Maddocks baking round cakes in a Dutch oven, North Cornelly, Glamorgan.

Margaret Maddocks baking round cakes in a Dutch oven, North Cornelly, Glamorgan.

It is certain that the cakes, generally known today as ‘Welsh Cakes’, have been tea-time favourites in Glamorgan since the latter decades of the last century.  At one period they would be eaten regularly in farmhouses and cottages alike, and the miner would also expect to find them in his food-box.  Two different methods of baking these cakes were practised in Glamorgan.  Baking them on a bakestone over an open fire may be regarded as the most general practice throughout the county.  The Welsh names given to the cakes were usually based on the Welsh name for the bakestone, and these included pice ar y mân, tishan ar y mân and tishen lechwan.  They varied in size from small, round cakes to a single cake as big as the bakestone.

The method favoured in the Vale of Glamorgan, on the other hand, was to bake them in a Dutch oven in front of an open fire.  The cakes were cut into small rounds, placed in two or three rows on the bottom of the oven and baked in front of a clean, red glow.  These were known as pica/pice bach, tishan gron, and tishen rownSlashers and tishan whîls were colloquial names given to them in two small villages.

The Recipe

You will need

  • one pound self-raising flour
  • four ounces butter
  • four ounces lard
  • four ounces currants
  • four ounces sugar
  • a little nutmeg
  • quarter teaspoonful salt
  • one egg
  • a little milk

Method

  1. Rub the butter and lard into the flour and then add all the other dry ingredients. 
  2. Mix together well.
  3. Beat the egg, add a little milk to it and gradually pour into dry ingredients. 
  4. Knead well to make a light, soft dough. 
  5. Turn out on to a floured board, roll out to a thickness of about a quarter of an inch and cut into small rounds.
  6. To bake them by means of radiated heat (see notes on use of Dutch oven) put the cakes in a shallow tin and bake in a low position under a hot grill. 
  7. Bake on both sides until golden brown.

North Cornelly, Glamorgan.

Film/Recording

Welsh Cakes have been tea-time favourites in most parts of Wales since the second half of the nineteenth century. They were usually cooked on a bakestone and the Welsh names given to these cakes were usually based on the different regional Welsh name for the bakestone. These included pice bach, tishan lechwan or tishan ar y mân (bakestone cakes), but in English they became known generally as Welsh Cakes. Here's Rhian Gay demonstrating a modern version of Welsh cakes.
Welsh Cakes have been tea-time favourites in most parts of Wales since the second half of the nineteenth century. They were usually cooked on a bakestone and the Welsh names given to these cakes were usually based on the different regional Welsh name for the bakestone. These included pice bach, tishan lechwan or tishan ar y mân (bakestone cakes), but in English they became known generally as Welsh Cakes. Here's Rhian Gay demonstrating a modern version of Welsh cakes.
Mrs Annie Jones, Blaenau, Llanwrda, Dyfed making Welsh cakes, 1975
Oral history in Welsh: Richard Griffith Thomas of Llangynwyd, Glamorgan describing the bakestone and tripod. Mr Thomas was born in 1894.

Comments(1)

loma jones
17 June 2018, 15:10
...Yes,Thank you Cariad.
we never , never forget how to make Welsh cakes,
My Mam and Nana showed me how.It's in the blood,the recipes can differ, we used mixed spice always
,some sprinkle sugar on top.But ..we never forget how to make Welsh Cakes ! . XXX Dywlch yn fawr.

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