Sunday, 25 November 2018

Mia Bakes: ROCK CAKES!

Rock cakes, also called rock buns, are actually small fruit cake with a rough surface resembling a rock. Originated in the Great Britain, they are a traditional tea time treat. You might jolly well first heard of them through JK Rowling's Harry Potter series as Hagrid's favourite tea time snack to serve the trios, which were more of a rock than a cake, and were so hard that they could break teeth instead of being a lovely treat.

Rock cakes also happens to be one of my mum's favourite pastry-snacks (along with "old-times" butter cakes) and so let's get baking!

To get roughly 10 to 12 small rock cakes, you'll need:

115g all purpose flour
65g unsalted (good quality) butter, chopped and COLD
55g castor sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
90g dried mixed fruit (or you can use sultanas)
1 medium/large egg (mine is 50-55g out of the shell), beaten
1/4 tsp vanilla

Apparently, you can make rock cakes in a few methods, which includes the creaming method whereby you cream your butter and sugar as you would for any cakes, the melted butter method as you would for a soft cookie, or the frozen butter method as you would for a scone. As I'm hoping to get a more crumbly texture as would of a scone, I decided to go for the cold butter method. 

So, in a clean bowl, add in all your dry ingredients (except mixed fruits) and give it a quick whisk to combine. Then, throw in your frozen, chopped butter and cut it into the flour mixture in a mini food processor, or with a pastry cutter, or a simple knife-and-fork method. You may also use your hands (if you do not have hot hands) and rub the butter into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs with a little bit of bigger, pea-sized chunks. 
Then, add in your mixed fruit and give it a quick toss before adding in your beaten egg and vanilla extract. Mix until just combined and you get a slightly stiff, yet still rather moist and spoon-able dough. As different flour will have different hydration level, you may tweak your dough consistency with either some milk (if they're too dry and doesn't come together) or more flour (if they're too wet and not holding their shape). 

Then, spoon your dough evenly onto a parchment lined baking sheet, making sure they're spaced around 2 inches apart. You do not need to smooth our the surfaces, in fact, the more bumpy and 'rocky' your dough looks, the better! These are not called rock cakes for nothing! 
Then, bake them off in an oven pre-heated to 200 degree Celsius for around 15 minutes, or until they turn a lovely golden brown colour. 
Do keep a watchful eye on them to make sure that they do not burn, but you would not want them to be under-baked as well, if not you won't get the lovely slightly crisp surface on the outside.
I personally would prefer a more "dried-out" cakey texture for my rock cakes as if I crave for something more tender and moist, I should just go for scones, right? 

These tasted so good when still warm from the oven, with a crisp surface on the outside and cakey, tender and yet not overly moist texture on the inside. I've already reduced the added sugar level to the bare minimum, so unless you're using more of the dried fruit to add sweetness, I strongly suggest that you do not reduce the amount sugar any further. 

Do let me know if you've tried out this super quick and easy recipe and how these rock cakes has turned out for you!

Till then,
Mia Foo

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