Traditional Rock Cakes Recipe

You might have heard of Rock Buns or Rock Cakes because they were a common treat as a child, or you might have heard of them because they are a favourite of Hagrid and feature no less than three times in Harry Potter.

Either way, these delicious and simple little scone-like cakes are a recipe that we’re excited to share!

Traditional Rock Buns Recipe - British Rock Buns

The origin of Rock Cakes is somewhat elusive. They’re definitely British in origin, but where, when, and how exactly they came to be is something that doesn’t seem to be well-known.

Rock Buns or Rock Cakes are a popular tea-time treat and seem to have been around since at least Victorian times. They were also actively promoted by the Ministry of Food during WWII thanks to most Rock Cake recipes using fewer eggs and sugar than a traditional cake.

What’s with the name? Well, they’re said to resemble a small rock, as they’re rough in shape. But don’t let that put you off!

Traditional Rock Buns Recipe - British Rock Buns

Rock Buns or Cakes are light and crumbly and a bit like scones, with the process of making them starting off in a very similar way.

The good thing is they also use ingredients that we tend to have in the cupboard already or can easily substitute, so they’re an easy one to whip up on a whim.

Rock Cakes are best eaten warm straight from the oven, and don’t need anything additional, like jam or cream. You can eat them for the next day or two if they’re kept in an airtight container.

Although apparently Hagrid baked them rather too long and kept them for a week… which would definitely make them rock hard!

Most recipes have a combination of flour, sugar, butter, egg, milk, and then mixed dried fruit that could include currants, raisins, and peel. Some also have a pinch of nutmeg or mixed spice, although we omitted that from ours.

This recipe is such a classic and we’re glad to add it to our list alongside other traditional favourites like Old School Cake, Cornflake Tart, and Beef Olives!

Pin for later!

Traditional Rock Buns Recipe - British Rock Cakes Recipe

Things you’ll need to make Rock Cakes

  • Large Bowl
  • Sifter
  • Baking Tray
  • Wooden or metal spoon for mixing
  • Large tablespoon or two forks for arranging on the baking tray
Traditional Rock Buns Recipe - British Rock Buns

Ingredients for Rock Cakes

  • 250g (1.5 Cups) Self Raising Flour
  • 100g (3oz) Butter
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 50g (0.5 Cup) Granulated Sugar
  • 150g (1 Cup) Mixed Dried Fruit (Raisins/Currants/Peel)
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1-2 tbsp Milk
  • 1 tsp Mixed Spice* optional

Mixed Spice

Mixed Spice in the UK is similar to Pumpkin Spice in the United States, with cinnamon being the most dominant flavour, followed by nutmeg and allspice. It is a nice addition to a Rock Cakes recipe but can also be omitted if you’re not a fan.

Traditional Rock Buns Recipe - British Rock Buns

How to make Rock Cakes – Step by step method

Preheat the oven to 190C/160C Fan or 370F/320F Fan.

Grease a baking tray with butter or use baking paper.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl.

Cut the butter into cubes and then rub it into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. It’s easiest to do this if it’s cold, but not too hard. If it’s really hard you can grate the butter in then rub. Like scones, you should handle as little as you can so the heat from your hands doesn’t melt the butter.

Stir in the fruit and sugar, and mixed spice, if using.

Beat together the egg and 1 tbsp of milk and add to the mixture. If it’s too dry you can add the other tbsp of milk. It should be a stiff dough.

To put on the baking tray either drop a heaped tablespoon of the mixture from a spoon or use two forks to shake into a rough ball and put on the tray.

Bake 12-15 minutes until they start to turn pale golden brown at the rough edges.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack when they’re cool enough to touch. You can sprinkle with a little sugar before they are fully cool if you like, but we think they’re great as they are.

Enjoy! They are best eaten while still a little warm or within the next day or so.

Traditional Rock Buns Recipe - British Rock Buns

Variations

Mixed Dried Fruit

We like to use Mixed Dried Fruit which comes in a bag from the supermarket with a mixture of raisins, currants and fruit peel. However, you could just use raisins or currants, or whatever you like really!

