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Friday, 20 June 2014

ROCK CAKES

Spicy Speculaas rock cakes
ROCK CAKES were once a traditional British tea time treat. These small, hard mini fruit cakes have a rough surface - resembling a small rock, hence the name. They are so quick and easy to make too.
After receiving a sample of the recently launched Speculaas spice, based on Steven Vandotsch's Dutch grandmother's recipe, I thought… why not spice up my grandmother's traditional rock cake recipe? Her recipe didn't include spice (possibly due to availability when she first started making them), but you'll find rock cake recipes which do use cinnamon and/or mixed spice.
Crumbly inside of a rock cakeThe Speculaas spice is a mix of nine different spices - the main one being organic real cinnamon from Sri Lanka. It can be used in most recipes where regular cinnamon (cassia) is the main flavouring ingredient. The aroma is very warm and inviting and the spice transformed my rock cakes, with its sweet complexity.
Very more-ish.
My rock cakes turned out less 'rocky' than my grandmother's - which I suspect was because I added just a touch too much milk. They should look like little pointed rocks.
Here's what they looked like inside -  incredibly crumbly and aromatic - and perfect with a cup of tea. Slice open and spread with butter if you wish.
I've estimated the calories in each rock cake below. Here's the recipe my grandmother always used infused with the Speculaas spice:
SPECULAAS ROCK CAKES
Ingredients - makes 8
200g self raising flour
100g Demerara or light brown sugar
100g margarine (or butter at room temperature)
100g mix of currants/sultana, 
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp milk (go sparingly… the mixture should be quite stiff)
1 tsp Vandotsch speculaas spice mix
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Heat oven to 170ยบC (fan).

Sieve the flour into a bowl and mix in the spice.

Add the butter and rub into the flour until the mix resembles bread crumbs. 

Add the sugar. Stir.

Add the fruit. Stir.

Add the beaten egg and mix well. Use a wooden spoon. 

The mixture should be quite stiff (but not dry), so add milk sparingly. The amount will depend on the size of the egg used. One tablespoon should be enough. 

Divide the mixture into 8 and place the mix in mound shapes - as tall as you can get them to go - on the greased baking sheet. 

Sprinkle with a little sugar and bake for 15-20 minutes. 

I would estimate one rock cake at around 250 calories. 
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REMEMBER: We all have a calorie allowance - do you know yours?
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