Thursday, May 10, 2018

Looking for the Best Rock Cakes Recipe?

"Mum, what are you baking today?"

"Rock cakes." And my reply sounded proud and clear.

"I know. You baked these because you must be thinking of your mum and her rock cakes."

"Yes, baby. You are so smart!"


It feels really good knowing that my son knows me.

Sometimes, my son enjoys listening to my growing-up and day-to-day stories. And I reckon this my-mum-and-her-rock-cakes story is one of the stories that he hasn't forget.

So here, I have road-tested THREE easy rock cakes recipes using different techniques. Wanna hear my rock cakes story and my verdict of these recipes?


I have used THREE easy recipes with different techniques to bake these yummy rock cakes.
Do you want to know which recipe or technique is the best?

Why rock cakes?

Rock cakes are like hybrids of cake and cookies. And they taste like crunchy cakes but dry and firm like rocks.

Do you know that most rock cakes are usually not overloaded with added sugar and butter and yet these bite-size treats are crunchy and yummy like cookies?

In fact, rock cakes can be considered as healthful treats with lots of dietary fiber from raisins or sultanas. Great to pack them in school lunchbox. Satisfying to munch as snacks with juice, milk or even plain water.

With approximately 3g butter and 2g sugar added into each bite-sized cookies, these rock cakes taste surprisingly buttery and sweet! Simply because these cookies are naturally sweetened with added raisins or sultanas. Some recipes use ground cinnamon or mixed peel to enhance the taste of these reduced-butter cookies with extra spicy fragrance and citrus flavours but I reckon the secret of baking the best buttery rock cakes is to use the best quality vanilla paste or extract!!! Plus a small amount of salt!!! ... considering the fact that vanilla and salt can bring out the flavours of butter, even in very minimal amount.

Besides the ingredients and the recipes, different mixing methods can also create different texture in these cookies. In this post, I have investigated three different mixing methods and they are:

1) The most traditional and common Cold Butter Rubbing method, demonstrated in recipe One
2) The fuss-free and easiest Melt-and-Mix method, demonstrated in Recipe Two
3) The conventional-cookies-mixing Soft Butter Creaming method, demonstrated in Recipe Three

Recipes One, Two and Three contains the same amount of butter, sugar, salt, vanilla and raisins or sultanas. Besides the mixing methods, the other differences are:

One and Two contain 1 egg but Three contains 1 egg yolk.
One and Three contain 110g self-raising flour but Two contains 150g.
Three contains milk powder and honey to make the cookies more milky and crunchy and the rest don't.

Watch my videos to see how I baked these fabulous rock cakes using three different mixing techniques and I will tell you which is better or best later.





Rock Cakes made with Recipe One
The Common Cold Butter Rubbing Method
 
These scones-like cookies are crunchy outside, fluffy cake-like texture inside...
And taste uniquely nice with embedded pockets of intense buttery flavours in them.
My son said that these rock cakes are his favourite because they are the most buttery.
Rock Cakes made with Recipe Two
The Easiest Melt-and-Mix Method
 
These rock cakes look exactly rocks! LOL!
The best thing is they are extremely EASY to bake !!!
I reckon anybody can bake these cookies within 25 mins including 14 mins baking time.
Plus, they are delicious with crunchy outside and slightly cake-like inside.
More crunchy than the ones that I made with recipe One.

Less crunchy than the ones that I made with recipe Three.
With more added flour, these are way less sweeter than the ones made with recipe One and Three.
 
Rock Cakes made with Recipe Three
The Soft Butter Creaming Method
The honey and milk powder added into these rock cakes have made them the crunchiest!
I reckon that these crunchiest buttery rock cakes are my favourite.
... but my son still voted for recipe One.
My husband has no preference and doesn't mind any of these rock cakes.

Honestly speaking, I can't tell you which is the best recipe!!! ALL of these three recipes are GOOD in their own ways.

To conclusion, I would say...

If you want to bake the most buttery rock cakes with moist fluffy cake-like texture, please use recipe One.

If you want to bake the easiest rock cakes that are not too sweet, please use recipe Two.

If you want to bake the crunchiest buttery rock cakes with extra milky taste, please use recipe Three.

If you can't decide, you can bake ALL three recipes just like what I did... LOL! No loss because they are all yummy, less-guilty and very very very addictive to eat!

Before I proceed on to the recipes, do you want to hear my-mum-and-her-rock-cakes story?

It happened after a bake sale at school when I was 10. Without the help of my mum, I had managed to set up my own mini peanut butter pancakes stall and had earned about $20 from my sales. Not bad, huh? To reward the fatty me, I set aside a small sum of money to buy the other treats from my friends' stalls and spent most of it on rock cakes!

"I bought rock cakes from my friend's mum and it is the best rock cakes ever!" I told my mum when she asked me about the money that I had made from my bake sale.

"I can bake rock cakes too!" My mum sounded confident with an obvious tone of jealousy.

I was merely trying to explain that my hard-earned money had been well-spent and didn't expect my career-minded mum to take my comment so seriously.

Shortly, my mum came to me with a hand-written recipe book. She anxiously flipped to the page with the title, "Rock Cakes" and said to me "See! I told you that I can bake rock cakes. This is the recipe and I will bake some for you."

Within an hour, my mum who hardly cooks and bakes, did baked something for me but they are the YELLOW rock cakes!

