Sunday, 11 March 2012

Tea Time Treats: Rock Cakes and why they...rock!

Rock cakes.

They haven't the most appetizing name, let's be honest.

In fact, if there was one cake that tasted a whole load better than it sounds, the rock cake would be it.

This is despite having a rather illustrious history. They were promoted during WWII by the Ministry of Food, as they required far less sugar, butter and eggs, all rationed, than other bakes.

They've featured in none other than the the best selling books of the last decade. Harry Potter of course; they are one of Mrs Weasley's favourite bakes.

And they are a murder weapon.

Yep, Ernie (aka the Fastest Milkman In the West), featured on The Benny Hill Show in 1970 sadly met his maker during a (bun) fight with the breadman as they both tried to win the affections of Sue at Number 22. Ernie is killed when Two-Ton Ted from Teddington, the evil breadman, aims a Rock Cake at Ernie's heart. And Ernie heads to make deliveries in the great milk round in the sky.

These cakes are heading over to this month's Tea Time Treats table, hosted by the lovely Karen at Lavender and Lovage. Don't forget you have til the 28th March to bake your scones and buns!


Rock Cakes

225g self raising flour
115g butter, softened
50g demerara sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
65g caster sugar
50g raisins
50g sultanas
50g mixed peel
1 egg
A splash or two of milk, if needed

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4
2. Pop the flour and butter into a bowl and, using the tips of your fingers, rub the flour and butter together until the mixtures resembles breadcrumbs
3. Add the sugars, spices and fruits and mix with a wooden spoon
4. Create a well in the centre and add the egg. Bring the mixture together with the spoon to form a soft dough. A splash or two of milk may help bind the mixture if it appears a little dry
5. Using either a tablespoon or your hands, form twelve small mounds or balls of mixture and place on the prepared baking sheets
6. Pop in the oven for 18-20 minutes until golden in colour

Baker's notes...

  • I made one super-sized, pimp-my-rock-cake bun and six small, regular sized ones. Just because I'm greedy like that
  • They are easy-peasy bakes and were the very first bake I learnt to make. That first bite into the crumbly, fruity, spicy bun, warm from the oven is....lush. Even if, as a murder weapon, they belong in a game of Cluedo alongside the revolver and lead piping 


  1. MY favourite Kate - I JUST love rock cakes, and despite their rather "solid" name I also think they ROCK!
    GREAT entry for Tea Time Treats, thanks!

  2. Mmmmm! I love rock cakes, and your large rock cake looks just perfect for one with a cup of tea!

  3. I do love a rock cake. My best friend, who used to live in Kew & was my fellow Maids of Honour worker, used to make the best chocolate rock cakes ever! I do like your pimped up mega rock cake and ill be trying this myself, it's such a good idea.
    Also just to let you know The good old Maids of Honour is still doing a fine trade in cream teas if you fancy a visit!! x

  4. Oh my! I love that Ernie song! I'm so excited that you know it

  5. Oh Wow! My all time favorite, rock cakes! Looks really tempting & yummy! I'm bookmarking this recipe. thanks for sharing! Have a lovely week, Kate! :)

  6. I LOVE rock cakes! My granny used to make them for me and my brother when we were little and they're probably my earliest cake memory ever. I have to stay loyal to my granny's recipe but it's pretty close to yours so I know without a doubt your version is delicious. Yum :-)

  7. rock and roll cakes baby!!!!!!!!!!

  8. I like your thinking Kate, why haven't I made a massive rock bun before?! It would save me making frequent visits to the baking tin (we all know it's impossible to stop at one!)

  9. There's something very retro about rock cakes. My 97 year old great great aunt used to make them!!!

    I have seen the single circular rock cake before, they work very well as triangles.

  10. Hi Kate,
    I've been looking for baking times for a large size rock cake.

    I was thinking of putting mine in a 16" round cake pan. Would this work, or should I just shape it into a round and bake it on a flat cookie sheet? Roughly what size do you make your supersized rock cakes, and assuming it takes longer than the small rock cakes, how long did you bake it for, please? Would I need to lower the temperature of the oven so it doesn't burn or brown too quickly?
    Many thanks , Angela.

    1. My apologies for my delayed reply Angela, thank you for your comment! I made mine the size of an average saucer (approx 6-7 inches). It is very easy to shape onto a flat cookie sheet but I'm sure a cake tin would work too (although it is unlikely to fill a 16 inch one). I'd bake it for 20-25 min and then keep checking as it may need a little longer to become a lovely golden brown in colour. Good luck and happy baking!

  11. No problems, thanks very much for your advice, Kate.. I'm gonna make me a saucer sized rock cake.. Heh heh.. I'm not excited by that thought at all, am I? ;-)


Thank you very much for your comment- I appreciate every single one of them!