Ah, Welsh cakes. A taste from home and a treat that I always make every year for March 1st to commemorate St David’s Day. I am originally from Wales and love to make traditional Welsh cakes throughout the year and thought I would share this easy dairy free recipe with you. For as long as I can remember, I have always eaten Welsh cakes. I used to enjoy weekly trips to the local market to buy some from the Welsh cake stall. They are flaky, melt in the mouth and just bring back so many memories of home. Whenever we go back to visit family, we always take the kids to buy proper Welsh cakes from a market stall so they can experience that.
Here are a few photos from some of our trips back to Wales. Even though our kids were born in Canada, it is important to us that they grow up embracing their Welsh heritage. We always check out a few ‘touristy’ places, like the castles and traditional Welsh stores. They even have Tim Hortons in Wales so you can find a little bit of Canada there. See if you can pronounce the longest place name in the sign above The Wales Centre! It’s definitely a bit of a mouthful and I can just about pronounce it properly.
The History of Welsh Cakes
Welsh cakes are also known as pice bach, picau ar y maen, or bakestones and are usually cooked either on a griddle or bakestone (hence the name bakestone). It is thought that they originated in the 19th century and they have remained a staple in Welsh culture ever since, with recipes being handed down through generations. They are so delicious when they are fresh off the griddle and dusted with sugar. I also often leave out the sultanas, cut them in half and spread jam on them. These are more commonly known as jam splits which I’ll talk about further down this page. You seriously need to try them.
Ingredients and substitutions
To ensure that this recipe is dairy free, I am using plant based butter and milk in place of dairy. Check out my ingredient substitutions to see how you can swap out ingredients to suit your own dietary requirements.
I always weigh my ingredients rather than use cup measures. This ensures accuracy for every recipe and perfect results every time. I will be adding a more detailed post on this method of weighing soon as well as my handy conversion guide for US cup measurements.
Self Raising Flour: I am using self raising flour in the Welsh cakes as it helps to create a lighter texture. As the flour already contains baking powder, it will create some rise in our cakes when they bake. I will be sharing a more detailed post on flour on my website soon. In the meantime, check out this handy video to learn how to make your own self raising flour: how to make self raising flour
Sugar: I’m using white sugar in the Welsh cakes. If you want a slightly caramelly undertone, you could sub with golden or light brown sugar. You can also substitute with cinnamon sugar to change the flavour profile. Once the Welsh cakes are baked, toss them in white sugar.
Salt: Additional salt is also added to balance out the sugar and enhance the flavours.
Raisins: Dried fruit is an integral part of traditional Welsh cakes. I am using raisins instead of sultanas but you can substitute with currants or another dried fruit. Ensure that the fruit is bite sized.
Butter: I am using unsalted plant based room temperature butter to add fat to the cake. You can substitute with a light oil such as canola or coconut oil if you prefer or regular unsalted butter if you’re not dairy free.
Egg: eggs add richness and colour and are the main binding agent for this recipe. I usually use large eggs in my baking, which are equivalent to approximately 50g once removed from their shell. You can also use a medium egg in this recipe. If you are vegan, feel free to sub with your favourite egg substitute. 50 grams of apple sauce would work well in this recipe.
Plant Based Milk: My preference is to use almond milk in this recipe as the creaminess blends perfectly with the remaining ingredients and helps to elevate the overall flavour of the Welsh cakes. Feel free to sub with your preferred milk.
How to Make Dairy Free Welsh Cakes
Start by stirring the flour and salt together in a bowl then rubbing in the butter until it forms a breadcrumb texture. The purpose of rubbing in the butter is to ensure that no lumps remain and to create a lighter dough. You can make Welsh cakes with a mixer but I was always taught to make them by hand so that you can feel the consistency of the dough. And seen as this is a traditional recipe, I wanted to keep the method authentic as well.
Next, add in the sugar and raisins (or sultanas) and mix them by hand to ensure they are evenly distributed.
And finally, we will start adding in our wet ingredients. Make a well in the centre of the bowl then add the plant based milk and egg.
I usually start mixing it with a spatula and then finish working the dough with my hands. And yes, your hands will get messy in this process but once your dough starts to form, it will lose the stickiness and clean itself off of your hands.
Cutting the dough
To ensure that our Welsh cakes are the same size, I like to use guide sticks to keep the rolling pin level. On a floured surface, knead your dough for a couple of turns and then roll out with your rolling pin. The guide sticks will prevent you from rolling the dough too thin. The paint stirrers that I am using here are 7mm or 1/4 inch thick and the best thing about them is that they are free from your hardware store (check out the paint section). You can read more about this method in my sugar cookie recipe or check out my Welsh cakes bake along video for more details.
