Nan’s Rock Cakes

My grandmother taught me to bake when I was a child.  I remember going to her house after school and on weekends (she was a substitute babysitter) and we would bake all kinds biscuits, cakes and slices.  Mostly these were sold at the local church fête, or for the Country Women’s Association (CWA).

One of her most famous baked items were her Rock Cakes.  Unlike most rock cakes I have had the displeasure of eating, they were soft and a little bit crumbly, sweet but not sickly.  They are what all good rock cakes should be.  So, without any further ado – here is the recipe for the greatest (in my opinion) rock cakes in the world.


  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup mixed dried fruit (with or without glacé cherries – I love them)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp lemon essence
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp milk


Now, there’s two ways you can do this.  I am fortunate enough to have a Kitchenaid mixer, so instead of doing steps 3-5 by hand, I tend to throw it all in a bowl (except the dried fruit) and put it on a 2 with the mixer blade until it’s all mixed.  Then I change the mixer blade for the dough blade, add the fruit and turn it back onto a 2 for about a minute.  If you don’t have a high quality mixer, please see below.

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan forced).
  2. Grease a cookie tray.
  3. Add the flour and butter to a mixing bowl and rub the butter into the flour until it is fine and crumbly.
  4. Add the sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, mixed spice, lemon essence, egg and milk, and combine until you get a heavy, stiff dough.
  5. Add the mixed fruit and stir through lightly.
  6. Spoon small heaps (don’t make them pretty) onto your greased tray and dust with more white sugar.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool down (although they are also delicious warm).

Some people like to serve them with butter – although that baffles me.  These rock cakes are moist enough as is, and are just good with a cup of tea, coffee or milk.

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