Cakes and Tea with Mary Poppins


The end of Spring Break is near and Stella’s daughter Kendra is running out of ideas for things to do. Her older sister, Zoe has been away with a friend for the last few days and Kendra is a bit lonely for her. Stella has taken the afternoon off to enjoy a mother-daughter movie date with her youngest. 

The first thing Stella and Kendra do is bake a batch of Welsh Cakes. The size of a cookie, the texture of a scone, and the flavour of a delicate fruitcake, Welsh Cakes have long been a favourite of Stella’s family at this time of year. Kendra helps gather the ingredients and cut in the butter with the flour mixture. Stella rolls out the dough and Kendra cuts it into circles with the old biscuit cutter. When the cakes are baked Stella rolls them in raw cane sugar for a delicate crunch. 

Kendra clears off the coffee table in the small cozy living room of the apartment. She finds the old VHS copy of Mary Poppins and puts it in the rewinder so it will be ready to go. Stella makes a note to purchase the new 50th Anniversary edition when it comes out. Stella puts a tea tray together and Kendra places a few Welsh Cakes on a plate. Mother and daughter make themselves comfortable on the loveseat and Stella pours the tea. Kendra starts the movie. 

Stella and Kendra sit back, tea cups in hand to enjoy the afternoon. The rain may fall in buckets outside but all is ‘chim chim cher-ee’ inside. ‘Mmmm’, says Stella. I always forget how good these Welsh Cakes are!”

And now you can make them, too.

Welsh Cakes

2 cups all purpose flour (not self-raising)  (500 ml)
1/2 cup granulated sugar  (125 ml)
2 teaspoons baking powder  (10 ml)
1/2 teaspoon salt  (2 ml)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (1 ml)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon  (1 ml)
1/2 cup butter  (125 ml)
1/2 cup currants  (125 ml) (Stella left them out because Kendra doesn’t like currants)
1/4 cup mixed candied citrus peel (or just the grated peel of a lemon or orange)  (50 ml)

1 egg
1/3 cup milk (75 ml)
1/4 teaspoon almond flavouring (optional)  (1 ml)

Using large bowl, put flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon and stir together well.  Cut in butter until crumbly.  Stir in currants and peel.

Beat egg with fork.  Add egg and milk and almond flavouring (if using) to dry ingredients.  Stir into dough as for pie crust.  Roll 1/4 inch (2/3 cm) thick on floured surface.  Cut into 3 inch (7 cm) rounds with biscuit cutter.  Fry in ungreased frying pan over medium heat, letting rise a little and browning both sides.  To test pan for heat, drops of water should sizzle but not bounce around on pan.  Makes 2 dozen or more if smaller rounds are cut.

If desired, roll in sugar while still hot for added crunch.

Enjoy, and happy baking!  

(They are also very good served with cheddar cheese and slices of apple on the side as a more filling snack.)