Traditional Rock Cakes

Crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy in the middle, deliciously spiced and packed full of juicy sultanas, Traditional Rock Cakes might just be the perfect simple treat.

Like many of you, I think I probably first tried baking Traditional Rock Cakes when I was at primary school and I have wonderful memories of making them again at home.

Traditionally, rock cakes were a quick, simple and cheap way of ensuring that there was always something sweet available during a time of rationing and they were actually promoted by the Ministry of Food during the Second World War, since they require fewer eggs and sugar than ordinary cakes.

Before trying to create my own version, I did a fair bit of research and was struck by how many recipes available online had missed the mark, creating a kind of rock cake-scone hybrid. In fact, while rock cakes are often confused with scones, they are a different animal entirely.

While scones can be rather fussy (you can find my recipe for Sultana Scones here), Rock Cakes are far simpler and much more forgiving, which means they are the perfect baking project to share with your little ones! And while they never last long in my house at least, they keep incredibly well, meaning that you can always have a sweet treat on hand for unexpected guests.

But don’t just take my word for it, have a go at my recipe for Traditional Rock Cakes below and be sure to let me know what you think of them…

This recipe makes 12 Traditional Rock Cakes.

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Traditional Rock Cakes

  • Author: Mr Baker's Cakes
  • Prep Time: 15mins
  • Cook Time: 25mins
  • Total Time: 40mins
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy in the middle, deliciously spiced and packed full of juicy sultanas, Traditional Rock Cakes might just be the perfect simple treat.


Units Scale
  • 350g self raising flour
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 175g chilled butter, cut into cubes.
  • 175g light brown sugar
  • 125g sultanas
  • 1 large egg
  • 1tbsp whole milk
  • 12tbsp golden granulated sugar (optional)


Begin by preheating the oven to 190°C (170°C fan/gas mark 5) and lining a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper.

Tip the flour, salt, baking powder and mixed spice into a large bowl and loosely mix them together.

Add the butter, rubbing it into the dry ingredients with your fingers until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.

Sift the sugar into the bowl, before adding the fruit and stirring both through the mixture with your fingers.

Crack the egg into a separate bowl and whisk lightly with a fork, before adding it to the flour mixture.

Finally add the milk, combining all of the ingredients thoroughly, until they form a stiff dough.

Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions, placing each scoop onto the lined baking tray and allowing room for spreading. Finally, sprinkle a pinch of golden granulated sugar on top of each one.

Bake the rock cakes in the oven for around 25 minutes, until golden brown.


In my opinion, Traditional Rock Cakes are best enjoyed warm from the oven, but they can be kept in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

  • Category: Afternoon Tea

If you have a go at my Traditional Rock Cakes, don’t forget to share your results over in my Facebook group (find it here) or tag me on Instagram.

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