Later, I found out that my mum had added yellow food colouring instead of vanilla essence as she thought that they are the same! With all the efforts that she had gone through, I had to eat the yellow rock cakes and agree with her that the yellow food colouring is vanilla essence. Hmmm... It was an unforgettable moment that was funny, awkward but nice! I must say that I like my mum's yellow rock cakes, considering the fact that she had really tried her best.

Since young, my mum has portrayed to me as the toughest woman in the world. A woman who took the lead and worked non-stop throughout many nights. I know that I can never be so strong and career-driven like her. Without her, I wouldn't be what I am today.

My mum passed away due to cancer at 14 years ago but these good memories live in me forever.

As I was writing this post, I realised that my relationship with my mum is somehow like the rock cakes! For the rock cakes, it is not clear-cut to say which rock cakes recipe is the best because it depends on how we want our rock cakes to be. So likewise, my mum and I might not be the best mother and daughter in this world but the least is we have tried our best to be what we want to be.

To my mum, me and all mothers who have tried our very best, Happy Mother's Day!

Like my story and recipes? ke ke... To get the latest update of my recipes, you can follow me at either my Facebook at here or here or my Instagram @zoebakeforhappykids

Here are the recipes.

Baking Tips:

1) Please do not replace self-raising flour with plain flour (or all purpose flour) plus baking powder because self-raising flour has the best raising capability with no metallic aftertaste.

2) All rock cakes are firm cookies with rock-like rough crunchy surfaces and so it is important to make sure that the rock cakes are thoroughly baked in order to have this characteristic texture. Depending on sizes of the cookies, please note the baking duration and number of cookies yielded that I have mentioned in the recipes can vary slightly and so please adjust your baking duration accordingly.


3) Due to the addition of honey, the rock cakes made from recipe three tend to turn golden brown much more quicker than the ones made with other recipes. So, please watch the oven attentively when you are baking with recipe three.

4) Please do not reduce the amount of added sugar or omit the addition of raisins or sultanas. If you do, these cookies are not rock cakes anymore! If you prefer your rock cakes to be less sweet, I would strongly recommend using recipe two.


5) To bring out the buttery flavours of these rock cakes, please use good quality vanilla paste or extract and do not omit the addition of salt. Please do not use vanilla essence because they are fake vanilla. And of course, NO yellow colouring, please!!! LOL!

Recipe One: Common Cold Butter Rubbing Recipe
The most buttery rock cakes with moist fluffy cake-like texture

Makes 17 medium bite-size cookies
110g (3/4 cup) self-raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
60g unsalted butter, cold
40g (4 tbsp) caster sugar
80g (1/2 cup) raisins or sultanas
1 large egg, cold (50g without the shell)
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or 1 tsp vanilla extract

Recipe Two: Easy Melt-and-Mix Recipe
The easiest rock cakes that are the least sweet

Makes 22 small bite-size cookies
150g (1 cup) self-raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
40g (4 tbsp) caster sugar
80g (1/2 cup) raisins or sultanas
60g butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 large egg, cold  (50g without the shell)
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or 1 tsp vanilla extract

Recipe Three: Soft Butter Creaming Recipe
The crunchiest buttery rock cakes with extra milky taste

Makes 22-24 small bite-size cookies
60g unsalted butter, soften at room temperature
40g (4 tbsp) caster sugar
1 egg yolk (15g), at room temperature
5g (about 1 tsp) honey
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or 1 tsp vanilla extract
110g (3/4 cup) self-raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
10g (1 tbsp) milk powder
80g (1/2 cup) raisins or sultanas

For ALL recipes:

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F. Line baking trays with baking paper. Set aside.

For Recipe One:
Sift self-raising flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Rub butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add sugar and raisins or sultanas and stir until combined.

Combine egg and vanilla and use a fork to beat roughly until mixture is combined. Add egg mixture into flour mixture and mix until a rough dough is formed. DO NOT OVER-MIX.

For Recipe Two:
Sift self-raising flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and raisins or sultanas and stir until combined.

Combine butter, egg and vanilla and use a fork to beat roughly until mixture is combined.

Add egg mixture into flour mixture and mix and knead gently until a rough dough is formed. DO NOT OVER-WORK DOUGH. Wrap dough in cling wrap and allow it to rest at room temperature for about 10 mins.

For Recipe Three:
Using a wooden spoon or an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until combined and fluffy. Add egg yolk, honey and vanilla and continue to beat until combined.

Sift self-raising flour, salt and milk powder into butter mixture. Add raisins or sultanas and use a spoon or spatula to mix until combined. Transfer all into a cling wrap and use it to knead gently until a rough dough is formed. DO NOT OVER-WORK DOUGH. Wrap dough in cling wrap and allow it to rest in a fridge for 1 hr or until firm. 

For ALL recipes:
Spoon (for recipe One) or pinch (for recipe Two and Three) half tablespoonful of dough on the prepared baking trays, leaving space (about 2-3 cm) for spreading. Do not roll dough into smooth balls! They should have rough surfaces like rocks.

Bake for 15 mins for recipe One, 14 mins for recipe Two and 12 mins for recipe Three or until golden brown, thoroughly baked and firm. If you are baking two trays at one go, swap and rotate the position of the tray halfway through the baking.

Allow rock cakes to cool slightly on the baking tray for about 5 mins. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely. Depending on the sizes of the cookies, please note the baking duration and number of cookies yielded can vary slightly.

Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Happy Baking
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1 comment:

  1. Hi, Zoe! Thankyou for always share your baking recipe... i have tried the “recipe one” & i add in 10gr of milk powder instead of vanila... the result is very nice, soft & delicious rock cake!... thankyou Zoe!!

    ReplyDelete