Rock Cakes for #SundaySupper

Posted by on Oct 19, 2014 in #SundaySupper, Cakes | 12 comments

Rock Cakes for #SundaySupper

Cakes are usually an indulgence. You spend money on fancy ingredients, and coat the whole lot in plenty of sugar. But it is possible to make cake on a budget, to be frugal with the ingredients, to drastically cut down the amount of the sweet stuff, yet still have something which seems wickedly indulgent. That’s exactly what these Rock Cakes do, so I’m sharing them for this budget-friendly #SundaySupper, hosted by T.R. of Gluten Free Crumbley and David of Cooking Chat

I’ve recently gone from full-time work to being a full-time student, squeezing in freelance work whenever I can in order to scrape together the money to pay my rent, bills and tuition fees. I don’t mind not having much money – I love being back in the world of academia, and money has never motivated me. But it does mean I have to cut back on my spending – and cake baking! 

budget cake recipe

When I saw the theme for this #SundaySupper, it therefore seemed like the perfect challenge. For inspiration, I turned to old, family, wartime recipes. If anyone knew how to bake on a budget, it was the women of World War II, eking out meagre rations to provide food and treats for their families. I hit upon rock cakes, which I haven’t had since I was a child. 

These rock cakes are actually more like scones, with a recipe of half fat to flour and just a small amount of sugar. Some sort of dried fruit is added to the sweet scone mix – I used sultanas. I also added cinnamon and ginger to give them a bit of warmth and comforting spice.

Don’t be put off by the name: it refers to their craggy, rock-like appearance – they are actually very soft, so you won’t break any teeth on them! 

They can be made within the standard rations of butter, sugar and eggs provided to each person during the war. Nowadays, that means you can whip these up with cheap ingredients you probably already have in the stock cupboard. 

These cakes are so quick and easy to make – it’s a great recipe to do with children. Plus, you can indulge in them smugly, knowing that they cost next to nothing to make, and are low in sugar to boot.

 Rock Cakes

Rock Cakes
Yields 10
Budget-friendly, low-sugar, tasty cakes
Write a review
Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
  1. 200g self-raising flour (I used a gluten-free blend)
  2. 100g butter
  3. 70g light brown sugar
  4. 70g sultanas
  5. 1 medium egg
  6. 1 tbsp milk
  7. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  8. 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray.
  2. Rub together the flour, butter and sugar using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Mix in the sultanas and spices.
  4. Pour in the egg and milk, and stir until the mixture comes together to form a sticky dough.
  5. Use a tablespoon to portion out the mixture into 10 rounds on the baking tray. Leave space between each to allow them to spread slightly during baking.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until risen and golden.
  7. Transfer to a wire rack and sprinkle with a little sugar (optional).
  1. Enjoy while still warm, or leave to cool and spread with butter for a teatime treat.
Happy Baking Days
Rock Cakes recipe

Now take a look at even more money-saving recipes from the rest of the #SundaySupper gang:

Scrumptious Mains (Breakfast and Dinner)

Satisfying Sides

Sweet Treats

Sips, Spreads, and Snacks


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To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

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  1. Your rock cakes do look like delicious scones, Katy. So glad you are enjoying your foray into academia. And, yes, the women of WWII – in England and America – really got creative with their budgets <3
    The Ninja Baker recently posted..Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake Donuts, #SundaySupperMy Profile

  2. What a good story to go with your recipe! I have a cookbook that was originally published in the UK that includes a recipe for rock cakes, but I never realized they were a WWII thing.
    Katie @ The Perfect Brownie recently posted..Incredible White Chocolate Brownies Recipe | #SundaySupperMy Profile

  3. I really enjoy the old wartime recipes. They had to be so careful and creative with their ingredients to get the most out of them!
    Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious recently posted..Brown Sugar Shortbread for #SundaySupperMy Profile

  4. Mmmmm…such terrific cookies, Katy! I’d love some with my afternoon tea!
    Liz recently posted..Vaca Frita or Cuban Shredded Beef #SundaySupperMy Profile

  5. These are the perfect dessert to whip up when you want a quick sweet treat.
    Laura Dembowski recently posted..Carrot Cake Sheet Cake #SundaySupperMy Profile

  6. Katy, I am SO glad you posted this–guess why! All my life, reading Harry Potter, I just knew that Hagrid made “rock cakes” for Harry and his friends; but as it always glued their mouths shuts with its hardness, I imagined that they were slabs of gray brick that had somehow been formed into a pastry. I don’t know. But at any rate, it makes me so excited that you’ve shared this because I’d never bothered to look it up, and now I know :) happy Sunday, they DO look gorgeous the way you’ve done them!

  7. This is a totally new term for me, rock cakes, but if they’re like scones I know id love em!

  8. Those look so good and I love that you went back to a war time recipe, very smart!!

  9. I always look for inspiration from WW2 recipes and other eras where budgeting wasn’t an option. They tended to make amazing food out of so little, it’s such a great way to cook and bake.
    Shannon R recently posted..Vegan Black Bean Soup Recipe for #SundaySupperMy Profile

  10. Best of luck in your academic venture!! These rock cakes look delicious, thanks for posting!
    Julie @ Texan New Yorker recently posted..Mark Bittman’s Veggie Fried NoodlesMy Profile

  11. Definitely budget-friendly and delicious!
    Cindys Recipes and Writings recently posted..Chicken Meatballs and Spaghetti #SundaySupperMy Profile

  12. I used to make these with protein powder added for early university classes! Fabulous
    Sarah recently posted..Smoky Carrot-Garlic Soup #RecipeReduxMy Profile