Cut out the Welsh cakes with a 2.5 inch scalloped edge cutter. I think mini ones are really cute but traditionally, Welsh cakes are around 2.5 inches in size. Don’t worry if some of the raisins are sticking out the sides of the Welsh cakes. You can either pull them out or leave them. They won’t burn.
Baking the Dairy Free Welsh Cakes
My preference is to use an electric griddle to bake my Welsh cakes but you can absolutely make them in a pan instead. Just ensure that your pan has a flat surface so that they will bake evenly. Start by lightly spraying the surface with some oil and then add the Welsh cakes, making sure to not overcrowd the surface. This recipe makes 16 Welsh cakes and you should be able to fit them all on the griddle at the same time. If you are using a pan, I recommend baking no more than 4 at a time. I tend to set my griddle to 325F. If the temperature is too hot, they will burn on the outside but still be raw in the middle.
Welsh cakes take roughly 3 to 4 minutes to bake on each side. Once the first side is lightly golden, flip them over with a spatula. A great tip is to look at the sides of the Welsh cakes. They are thoroughly baked once the sides are no longer translucent.
And to finish them off, toss in white sugar as soon as they come off the griddle.
Look at that wonderful light and flaky texture inside. These are seriously so good when they are warm off the griddle and don’t last too long in our house. If you want to jazz up your Welsh cakes, split them in half and spread some gorgeous jam on them. This version is called jam splits and they are honestly my favourite. You can find my easy 2 ingredient jam recipe here.
This recipe makes roughly 16 2.5 inch Welsh cakes.
Each Welsh cake takes roughly 3 minutes per side to bake. The overall baking time for this batch will be dependent on the size of your griddle (or pan). The larger the cooking area, the quicker the batch will take to bake. I set my griddle to 325°F. If you are using a pan, keep an eye on them after a few minutes to avoid burning.
Best enjoyed fresh off the griddle and tossed in white sugar. Traditional Welsh cakes contain raisins or sultanas but you can sub them with currants or other dried fruit. See the ingredients and substitution section above for other flavour ideas.
Store in an airtight container for 3 days at room temperature.
Dairy Free Welsh Cakes
Let’s have a close-up look at these delicious morsels of Welshness. If you have never tried them before, I am sure you will love the ease of making them and how wonderful they taste. Best enjoyed warm with a nice cup of tea. I really hope this has inspired you to try traditional dairy free Welsh cakes. Diolch! (that’s Welsh for thanks!)
If you like fruity desserts, check out my zesty lemon drizzle muffins here.
Dairy Free Welsh Cakes
- Scalloped Circle Cutter 2.5 inches
- Bowl For sugar dusting
- Spray oil
- 225 grams Self Raising Flour
- 100 grams Plant Based Butter (unsalted) (At room temperature)
- 50 grams White Sugar
- 2 tbsp Plant Based Milk
- 1 Egg (large – see note)
- 50 grams Raisins (See note)
- pinch Salt
- Extra flour for dusting your surface
- Extra sugar for dusting the welsh cakes
- To your mixing bowl, add salt, self raising flour and butter.
- Stir with a spatula then mix with your hands until it resembles breadcrumbs. There should be no lumps of butter remaining.
- Add in the white sugar and raisins and mix in with your hands.
- Make a well in the centre and add in the milk and egg. Stir with a spatula until combined. Continue to mix with your hands until a dough forms. The dough is ready when it stops sticking to the bowl.
- Flour your work surface and knead your dough on it to ensure all of the raisins are incorporated.
- Using a rolling pin and guide sticks, roll out your dough. Add flour if it becomes too sticky.
- Cut out the Welsh cakes and set aside on parchment paper. Continue rolling and cutting until all of the dough has been used.
- Bake on a griddle for 3-4 minutes per side. The sides of the Welsh cakes will firm up as they bake and become less translucent.
- Immediately toss in sugar and eat while warm.
- This recipe makes roughly 16 2.5 inch Welsh cakes.
- I usually use large eggs in my baking, which are equivalent to approximately 50g once removed from their shell. You can also use a medium egg in this recipe. Sub with 50g apple sauce for an egg-free option.
- Each Welsh cake takes roughly 3 minutes per side to bake. The overall baking time for this batch will be dependent on the size of your griddle (or pan). The larger the cooking area, the quicker the batch will take to bake. I set my griddle to 325°F. If you are using a pan, keep an eye on them after a few minutes to avoid burning.
- Best enjoyed fresh off the griddle and tossed in white sugar. See the full recipe post for other flavour ideas.
- Traditional Welsh cakes contain raisins or sultanas but you can sub them with currants or other dried fruit.
- Store in an airtight container for 3 days at room temperature.
- I always weigh my ingredients rather than use cup measures. This ensures accuracy for every recipe and perfect results every time. I will be adding a more detailed post on this method of weighing soon as well as my handy conversion guide for US cup measurements.