Rock cakes

Rock cakes

These little cakes are something else I have been making quite a bit recently. A few months ago my nine-year old daughter came home and said this: “Mum, my friend E has rock cakes in her lunch box and I really like them”. Ah yes, I recognise a gauntlet thrown when I see one.  So there I was at 6.19 am the next morning making rock cakes to go into her lunch box. You can’t make rock cakes the day before. They need to be made and then eaten, preferably still warm after only a few minutes spent relaxing on a wire rack. But they are also acceptable at lunchtime when baked in the morning. Apparently.

I hadn’t made them for years before this. I don’t know why because they are delicious. I do know why, I had forgotten how good they are. The name rock cake doesn’t exactly sell them to you I realise, but really they are soft, gently spicy and very, very good. Make them as soon as you can, but not necessarily at 6.19 am, if you can help it.

I make mine in the food processor which means they are a matter of minutes to make.

Makes 12 – 15 cakes

225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp mixed spice
100g butter, softened
50g demerara sugar
100g dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, candied peel, a mixture – anything you have in the cupboard)
1 egg and 1 tbsp milk, beaten lightly together


Preheat the oven to 200°c, gas mark 6, or use towards the bottom of the roasting oven of the Aga. Grease a baking sheet.

Place the flour, baking powder and mixed spice in the bowl of a food processor or in a large bowl. Cube the butter and either pulse until it looks like fine breadcrumbs or if doing it by hand rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips and a light touch. Add the sugar and the fruit. Add the egg and milk mixture and pulse again until it comes together or mix with your hands until it comes together in a soft dough.

Spoon small mounds of mixture onto the greased baking sheet, you want them to look rough edged like a rock. Spoon a little extra demerara sugar over each one. Place in the preheated oven and cook for about ten minutes until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack, leave for a minute or two and then eat or wait until lunchtime.

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27 thoughts on “Rock cakes”

  1. I was sitting here, missing Mum and suddenly saw this post. I was cast back to my childhood of Mum or my Grandmother making Rock cakes. Thanks for the recipe and the happy memories!

      1. Oh no Julie I hate it when a recipe doesn’t work perfectly first time. Maybe a splash more milk would help. The dough needs to be a bit sticky for them to be right. I am glad they tasted good though. Best wishes Kath

  2. Sorry. Can’t do it. They remind me of my second cookery lesson at school (the first one was ‘how to scrub a kitchen table made of deal’). They remind me as well of austerity and ‘make-do-and-mend’, which is a philosophy I embrace wholeheartedly by the way. But rock cakes for me are just too …. 1950s

  3. Yes,happy memories of early cookery lessons at school.I had forgotten about them .We also had to make our pinnies and silly little hats in needlework classes. Will make the rock cakes when I have time.

  4. Obviously we all went to the same school! They must be the first thing I ever baked and they were … like rocks, in every way! But my baking has moved on since then, so I shall give them another go, and if I bake them in the morning I shall feel duty bound to test your theory that they still taste good in the afternoon! xCathy

  5. Your daughter sounds very sensible – think of what else she could be requesting! Rock cakes are so good and I find last well into the next day at least. They were the cake I grew up on and my mother always added dates.

    1. Oh believe me Choc she requests lots of other things, I just choose to ignore those. Dates sound good and I am glad that you find they last well into the next day. If I am honest, I, cough, cough, we always eat them long before the next day. I have been known to eat four with a cup of tea. Oops.

  6. The Country Cook

    Thanks Kath for this “blast from the past” many happy memories of cooking and eating them as a child,I made some early this morning ( oh! the joy of an Aga – no preheating required!) but I fear they won’t last till lunch time.

    1. I am so pleased that you made them and are enjoying them. When I wrote this post about my early morning cooking I had forgotten about how easy the Aga makes early morning cooking because you don’t have to wait for the oven to heat up. It is easy to take it for granted.

  7. The Country Cook

    Whist I had the food processor out I blitzed together another batch of: flour,sugar and butter and spice, I have put in large screw top jar in fridge, should keep for a couple of days, then when I want the next batch I will simply add: baking powder, egg,milk and dried fruit, so even quicker to do next time,bet they get eaten just a quick!
    Thanks for your inspiration Kath

  8. The Country Cook

    Kath,I’ve been making rather a lot of these lovely cakes over the last few days and I have been finding I need two eggs and a splash of milk to get a sticky mix,I think my eggs are a medium to large size.
    Eggs do vary!
    I will ask hens to be more consistent 🙂

  9. Pingback: Divvy Up Wednesday 2 - Cakery Cookery

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