Today, I’m going to share with you a delicious recipe for rock cakes, which are a traditional British treat that is easy to make and perfect for tea time. Rock cakes are also known as rock buns, and they have a light and crumbly texture with dried fruits inside. They are not really rocks, but they get their name from their rough and uneven appearance. They are best eaten while still warm from the oven, with a cup of tea or coffee.
Rock cakes are one of the simplest and most versatile recipes you can make, as you can use any kind of dried fruit you like, such as raisins, currants, sultanas, cherries, cranberries, or even chocolate chips. You can also add some spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or mixed spice, to give them more flavor. The recipe I’m going to show you today is based on the one by James Martin, a famous British chef and TV presenter, who has a passion for baking and cooking with local ingredients. His rock cakes are moist, fluffy, and full of fruit, and they are very easy to whip up in less than 30 minutes.
What are James Martin Rock Cakes?
James Martin Rock Cakes are a classic British baked good. Also known as rock buns, they get their name from their distinctive rough, bumpy appearance, resembling rocks.
These tasty treats are made from simple ingredients – flour, butter, sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla, and dried fruit. The dough comes together quickly in one bowl. Despite their rugged looks, rock cakes have a light, tender, and crumbly texture similar to scones.
The addition of dried fruits like raisins or currants gives them a hint of sweetness. James Martin’s rock cakes are easy to make, perfect for snacking or enjoying with tea.
Why You Love this Recipe
- This recipe is based on the one by James Martin, a famous British chef and TV presenter, who has a passion for baking and cooking with local ingredients.
- Requires just one bowl to mix up the simple dough. No fancy equipment or shaping is needed – just drop spoonfuls onto the baking sheet.
- Highly customizable with different dried fruits, nuts, spices, and more. Make them your own.
- Deliciously moist and tender crumb with crunchy sugary tops and bursts of fruit flavor. The perfect balance of textures.
- Quick and satisfying treat ready in under 30 minutes. Easy enough for weeknights but special enough for weekends too.
- Stay fresh for days and freeze well too. Make ahead and have on hand anytime.
- Warm from the oven, they’re ideal with a cuppa. The quintessential British afternoon tea accompaniment.
Ingredients Needed to Make James Martin Rock Cakes
Here’s what you’ll need to make them:
- 230g self-raising flour
- 115g margarine
- 115g caster sugar
- 115g dried fruit (or your favorite additions)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tbsp milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- A sprinkling of sugar, to finish
Instructions to Make James Martin Rock Cakes
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan) and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
- In a large bowl, sift the flour and then rub in the margarine with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Stir in the caster sugar and dried fruit, or whichever additions you are using. You can also add some spices, such as a teaspoon of mixed spice if you like.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and vanilla extract. Add this to the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. It should be sticky but not too wet. If it’s too dry, add a little more milk; if it’s too wet, add a little more flour.
- Drop heaped tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking tray, leaving some space between them as they will spread out during baking. You should get about 12 rock cakes. Sprinkle some sugar over the top of each one for extra crunch.
- Bake the rock cakes for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are golden and firm to the touch. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool slightly, or enjoy them while they are still warm.
- Serve the rock cakes with butter, jam, cream, or just plain. They are delicious with a cup of tea or coffee, and they will keep for a few days in an airtight container.
What Do I Serve With James Martin Rock Cakes?
You can serve James Martin Rock Cakes with butter, jam, cream, or just plain. They are delicious with a cup of tea or coffee, and they are also great for a picnic or a tea party. You can also serve them with some fresh fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries, for a more refreshing and colorful treat.
Pro Tips to Make Perfect James Martin Rock Cakes
- Use unsalted butter instead of margarine for a richer flavor and texture.
- Use plain flour instead of self-raising flour, but add 2 teaspoons of baking powder to make the rock cakes rise.
- Freeze the rock cakes for up to 3 months. Just wrap them individually in cling film and then put them in a freezer bag. To defrost them, leave them at room temperature for a couple of hours, or warm them up in the oven for a few minutes.
- Make mini rock cakes by using a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon to drop the dough onto the baking tray. They will bake faster, so keep an eye on them and reduce the oven temperature by 10 degrees.
How do I reheat James Martin Rock Cakes?
- To reheat James Martin Rock Cakes, you can either use the oven or the microwave.
- To use the oven, preheat it to 180°C (160°C fan) and place the rock cakes on a baking tray. Bake them for 5 to 10 minutes, or until they are warm and crisp.
- To use the microwave, place the rock cakes on a microwave-safe plate and cover them with a damp paper towel. Microwave them for 10 to 15 seconds, or until they are warm and soft. Be careful not to overheat them, as they can become dry and hard.
How do you make rock cakes without eggs?
Rock cakes are traditionally made with eggs, but you can still make them without eggs if you have an allergy or don’t have any eggs at hand. You can use a vegan egg substitute, such as a flaxseed meal, chia seeds, or aquafaba, to replace the egg in the recipe. You can also use mashed banana, applesauce, or yogurt, but these will change the flavor and texture of the rock cakes. To make rock cakes without eggs, you will need to adjust the amount of liquid in the recipe, depending on the type of egg substitute you use.
How do I store and Freeze James Martin Rock Cakes?
- To store James Martin Rock Cakes, let them cool completely on a wire rack before putting them in an airtight container.
- You can store them at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the fridge for up to a week.
- You can also freeze them for up to 3 months, following the tips above.
What can I use instead of margarine in James Martin’s rock cakes?
You can substitute the margarine in this recipe with an equal amount of butter or vegetable shortening. Butter will give the richest flavor.
Can I make James Martin’s rock cakes gluten-free?
Yes, you can make a gluten-free version by substituting the regular flour with your choice of gluten-free flour blend. I would recommend using a blend that contains xanthan gum to help mimic the binding properties of gluten. You may need to add a bit more liquid to get the right dough consistency.
How do I stop James Martin’s rock cakes from being too hard and dry?
To prevent the rock cakes from becoming too hard and dry, avoid overbaking them. They are meant to have a moist, cakey texture. Check them a few minutes before the recommended baking time and take them out once they are lightly golden brown. Letting them cool completely before storing them will also help retain moisture.
Rock cakes are a classic British bake that is easy to make and fun to eat. They are perfect for a snack, a picnic, or a tea party, and you can customize them with your favorite dried fruits and spices. James Martin’s rock cakes recipe is one of the best I’ve tried, and I hope you’ll give it a go too. Let me know how it turns out in the comments below, and don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family. Happy baking!