Rock Cakes (or Rock Buns, depending on your region of choice) are a pretty traditional British teatime treat. They don’t require many ingredients and can be as simple or fancy as you like. Grab a mixing bowl – these will be out of the oven before you know it.
I don’t profess to know the history of the Rock Cake, other than it was a popular bake during wartime. It’s a cake that can be made as rich or as mean as you like, though be warned: you’ll only get out as much as you put in. If you make it in a miserly fashion, the result you’ll end up with will be comparably lacklustre.
This recipe came from my Nan. I don’t know where she got it from, but it works for me and – hopefully – you’ll enjoy it too. Texture and effort wise, it sits somewhere between a Scone and a Raspberry Bun.
It’s a simple as mixing self raising flour and sugar together, rubbing in butter and adding a bunch of mix ins. Bind it all up with egg and milk, before putting balls of dough onto a baking tray. Top them with sugar before popping them in the oven and in about fifteen minutes you’ll have a hot, sweet, fluffy and delightfully crusted treat in your hand.
The recipe here will be a little vague. That’s on purpose, because the only limit with a Rock Cake is your imagination.
Take this post for example; there are four different versions of Rock Cakes pictured.
In the main you’ll be looking at Chocolate Orange Rock Cakes, made with 100g of Green & Blacks Milk Chocolate and a good handful of candied orange pieces.
The candied orange I used came from Germany, as usually only Mixed Peel is available in UK supermarkets (that’s a blend of orange and lemon). Candied Orange can be found online, however.
There’s also a version filled with sultanas and spiced with cinnamon, topped with cinnamon sugar. This is perhaps the closest version to a traditional Rock Cake, which is often made with currants, mixed peel and mixed spice.
The cakes that started this baking spree off were Date, Orange and Cinnamon.
Then there’s the White Chocolate and Glacé Cherry flavour.
The cherries were left over from Christmas cake making, so it just goes to show you should never throw anything away if there’s just a little of it left. Rock Cakes are the perfect way to dispose of fruity chocolatey odds and ends.
So what are the rules? Just use 100g-120g of whatever combination of add ins you like. Anything with chocolate in it is bound to be a winner. Especially if the cakes are consumed when they’re still warm from the oven!
Finally, Rock Cakes will keep a day or so in a sealed tupperware container, but they’re best eaten within a few hours of being made. They don’t contain much fat, so their lifespan is short. Treat them like a scone and if you feel they’ve gone a little stale, gently heat them up in the oven to refresh the texture.
Easy Rock Cakes
This traditional British teatime treat take less than thirty minutes to make from start to finish. Rock Cakes are very versatile and can be flavoured with any combination of mix ins and spices you like – so go ahead, get creative in the kitchen!
Course: Sweet Treat
- 225 g Self Raising Flour
- 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 50 g Caster Sugar
- 75 g Butter, roughly chopped into pieces
- 100-120 g Chosen Mix Ins – Dried Fruit and/or Chocolate chunks
- 1 tsp Chosen Spices – Mixed Spice, Cinnamon etc. (Optional)
- 1 Medium Egg, Beaten
- 60 ml Milk
- 4 tbsp Caster Sugar or Flavoured Sugar (i.e. Cinnamon)
- Pre-heat a fan assisted oven to 170 C (340 F) or standard oven to 190 C (375 F). Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Mix the self raising flour, baking powder and caster sugar in a bowl.
- Add the butter to the flour. Gently toss to coat. Then, as though making pastry, lightly and briskly rub the fat into the flour using your fingertips.
- Add your chosen mix ins and spices, mixing thoroughly into the flour so that they’re well incorporated and the flour is preventing any sticky fruit chunks from sticking together.
- Beat the egg together with the milk. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour the liquid in. Using a rounded knife, cut the dry ingredients into the wet and gently but firmly bring the dough together.
- Divide the dough into seven pieces, roughly forming each into a ball. Place them on the prepared baking tray, spaced well apart. Top each piece of dough with a heavy sprinkling of sugar.
- Bake the Rock Cakes for around 15-18 minutes, until they’re just going golden and are cooked through. Remove them from the baking tray immediately to a wire rack. These are best served still warm from the oven, with a good cup of tea.