I don’t remember the last time I ate a rock cake. I do remember having them as a child, more than likely store bought as I can’t recall anybody making them for me. As a kid who grew up on Welsh cakes I always thought these were sort of similar. I liked the fact that they were lumpy and quite firm on the outside, while being soft inside. To me, it was just like a bigger, less neat version. I rediscovered them recently and so wanted to create my own vegan version, which is very easy to do now that we have these great vegan butters available everywhere. These vegan rock cakes with glace cherries and apricots have a very buttery taste and are jam-packed with fruit, perfectly sweet and with just a tiny hint of salt for balance. They are also great fun to make with the kids. Nothing has to be exact, you just mix it together and ball little clumps of it onto a baking tray.
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Traditionally, rock cakes have mixed dried fruit, but I’ve gone specifically for raisins, glace cherries and chopped, dried apricots. You can use a bag of dried fruit instead if you have some already to hand, or you can explore individual items as I have.
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What you will need to make these vegan rock cakes with glace cherries and apricots.
Self-Raising and Plain Flour:
I have decided to use both self-raising and plain flour in this recipe, with the addition of baking powder and bicarbonate of soda to give them a good rise. Use 50 percent of each flour and they’ll work out fine.
Raisins, Glace Cherries and Dried Apricots:
As I’ve already stated, you can simply go for a bag of dried, mixed fruit, or you can put in individual items. One thing I would certainly do, depending on the quality of the product, is lay them out on a tray and go through them very carefully. Remove any stalks or anything else you don’t want to be crunching on. The quality of your cakes will vastly improve by making this extra 10 minutes of effort, I promise.
There are so many vegan block butters available now and I highly recommend you use them for this recipe rather than vegan margarine, as you’ll definitely notice the difference in the taste. Vegan block butters are available now in nearly all supermarkets.
Vegan Rock Cakes with Glace Cherries and Apricots
- 250 g self-raising flour
- 250 g plain flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 175 g golden caster sugar
- 150 g vegan butter cut into cubes
- 130 g raisins roughly chopped if they are large
- 100 g glace cherries roughly chopped
- 65 g dried chopped apricots
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 100 ml vegan cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to gas 4/180C/350F.
- Put the two flours, baking powder, bicarb of soda, salt, sugar and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl. Now add the butter cubes and run between your fingers, squeezing the butter into the flour, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs (this takes about 5 minutes).
- Now add the dried fruit and the lemon zest and mix in with a spoon or table knife.
- Pour in the cream and the vanilla extract and give it another mix. Bring it all together with your hands but don’t knead it. You want it to be clumpy and not a smooth dough.
- Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and spoon out balls of the dough onto the tray. You want them to be about golf ball size. You are essentially forming clumps of dough onto the tray. Give each one a little press into a loose ball, just enough so that it all stays together and leave space in between them as they will spread out (you will have to do this in 2 batches, depending on the size of your tray).
- Once your first tray is full place it in the middle of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until they are risen and slightly browned. Allow them to rest for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to properly cool. Repeat with the second batch and serve when they are cold and set.
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