Yorkshire Rock Cakes

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Yorkshire Rock Cakes

Yorkshire Rock Cakes. Also known as Fat Rascals, these delicious rock cakes have been made pretty famous by the Iconic Betty's Tea Room in Yorkshire.  

A fat rascal or a rock cake is a delicious baked bread that is a tasty cross between a scone and a bun. Packed full of dried fruits.

From what I can tell the only difference between Yorkshire Rock Cakes and regular rock cakes is the addition of glace cherries and blanched almonds on top.  Some people call them fat rascals, but they're not fat rascals at all.  These are fat rascals (see photo below), and as you can clearly see, they are not the same animal at all.

 Fat Rascals

They are very, very different, not only in looks, but also in texture and ingredients.  You can find my fat rascal recipe here.


Yorkshire Rock Cakes

These are exceedingly good cakes . . . easy to make . . .  buttery . . .  crumbly. Perfect with a hot cuppa.

I have never had a Yorkshire Rock Cake from Betty's but I dare say these are probably even better. Homemade always is.

 Yorkshire Rock Cakes

 Stogged full of dried currants, sultanas (golden raisins), raisins and candied peel . . . with just a touch of mixed spice.  You can find my recipe for mixed spice on my make your own page. You can find that here. It is filled with a variety of make your own herb, spice and baking blends. (You may want to bookmark it!)

It's a warm baking spice  . . .  with cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, cloves and ground coriander.  Very nice.

Yorkshire Rock Cakes

Topped with blanched marcona almonds and a glace cherry, these make a very moreish treat with a nice cold glass of milk or a hot cuppa.  

They make the perfect  Sunday afternoon teatime treat!   If you are feeling especially hedonistic you can split and butter them.   Also very tasty!

Yorkshire Rock Cakes


*Yorkshire Rock Cakes*
Makes 6 large ones

Somewhere between a bun and scone, these are moreishly delicious.   You will want to enjoy these warm with an ice cold glass of milk or a hot drink.  Rock Cakes are said to be Harry Potter's favourite food. 

150g of plain flour (1 cup + 1 1/2 TBS)
150g self raising flour (1 cup plus 1 1/2 TBS)
pinch salt
1 tsp of baking powder
125g of cold unsalted butter, cut into bits (1/2 cup)
100g of golden caster sugar (1/2 cup)
the finely grated zest of both 1 orange and 1 unwaxed lemon
1 tsp mixed spice (see my side bar for the recipe)
150g mixed dried fruit (1 cup)
(this is a mix of fruit containing sultanas, raisins, currants and mixed peel)
1 large free range egg, beaten
4 to 5 TBS milk 

To finish:
1 free range egg yolk beaten with 1 TBS water
6 glace cherries
18 blanched marcona almonds


Yorkshire Rock Cakes

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Line a baking tray with baking parchment.  Set aside.


Sift both flours into a large bowl along with the salt and baking powder.  Drop in the cold butter.  Rub the butter into the flour mixture, using a snapping motion with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine dry bread crumbs.  Stir in the sugar, citrus zests, mixed spice and dried fruit.  Beat together the egg and 4 TBS of the milk.  Add all at once to the mixture and stir in to form a soft dough.  If you need the additional TBS of milk to do this, then add it now.

Yorkshire Rock Cakes

Divide into six equal parts and shape into a ball.  Place each ball onto the prepared baking tray leaving plenty of space in between each.  Gently flatten slightly with the palm of your hand until each are only about 3/4 inch thick.  Brush the top of each with some of the beaten egg yolk/water mix.  Push a glace cherry into the centre of each and then place 3 almonds arouond the centre decoratively .

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until well risen and golden brown.  Remove from the oven.  Leave on the tin for five minutes then scoop off to a wire rack to cool. 

Best served warm from the oven, although they can be frozen and then gently reheated at a later date.  You may also split them and spread them with butter if you are feeling especially hedonistic!

Yorkshire Rock Cakes

Traditionally Tasty!  Bon Appetit!  

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8 comments

  1. I don't mean to be contradictory Marie, but these are definitely fat rascals. They are identical to the ones we had at Betty's in Yorkshire last year! They are delicious and they serve them warm with butter.

    I'm in Ottawa Canada and not sure where you live, but where do you find golden caster sugar? I've never seen it here. I'm originally from Manchester and I only recently saw that you are a Latter day Saint - me too!

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    1. No worries Julie, I know that Betty's calls these Fat Rascals, but technically they are rock cakes. The original fat rascals are nothing like this at all. But maybe in Yorkshire there isn't a distinction between the two??? I don't know! Food is so fabulous like that! I live in the UK, and we have caster sugar, both white and golden in our shops. But you could use turbinado sugar that you have blitzed in the food processor until it is a very fine sugar, but not powdered, or you can use just plain granulated sugar. I am a Latter Day Saint too! How did you end up in Ottawa?

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    2. Hi Marie,
      I wonder if you could expand on your response to Julie. I have blitzed some turbinado sugar to use instead of golden caster sugar. Unfortunately, I had to do it in a blender as I don't have a food processor. So, I've ended up with a rough powder rather than tiny crystals. If I use the sugar by weight rather than by cup measure, does it matter that it's powdery?

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    3. I don't think it matters at all Anonymous if you are measuring by weight. Just make sure you measure all of your ingredients by weight on the same scales and your mixture should be consistent! Hope this helps! xo

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks so much Monique! The Missionaries snaffled them up in no time! xo

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  3. I'm anxious and curious to make "Rock Cakes". Every time I hear that name I always think of my favorite Miss Marple, Joan Hickson. Some of the others, Geraldine McEwan, Julia McKinsey, and some of the older versions have all been OK, but to me there will only ever be one true Miss Marple and that's Joan Hickson. Anyway, in my favorite mystery, "Murder at the Vicarage", Griselda, the vicar's wife tells one of the church ladies she might as well give up on her "rock cake", that Mary takes them a little too literally. I've always assumed she made them as hard as rocks. Rock Cake cookies (biscuits for you) are something that we don't have in the states. That one has never made it across the pond. After watching two seasons of The Great British Show I've been surprised at just how many baking recipes we don't have here in the states that are considered "classics" in England and I would imagine its the same vice versa. So....I'm FINALLY going to get to try "rock cakes" after 30 years of wondering.

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    1. Rock Cakes are NOT cookies Pam! You will be disappointed if you are expecting something like a cookie. They are almost like a scone, except that they are a "Drop" scone and look a bit like rocks, all fruity and spicy. Hence the name Rock Cakes! I do hope you enjoy them! Crack open your tea pot! xo

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