Chocolate Rock Cakes

It’s also possible to make Chocolate Rock Cakes by replacing 30g (1/4 cup) of flour with cocoa and the mixed peal with small chocolate chips. You could also just replace the mixed fruit with chocolate chips if you want to make with kids and they’re keener on those!

Traditional Rock Buns Recipe - British Rock Buns

How long do Rock Cakes last?

Rock Cakes are definitely best eaten warm from the oven but if you want to keep them then you can put them in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

You can also store them in the freezer for up to 3 months, preferably wrapped in foil and in a ziplock bag. Defrost in the fridge overnight or reheat at a low oven temperature.

How are Rock Cakes different to Scones?

Rock Cake or Rock Bun dough is stiffer than Scone dough and is handled a bit more. Rock Cakes are smaller and dropped onto the baking tray by the tablespoon or formed roughly with two forks, whereas scones are rolled/patted out and cut into shape.

Yield: 12

Traditional Rock Cake Recipe

Traditional Rock Buns Recipe

Rock Cakes are British in origin, but where, when, and how exactly they came to be is something that doesn’t seem to be well-known.

They’re a popular tea-time treat, and seem to have been around since at least Victorian times. They were also actively promoted by the Ministry of Food during WWII thanks to most Rock Cake recipes using fewer eggs and sugar than a traditional cake.

What’s with the name? Well, they’re said to resemble a small rock, as they’re rough in shape. But don’t let that put you off!

Rock Buns or Cakes are light and crumbly and a bit like scones, with the process of making them starting off in a very similar way.

The good thing is they also use ingredients that we tend to have in the cupboard already or can easily substitute, so they’re an easy one to whip up on a whim.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 250g (1.5 Cups) Self Raising Flour
  • 100g (3oz) Butter
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 50g (0.5 Cup) Granulated Sugar
  • 150g (1 Cup) Mixed Dried Fruit (Raisins/Currants/Peel)
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1-2 tbsp Milk
  • 1 tsp Mixed Spice* optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/160C Fan or 370F/320F Fan.
  2. Grease a baking tray with butter or use baking paper.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl.
  4. Cut the butter into cubes and then rub it into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. It’s easiest to do this if it’s cold, but not too hard. If it’s really hard you can grate the butter in then rub. Like scones, you should handle as little as you can so the heat from your hands doesn’t melt the butter.
  5. Stir in the fruit and sugar, and mixed spice, if using.
  6. Beat together the egg and 1 tbsp of milk and add to the mixture. If it’s too dry you can add the other tbsp of milk. It should be a stiff dough.
  7. To put on the baking tray either drop a heaped tablespoon of the mixture from a spoon or use two forks to shake into a rough ball and put on the tray.
  8. Bake 12-15 minutes until they start to turn pale golden brown at the rough edges.
  9. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack when they’re cool enough to touch. You can sprinkle with a little sugar before they are fully cool if you like, but we think they’re great as they are.
  10. Enjoy! They are best eaten while still a little warm or within the next day or so.

Notes

Mixed Spice

Mixed Spice in the UK is similar to Pumpkin Spice is the United States, with cinnamon being the most dominant flavour, followed by nutmeg and allspice. It is a nice addition to a Rock Cakes recipe but can also be omitted if you’re not a fan.

Mixed Dried Fruit

We like to use Mixed Dried Fruit which comes in a bag from the supermarket with a mixture of raisins, currants and fruit peel. However, you could just use raisins or currants, or whatever you like really!

Chocolate Rock Cakes

It’s also possible to make Chocolate Rock Cakes by replacing 30g (1/4 cup) of flour with cocoa and the mixed peal with small chocolate chips. You could also just replace the mixed fruit with chocolate chips if you want to make with kids and they’re keener on those!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 188Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 393mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 2gSugar: 11gProtein: 3g

This information is an indication only.

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1 thought on “Traditional Rock Cakes Recipe”

  1. Penzey’s Spice in the US has a couple of very nice mixed spice combinations. I’ve used the cake ones and love the baking one. They have shops around the country, and you can order online.

    Reply

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