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Welsh Cakes

Asked by Mariotti. Answered on 26th November 2011

Full question

Hi, I live in Argentina and I've noticed that what Welsh colonies call "Welsh Cake" here, is not quite the same as those in the UK. A Welsh cake here is dark, rather tall and spongy. They are both fruitcakes in a way, but I still haven't managed to find out what the actual differences are regarding ingredients. Maybe they are totally different cakes but they just go by the same name? And if they aren't, do you know why are they have the same name?

Our answer

The Argentinian Welsh cake, sometimes known as "budin gales" or "torta galesa" originates from early Welsh settlers who arrived in the Chubut river region of Argentina. The settlers made a cake with dried fruits, fat and sugar to provide a source of food that was high in calories and kept well. The cake was therfore named after the settlers, but bears very little resemblance to the Welsh version of Welsh cakes.

The Argentinian cakes have evolved into two types. The first type is sometimes also known as "black cake" and is a slightly darker cake made with brown sugar, honey and dried fruits. The other type of cake is slightly lighter, more like a pound cake or madiera cake base with dried fruits added. Sometimes the cakes are drizzled with a lemon glace icing. For both cakes the dried fruits can be soaked in alcohol before being added to the cake batter.

Traditional Welsh cakes are made from a scone mixture which is formed into rounds and cooked on a hot griddle, hence they are also sometimes called bakestones in Wales. The scone mixture does contain dried fruits, such as raisins or currants, but these Welsh cakes are served warm, preferably straight after cooking, and dusted with sugar.

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