Saturday, 1 March 2014

Happy St David's Day: Teisen Lap

St David's Day is celebrated in Wales on the 1st March each year, in honour of Dewi Sant (St David), our patron saint. Little is known about him for certain. Which makes me think he almost certainly slayed the dragon that stands proud on the Welsh flag*. 

You may already be celebrating with a brunch of melting, golden Welsh Rarebit, aka, 'World's Best Cheese on Toast'. Perhaps you're planning a tea of warm Welsh Cakes, lightly spiced and fresh from the griddle.  

Or perhaps you might enjoy a slice of Teisen Lap. 

The exact origins and provenance of Teisen Lap can only be guessed at. Some translate it as 'Plate Cake', baking it on (no prizes for guessing correctly) a plate. Other's refer to it as 'Moist Cake'. This is unquestionably my least favourite description of any cake, working within medicine as I do. And I'm not alone

Teisen Lap is a light, moist cake studded with dried fruit and enriched with sour cream, traditionally leftover from churning butter. An efficient, economising and practical cake, surplus lard and fat was used to add extra richness. Being a sturdy, no-nonsense cake that wouldn't crumble to pieces, it became the sweet snack of choice for labourers, farmworkers and miners. A fancy-pants, delicate, fragile macroon, it most certainly is not.


Teisen Lap

225g self raising flour
1 tsp ground nutmeg
110g caster sugar
110g cold butter, cubed
175g mixed dried fruit
Zest of one lemon
2 large eggs, beaten
150g soured cream

1. Preheat the oven to 150C/230F/Gas Mark 1. Grease and line a 23cm round baking tin
2. Place the flour, nutmeg and sugar in a large mixing bowl and add the butter. Rub in the butter using your thumb and forefingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
3. Stir in the mixed dried fruit, zest, eggs and soured cream
4. Spoon in the prepared tin and bake on the low heat for 1hr 20 min to 1hr 30 min or until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean
5. Allow to cool in the tin for five minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely

Baker's notes...

  • Although traditionally Teisen Lap would have been baked on a plate, unless you have a more traditional dutch oven, a standard round baking tin will do just as well
  • Recipe sound familiar? Yep, it is really rather similar to classic Welsh Cakes. A gigantic, colossal, super-sized Welsh Cake!

* I think this is, sadly, a lie. I should have paid more attention at school.


  1. Happy St David's Day Kate! Beautiful looking cake, I'd definitely go with plate cake over moist cake any day. That word gives me the shudders...

  2. Happy St David's Day! :) This looks delicious

  3. It sounds delicious, just the sort of fruit cake I like. I love moist in cake though, dry cake is a real pet hate of mine and encountered in far too many tea shops. I made crempogau to celebrate with leeks mushrooms and chocolate - luckily it turned out to be rather good! Hope you had an enjoyable day.

  4. Ooh nice, this looks impossible to stop at one slice! I agree on moist - who ever sets out to bake a dry cake?

  5. My Taid always used to bring us Teisen Lap for Sunday tea but I've never tried baking it myself so it's lovely to see here - a slice of nostalgia! I'll have to give it a go to see if it tastes like the one I remember from childhood. Diolch Kate.

  6. It appears I'm not the only baker who objects to the word 'moist' - I see a whole post on its way to explore the entire subject....

  7. That's such a lovely story Katherine, what lovely memories to share- Diolch Yn Fawr Iawn

  8. Great cake... perfect for afternoon tea. Love the name sounds almost oriental instead of Welsh.


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