I love baking, sometimes I'm in the mood to try something new, or a little sophisticated. Other times all I want is something that is easy to make, and evokes a comforting nostalgia of childhood. At these times, one of my go-to treats is the Rock Cake. Don't let the name fool you, these tasty little buns are light and fluffy, the name comes from their craggy, rough appearance.
They are simple to make, contain less refined sugar than a lot of cakes and cookies (dried fruit adds sweetness and texture) and more economical than a lot of home made baked goods, so a great one to do with kids.
Traditionally, they're made with currants, but I used sultanas because that's what I had to hand, and I added some chopped glace cherries for a colourful, retro twist, because we all remember, as kids, that the best treats came with cherries.
Here's how to make them:
First, make sure you have a shelf in the middle of your oven, and preheat to 180c (350f). Get out a cookie sheet, and a mixing bowl.
8 oz (2 cups) cake flour
4 oz butter
2 oz superfine sugar
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
2 oz sultanas or raisins
2 oz glace cherries (quartered)
1 large egg (beaten)
2-3 tbsps milk
Place the flour, sugar, butter, salt, and cinnamon in the mixing bowl, and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mix looks like fine breadcrumbs.
Add the dried fruit, and toss mix a couple of times with your hands to evenly distribute.
Break the egg into a cup, and beat lightly, add to the mixing bowl and stir.
Add the milk, a tbsp at a time, until you have a stiff mixture, with no dry bits.
Dollop mixture by the tablespoon onto your cookie sheet, space slightly apart.
Put in the oven, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden.
Remove and dredge lightly with granulated sugar (optional), allow to cool.
These are delicious warm or cold. They freeze well, but otherwise are best eaten on the day they're made. At a push, they'll keep in an airtight container for a day or 2.
That's it. They're really that simple. Measure, rub, stir, dollop, bake. Easy. Give them a try.