It’s funny how food can provoke such vivid memories. When it comes to my grandparents on my dad’s side I have two residing memories.
One is of my granpa crouching by the rayburn, with the fire door open, toasting my nanna’s homemade bread on a long fork floating above the warm coals ready for breakfast. We had to stay clear as children (to ensure accidents didn’t happen) so I watched from a distance, excited by the thought of eating the almost sweet, toasted bread. The gentle, smokey smell of the toasted bread filling my nostrils.
The other is of my nanna making welsh cakes. I’m sure most welsh people of a certain age will have some associations of childhood and welsh cakes. Like my memory of my granpa, I can still see my nanna standing in the far corner of the kitchen, opposite the back door and over the heated cast iron griddle on top of the stove. She was patiently heating the welsh cake batter until each side was slightly golden, ready for us to enjoy. She would always make some apology as to why they weren’t as good as they usually are. To me, they always tasted good.
Both have passed away now, but in memory of them and in celebration of St David’s day I would like to share with you the gluten-free, vegan version of these popular welsh cakes. I originally found the vegan recipe for the welsh cakes on The Gluttonous Vegan’s blog, and naturally I had to adapt these to be gluten-free so that I could once again enjoy them. They don’t taste quite the same as I remember (no surprise with the amount of substitutions made and no cast iron griddle) but they’re still great. Plus, I’d rather retain the memory of how nanna’s welsh cakes tasted in my mind.
Welsh Cakes (makes 16 -20 cakes)
9 oz Dove’s Farm Gluten-free White Flour Blend
1 tsp baking powder
3 1/2 oz dairy-free margarine
3 oz golden caster sugar
2 oz raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
Soya milk (as needed)
Sieve the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl. Add the margarine and rub between your fingers until the mix resembles fine bread crumbs. Stir in the sugar and the raisins. Little by little add the soya milk until the ingredients form a dough that is slightly wetter than cookie dough. Refridgerate the batter for an hour (or put in the freezer for half an hour).
Once the time is up, roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until the dough is about 1cm thick. Cut out into shapes, traditionally the batter is cut into circles. Heat a heavy-based, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Once heated “fry” the cakes on each side until slightly golden.
Be careful not to overheat the cakes as they will become chewy, rather than firm on the outside, and soft and light on the inside. These can be served as is, sprinkled with icing sugar or enjoyed with cream and jam (similar to how you would enjoy english scones). These are sweet enough on their own so I just enjoyed one (or three) with a cup of tea.