Sunday afternoon tea and rock cakes were my mother's 'go to' when visitors dropped by. I remember eating them as a child, but had pretty much forgotten about them until I recently bought a book called Eating for Victory. The book is a collection of pamphlets distributed by the Ministry of Food during the Second World War in the United Kingdom and contains recipes to help people cope with the food rations of the time. Frugal food, if you wish. Rock cakes are promoted as an alternative to regular cakes as they use fewer eggs and less sugar. They were also sometimes bulked up with oatmeal.
This small, hard fruit cake with a rough surface resembles a rock, hence the name. They really are delicious even with a glass of sherry.
375 ml (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour
60 ml (1/4 cup) sugar
5 ml (1 tsp) baking powder
125 ml (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
250 ml (1 cup) raisins
15 ml (1 tbsp) milk
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
2. Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder in a bowl and rub in the cubed butter until the mixture looks like bread crumbs, then mix in the raisins.
3. In a clean bowl, beat the egg and milk together with the vanilla extract.
4. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until the mixture just comes together as a thick, lumpy dough.
5. Add a teaspoon more milk if needed to make the mixture stick together.
6. Place golf ball-sized spoons of the mixture onto the prepared baking tray.
7. Leave space between them as they will flatten and spread out to double their size during baking.
8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden-brown.
9. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for a couple of minutes then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool.