Rock cakes

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Cakes River Cottage HandbookHard or soft, igneous or indigenous, rock cakes are archetypal of church fêtes and school bazaars. Often and unfairly outdone by the more louche and luscious-looking chocolate brownie, they’re the plain Janes of the station buffet. But don’t judge a book by its cover freshly made rock cakes are quite delightful. Their name derives not from their texture but from their rather craggy appearance; they should not be rock hard, but soft and crumbly inside with a golden baked exterior. Using everyday store-cupboard ingredients, they are quick and easy to make, ideal for impromptu picnics and unexpected teatime visitors.

  • Yield: 8 Servings


  • 100 g self-raising white flour
  • 100 g self-raising wholemeal flour
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 100 g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 75 g light soft brown sugar
  • 175 g raisins
  • 1 Unwaxed orange finely grated zest
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Large baking sheet, lightly greased
How to Make It
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas mark 5. Sift the flours and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and lightly rub into the flour, using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine, even breadcrumbs. Mix in the brown sugar, raisins and orange zest, tossing together until evenly mixed.
  2. Add the beaten egg and use a fork to bring the mix together into a soft, crumbly dough. It may be necessary to knead a little by hand but keep the dough light and open-textured so it can form some good outcrops.
  3. Divide the mixture into 8 pieces, shape into irregular balls and place well apart on the greased baking sheet. Bake for 15–20 minutes, until golden and firm to the touch. Leave for 5–10 minutes before removing with a palette knife to a wire rack to cool.
  4. Rock cakes will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container but they are definitely best eaten fresh.

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