Rock cakes are among the most delightful tea-time treats to make. Also known as rock buns, they're deceptive names and shape hide a wonderful treasure; it's just covered by a sweet, crumbly biscuit-like dough and dried fruit insides. They are also among the simplest treats to make but that shouldn't stop bakers from figuring out how to cheat the recipe.

Rock cakes the right way

Rock cakes are like moist, crumbly scones you eat for tea and require only three ingredients to make. These are flour, sugar, and butter--all combined in the right way. Now when it really comes to nailing recipes especially those for baked goods, learning the ingredient ratios is a must even for simple products like rock cakes.

However, what you also have to look out for are any adjustments that have been made for refining the formulas.

In the past, a flour to sugar to butter ratio for rock cakes sat at 2:1:1 at best. Unfortunately, it was discovered that adding to much sugar to the recipe made the cakes to crumbly and adding less made them too tough as if they were actual rocks. So a slight adjustment was in order. For good balance nowadays, you are looking at a flour to butter to sugar ratio of 3:1:1 ½ as your starting point. And though it might already be common knowledge, it's advised to add an egg to the mix to keep things bound.

To make this recipe even simpler, this recipe will call for some self-raising flour for leavening them.

Just make sure they are fresh or the rock cakes will fall flat from less leavening. As for the dried fruit and spices for your rock cakes, those are totally up to you but this recipe will also include some fun variations to help with your imagination.

The recipe


  • 8 oz (225 g) self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 oz (85) brown sugar
  • 4 oz (110 g) dried fruit
  • 2 1/2 oz (75 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking sheet (or two as needed) with a sheet of parchment.
  2. Cut the butter into cubes. Separate it and the rest of the dry ingredients from the wet ingredients.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, and brown sugar, together in a bowl. Cut in the butter cubes using a pastry blender or fork until a crumbling dough forms. Cut in the dried fruit as well.
  4. Combine the egg, milk, and vanilla in another bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until a lumpy dough forms.
  5. Make big spoonfuls of the dough to the baking sheet, making sure to leave enough room between them.
  6. Place the sheet in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool.
  7. Serve with tea or coffee.

Serves: 12


  • Chocolate chip - Substitute chocolate chips for the dried fruit.
  • Cinnamon - Substitute ground cinnamon for the vanilla extract.
  • Coconut - Substitute shredded coconut for half of or all of the dried fruit. Substitute coconut extract for the vanilla extract.
  • Festive - Use mixed dried fruits.