Rock cakes are a delicious and easy treat. This traditional recipe shows you how to make 12 of the classic family favourites. Perfect with a cup of tea!
So rock cakes folks. What's this all about today?
Rock cakes are made from a simple rough dough of self-raising flour, margarine, dried fruit, caster sugar, milk and an egg.
The dough is rolled into balls and then baked.
These tasty treats are another throwback to my childhood. Mum and I used to bake these and they were (and are) so simple and delicious to make!
I'd completely forgotten about them.
It was only when I was baking Mum’s no-bake chocolate snowballs at Christmas that my memory recalled these rock cakes.
I'm glad it did. This rock cakes recipe is another traditional British recipe that's too good not to share!
You'll only need 6 ingredients to make this recipe for rock cakes.
I've reduced the sugar quantity a little from the original recipe that we used to use.
They're not quite sugar free rock cakes, a little is still needed but this has in no way reduced the flavour or taste of each rock cake.
You can use butter to make these rock cakes but margarine is just fine. As margarine is made from plants it contains no cholesterol as opposed to using butter which does.
Do make sure that you brush each rock cake with the milk before placing them in the oven though. This prevents them from burning.
If you're using butter you shouldn't have this problem as much. I still advise doing it so you end up with lightly browned rock cakes and not blackened ones!
What's The Difference Between Rock Cakes and Rock Buns?
Incidentally if you're wondering what's the difference between rock cakes and rock buns, my research came to the conclusion, not a lot!
Essentially they're just small fruit cakes with rough surfaces that resemble rocks.
Rock cakes became popular in the time of the second world war here in the UK. They were promoted by the Ministry of Food since they required fewer eggs and less sugar than ordinary cakes.
This meant people could still enjoy a cake even with the strict rationing that went on for fourteen years.
Food rationing in Britain didn't end until midnight here on 4 July 1954. Even though the war in Europe officially ended on 8th May 1945!
Rock buns are similar to rock cakes although with slight variations. For example the Jamaican Rock Bun contains coconut.
These light and crumbly traditional afternoon tea time treats are a favourite.
Using simple ingredients and mainly store cupboard ingredients you get a delicious sweet treat with this great recipe.
They also make a great afternoon snack and are ideal to go with your morning coffee and they're great to make with kids too!
If you're looking for more traditional recipes then please check out the list below!
- Self-Raising Flour
- Mixed Dried Fruit
- Caster Sugar
See recipe card for quantities.
- Self-Raising Flour - If you don't have self-raising flour you can substitute with an equal amount of plain flour (all purpose flour) and 1 teaspoon baking power.
- Margarine - You can use cubed butter to make these rock cakes. Old fashioned rock cakes were made with margarine as it was more readily available than butter during the rationing years in Britain.
- Mixed dried fruit - For the dry ingredients I use a bag of mixed dried fruit. You could use sultanas or any dried fruit you prefer. Currants, cranberries, apricots, lemon zest or dates also work and make a great alternative.
- Caster Sugar - I've used just the minimum required here.
- Egg - I use a large free range sized egg. Any good quality eggs will do.
- Milk - It's fine to use full fat milk. You just need a little milk mixture here to brush over the tops of the buns before baking as it helps to make them golden brown.
Your Questions About How To Make Rocks Cakes Answered
- How long will these rock cakes last? They'll last 3 - 4 days if you store them in an airtight container.
- Can you freeze rock cakes? Yes. Place the rock cakes in a plastic container. Then place the container in your freezer. They will last for up to 3 months. Allow them to defrost in the refigerator overnight or gently reheat them on a low oven temperature.
- Can I use plain flour? Yes. Substitute the self-raising flour with an equal amount of plain flour and add 1 teaspoon baking power to the recipe too.
- For the recipe I just use a bag of mixed dried fruit. If you can't get that then subsitute with currants, sultanas and any mixed peel like orange or lemon.
- What are rock cakes like inside? Inside they have a delicious crumbly texture filled with the dried fruit of your choice.
- Is there a difference between scones and rock cakes? British scones and rock cakes do use similar ingredients. However scones have a more stiff dough when being made and are rolled with cutters being used to shape them. Rock cakes have a more sticky dough consistency when you make them. They're handled less creating cakes that resemble actual rocks which gives them their name rock cake.
5 Easy Steps For How To Make Rock Cakes
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C fan oven or 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking tray.
- Add flour and cubes of margarine into a large bowl and make breadcrumbs using your fingetips.
- Stir in the dried fruit, sugar and egg.
- Roll out 12 equal amounts of the mixture using your hands and place on the baking tray.
- Bake in centre of oven for 10 - 15 minutes. Check centre is cooked with a wooden skewer. Enjoy!
For This Traditional Rock Cakes Recipe You May Need….
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Great value for money it's high quality and made of heavy earthenware.
A perfect mixing bowl, easy to clean and with a wide, shallow shape for easy kneading. It's dishwasher safe too!
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Other Traditional Home Baked Recipes You Might Also Like
- Scottish bran scones recipe shows you how to make scones the easy way. Easy because as it’s more or less a traditional scones recipe I’ve always used, and easy because it uses minimal ingredients!
- Cherry bakewell loaf cake is an easy and delicious budget cake with all the flavours of a bakewell tart. Topped with a layer of icing sugar it’s perfect for sharing with friends.
- Raspberry buns are delicious and easy to make. This is a quick and fun old-fashioned Scottish recipe that kids (and big kids too) will love!
- Wholemeal cranberry scones. If you love scones, you'll love these delicious fruity ones. They're such a delicious easy bake. Great for sharing with family and much healthier than those made just with white flour too!
Rock Cakes Recipe
The following links and any links in the recipe card below are affiliate links.
This means that if you click on it and then buy that product I’ll get a small commission (at no extra cost to you of course).
If you do click through then thanks for being a part of Neil’s Healthy Meals!
- 225 g self-raising flour
- 110 g margarine cubed
- 75 g mixed dried fruit
- 40 g caster sugar
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoon semi skimmed milk
- Preheat oven to 180C Fan
- Lightly grease a baking tray
- Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the cubes of margarine and rub the margarine into the flour with your fingertips to form a breadcrumb like mixture.
- Stir in the dried fruit and caster sugar. Then stir in the egg.
- Form a large ball and using your hands make mounds of equal amounts of the mixture and place them onto the baking tray and brush with the milk.
- Bake in the centre of oven for 10 – 15 minutes until cooked. To check they are cooked through insert a skewer into the centre of one of the buns which will come out clean if they are done.
- Place the buns on a wire rack to cool. Then store in an airtight container and consume within 3 - 4 days.
Nutritional information provided below is calculated using paid for online tools and the exact ingredients and quantities used above.
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