Vegan Rock cakes recipe. Rock cakes are little cakes for the tin that last for about a week, or however long your family can resist them! My grandma made them for many, many years, seemingly without using a recipe, just eyeballing the ingredients until the dough felt "right" and then dolloping it out on baking sheets.
You may have encountered Rock cakes in cookery classes at school, where some of the first things you learned to cook were cupcakes, buns or rock cakes, their simplicity and almost foolproofness making them perfect for indelicate little hands to make.
But What Are Rock Cakes?
Rock cakes are very similar to a scone in both taste and texture, sweetened, flakey, slightly crumbly, buttery cakes, studded with raisins and dropped in dollops onto your baking sheet. That's where the difference is between scones and Rock cakes (also called Rock Buns): Scone dough is rolled out and rounds are stamped out using cutters, giving a uniform shape that is perfect for splitting and filling with jam and cream.
Mrs Beeton has a recipe for them in her classic Book of Household Management, so one would assume that the recipe is actually from further back than that.
In fact, they became extremely popular during the second world war as a cheaper treat, the traditional recipe only uses one egg (which I've replaced here with egg replacer), and little sugar, relying instead on dried fruit to add sweetness. My recipe does use a little more sugar because I prefer them on the sweeter side, but feel free to halve the sugar quantity if you'd rather.
Because they are nubbly, bumpy little cakes, they were given the rather unappealing name of Rock cakes, which doesn't really do the flaky, sweet texture justice! However, one bite of them, especially straight from the oven, and you will fall in love with this simple, old fashioned treat.
How Do You Make Rock Cakes?
They are so easy to make, and Rock Cakes are easy to make vegan too! I love any sweet treat that I can make in less than an hour and these definitely fit the bill.
Firstly, rub together the flour, baking powder, sugar and vegan butter until you have a breadcrumb texture. Rubbing simply means gently working the fat into the flour using your thumb and forefingers. It also helps to aerate the mixture, giving a light texture.
Then mix in your prepared vegan egg and dried fruit. I nearly always use Orgran No Egg Replacer in my baking as I find it the most reliable replacer on the market.
Finally, bring your mixture together. You might need to add a little milk to get a cohesive texture. You don't want to beat the mixture as you will lose the light texture, so if it still looks a little lumpy, that's fine.
Then, very gently, pull small apple sized balls of the dough off your mixture and drop onto a lined baking sheet.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until lightly golden brown. That's it!
Can I Make Gluten Free Rock Cakes?
Yes! Simply exchange the flour for your favourite gluten free flour mix. You might need to add a little extra milk to bind the mixture, as GF dough can be a little bit crumbly and temperamental to work with!
Additions to your Rock Cakes
You can personalise your Rock Cakes in several different ways!
- Dried cranberries instead of raisins
- Chocolate Chips instead of raisins
- Add some spices, mixed spice or ginger would make a delightfully festive flavoured Rock Cake!
- Plain Flour or all purpose flour. You can use gluten free flour but you may need a little more or less liquid. GF flour has slightly different properties to normal flour and can be more or less absorbent of liquids.
- Baking Powder. Just to help give these little cakes a bit of a rise, but most importantly, their delicious flaky texture.
- Sugar. I use white granulated.
- Vegan Butter, cold cold cold. You can also use Vegan Margarine if that's all you have.
- Pinch sea salt. A pinch of salt in baking always helps balance and round out flavour.
- Egg Replacer whisked up water. I've written before about vegan egg replacers and, in this instance, powdered egg replacer (such as Orgran) is perfect because it doesn't add too much additional liquid to the mixture.
- Raisins or Sultanas. My grandma used to traditionally use currants, but I don't like them!
- Soy Milk or dairy free milk of your choice, to help bind the mixture. You could use almond milk, oat milk, cashew milk or coconut milk.
Try my other delicious vegan baked treats:
How to Make Vegan Rock Cakes
- 350 g Plain Flour
- 2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 150 g Sugar
- 175 g Butter vegan, cold and cubed (or use margarine)
- 1 tablespoon Egg Replacer whisked up with 2 tablespoon cold water
- 160 g Raisins or sultanas
- 2 tablespoon Soy Milk or plant-based milk of your choice (you may not need to use all of it)
- Preheat your oven to 190c
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder.
- Now, add the butter/margarine and gently rub this into the dry mixture until you have breadcrumb texture
- Now add the raisins, distributing through the mixture using a wooden spoon
- Add the egg replacer and stir thoroughly until the mixtures starts to clump together
- Add a tablespoon of milk and keep gently mixing until the clumps get bigger and are sticking to the back of the wooden spoon. If you can pick up a clump and it adheres, then you're ready to do!
- Now, older recipes say to drop forkfuls of the mixture onto your baking sheet, but I prefer to pinch off large hunks (about the size of a satsuma) and drop them onto the sheet like that.
- You should get between 10-12 rock cakes from the mixture. No need to flatten them down.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until light golden brown.
- Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a cooling rack.