Monday, 30 January 2012

Wholemeal Sultana & Apricot Rock Cakes

Recipe Number One Hundred & Firty Two:  Page 333.

These rock cakes sounded far too healthy to feature in a baking book! As they contain both dried fruit AND wholemeal flour I decided that these little cakes must be good for me. I could eat as many as I liked without a trace of guilt!! I regularly made rock cakes as a child; they were one of my reliable bakes. I always stuck with Mary Berry's recipe but I'd never tried this variation before. As these little cakes do not keep well I hoped that they would be tasty, as we'd obviously have to eat them all in one day!

One of the great things about rock cakes is that they take little time to prepare and cook, so they are ready in next to no time. I glanced at the clock before I commenced baking and estimated I'd be stuffing my face with rock cakes in just over half an hour – how wonderful!

As I collected the self-raising and wholemeal self-raising flour from the shelves I realised that I'd already made a mistake! What I'd thought to be wholemeal was in fact light brown flour. It says on the packet that it is lighter than wholemeal; I hoped it wouldn't make too much difference. I weighed the flours in equal quantities into a bowl, swiftly followed by a good helping of baking powder. The amount of butter required was perhaps a little more than I might have expected. Although it wasn't a great deal it did make me re-evaluate my healthy theory! It’s been a while since I've used the rubbing in method. It is a messy job but I find it to be rather therapeutic. After a minute or two my butter and flour had combined and resembled fine breadcrumbs. Now it was time to add some sweetness in the form of light muscovado sugar. I had to double check the quantity to be sure that I had read it right. The amount was surprisingly small. This meant that I could happily put the rock cakes back to being healthy. Of course, the addition of dried fruit would help to sweeten the mixture even more. Our kitchen scissors had recently gone to scissor heaven and have yet to be replaced. I had to slice the apricots up with a knife. This takes far longer than snipping them with scissors. I didn't seem to have much apricot in the mixing bowl; I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed. At least sultanas would make the rock cakes a bit fruitier. I couldn't resist nicking a few as I measured them into the bowl. They are quite addictive! An egg mixed with a little milk was all that was left to include. I found I required a splash more milk to bring the mixture together. With a couple of teaspoons I heaped mounds of the mixture onto several baking trays. It was tempting to smooth the mixture down into neat piles. However I resisted, as rock cakes are meant to have a rough appearance. I placed the full trays into the oven. They only needed 15 minutes to cook. I was worried about them burning so I stayed close by so that I could peer through the oven door every few minutes. From experience I know that rock cakes can become very dry if left in the oven for just a couple of minutes too long.

I was so pleased with the rock cakes when I extracted them from the oven. They were a light golden brown and looked very appealing. They didn't take long to cool on the rack, so it was soon time for a tasting session! After just one bite I knew that I would be making them again very soon. They were very light and had a slight nuttiness to them thanks to the light brown flour. To be honest, I am glad that I didn't have wholemeal flour as I wonder if it would have made these rock cakes a bit too heavy. The apricots and sultanas offered a welcome sweetness and extra bite. I can't fault these little cakes; we all loved them. Isaac in particular seemed rather fond of them. As they don't contain much sugar I think they make for a reasonably healthy treat.
Yummy rock cakes!


  1. What a lovely 'twist' - so glad you were pleased with the outcome. How come rock cakes are only best on the day they are made? I am just curious; sorry for being dumb (and nosey). I wonder if any other fruity combinations would work. Thank you for yet another good read. Always a pleasure following your blog. Francesca x

  2. Hi Francesca :-) To be honest I'm not sure why they don't keep very well! The mixture doesn't contain much liquid so is a little on the dry side. They are still edible after a day but just not as good. They become dry and crumbly. I'm sure other fruit versions would work well - I expect you are much more imaginative than me! I've used cherries before and they were yum. Thank you for your kind words - means a lot. xx

  3. Sorry Anneliese, I had not seen your comment back in January - I am just reading through some of your blog entries and I came across it. I really enjoy hearing about you baking adventures and you have inspired me many times to bake and try new recipes.
    I hope that Issac had a lovely birthday, no doubt he was delighted with his fantastic cake (!!) and I hope that you are feeling ok and not taking on too much or overdoing things.
    Have a lovely weekend. Francesca x x x