I have always been hugely interested in the way women lived in the Second World War. Obviously for me a huge part of that interest centres on what they ate at a time when food was rationed and not as plentiful as it is today. They would have had to make do without using a lot of eggs for example or would use “dry eggs”, meagre amounts of butter meant using cheaper fat like lard in recipes and even dripping (yuk).  Anyhow this works out very well for me because having got my hands on books featuring recipes used at the time I see that these housewives made excellent use of what they did have and were not shy to improvise and with a little allergy boy around “improvise” should be my middle name.

 I am trying a good few of these baking recipes out and I will say I have had a few disasters and a good few successes so far. The first recipe I tried out was Rock Cakes from this book;

I will point out that I did use lard in this recipe but having made rock cakes as a child with my mum I can happily say you may just switch this to margarine with no problems. Rock refers to the rugged appearance of the buns and not the texture, these are not heavy at all. Lard does not leave a nasty flavour either trust me these were delicious, those wartime housewives knew their stuff!

Recipes will be in imperial measure as in book, feel free to convert online. I will of course adapt as needed to make “free from”.

Rock Cakes.

  • 8 oz plain flour
  • 3 oz lard (or dairy free margarine)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • flavour e.g lemon extract/ vanilla extract/ pinch cinnamon
  • 3 oz sultanas (raisins)
  • 2 oz light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp apple puree mixed with 1/2 tsp baking powder (to replace 1 egg)
  • pinch salt
  • milk to mix to dough (I used rice milk)

Preheat oven to 170 c

Rub lard into flour until you achieve a “bread crumb” consistency. Then simply add all the other ingredients and mix with a fork until you create a dry paste/dough that is not too wet like so;

Dollop lumps of the mixture onto greaseproof paper;

Bake for about 12-15 mins until they a lovely and golden.

When I used to make them with my mum I preferred chopped glace cherries instead of raisins but feel free to experiment.

17 thoughts on “Rock Cakes – Wartime Recipes

  1. This sounds delicious and easy! Do they taste at all like scones? I will try it with Earth Balance to make it vegan– thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Olivia, I think it is possible they are like scones, Uk scones and US scones (I have been recently informed) are somewhat different. Let me know if you like them! 🙂

  2. Thanks for the reply !!! There is not any recipe for ” air aid shelter buns written down ! I will try and work one out !!! And will report on what occurs !!
    Should be interesting !!

      • Hello ! I will work on the recipe shortly ! Dad called them Buns when Rocks would be better! They certainly looked like Rocks !!!
        I have remembered that only margarine was used as butter was only ,at times 1oz per person per week !!! Flour was freely available .i also recall that Dad , using a pencil pushed 4sultanas into each item!!! Like that we all had a fair share.
        Back some time !

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