Sunday, 4 November 2012

Bonfire Bakes: Fat Rascals

Is it a scone? Is it a Bun? Is it a rock cake?

No, its a Fat Rascal!

Along with roly-poly pudding, surely the name of this Yorkshire classic is the best in baking?

The Betty's recipe for Fat Rascals, arguably the best, is a very closely guarded secret. Not even the combined efforts of James Bond, Sherlock Holmes and Mary Berry could possibly guess the original recipe.

I've taken on this challenge however! With just a little help from Google and many a consumption of the Betty's version over the years. 

This is what they should look like.

But, the million dollar question (or indeed the £1.45 question, as that is how much they currently retail at) is, did it taste like the real thing?

It was a pretty good homemade version was the verdict. 

This also makes a rather tasty Bonfire snack. Really, this weekend, while out and about celebrating Guy Fawkes, Sparklers and Catherine Wheels all you really need is several a warm inner layer, a steaming mug of hot chocolate and a portable, sturdy snack. 

Happy Bonfire Night!

Fat Rascals

125g plain flour
125g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g unsalted butter, softened
85g caster sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grounded nutmeg
120g mixed dried fruit
60g mixed peel
Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
1 egg
80ml soured cream or double cream
To decorate: 1 beaten egg, glacĂ© cherries and blanched whole almonds to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/400F/Gas 6. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper
2. Sieve the flours into a nice large bowl and stir in the baking powder
3. Dice the softened butter and rub into the flours with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
4. Add the sugar, orange zest, lemon zest, spices, dried fruit, peel and mix until well combined
5. Stir in the cream and the beaten egg until the mixtures comes together as a dough. Using your hands form six rascals from the dough and place on the baking tray
6. To decorate: Brush the second beaten egg over the top of the rascals and top with the glacĂ© cherries and blanched almonds.
7. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden-brown

Baker's notes...
  • Do keep a close eye on the rascals in the last few minutes of baking as they can singe very easily
  • I spent one whole Christmas season working in Bettys. I often think of it as the highlight of my career thus far
  • These are delicious warm from the oven but keep in an airtight container for a day or two


  1. I agree, such a great name for a bake. They look pretty close to the 'real deal' to me.

  2. I saw Fat Rascals at Betty's when I went to York a month ago. Yours look pretty close!

  3. LOVELY! I have a Fat Rascals recipe on my blog that is REMARKABLY similar to their them! I used to work up Stonegate and always used to pop down for a Fat Rascal in my break.....did you see mine Kate? They are here:
    I would love to know what you think of them!
    Karen xxx

  4. I've never had a Fat Rascal but yours look great! :-) I have however been to Betty's once but didn't try one then and I don't think I'll be back for a perhaps I'll make my own using your recipe!

  5. Got to be one of the best names ever for a cake.....fat rascal. I have never had one but think they look absolutely delicious. Perfect portable sweet treat for this cold weather!

  6. I've never tried a fat rascal, they sound like a super pimped up rock cake (which I love) Definitely a perfect bonfire night treat.

  7. Yours look exactly the same as the Betty's link - wonderful! And as for the name, you're right, it has to be one of the best baked goods out there :-)

  8. I love the name. I've never tried one but would love to try one of yours!

  9. I love almonds and think that its tasty

  10. They definitely look like the real thing! I had my first fat rascal this year on a trip to Harrogate - definitely the best named thing in baking I reckon!

  11. Hello!

    I was looking for a Fat Rascal recipe similar to Bettys and came across yours. I'm not sure what "mixed peel" is, I thought it was zest but you have that listed separate from the peel. Can you describe it for me? (I live in the U.S. so I'm not sure if I'll be able to find it in the stores.) I hope to hear from you! Thank you, Margo

    1. Hi Margo! Thank you for your comment. Mixed peel is a mixture of orange and lemon peel that has been candied to preserve it - the peel is soaked in sugar syrup until the sugar replaces the moisture in the peel to extend its keeping qualities. It is often used in cakes, biscuits and puddings. It is possible to make your own though and if you were to google 'Mixed Peel recipes' plenty of ideas come up. The zest is scraped from the outer layer of a citrus fruit such as a lemon or orange. All the best and please don't hesitate to email for further details. Happy baking! x

  12. Thank you so much! Margo


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