Vegan rock cakes - these old-fashioned rock buns are really quick and easy to make with simple ingredients, crisp on the outside and soft in the middle.
Perfect to serve as a snack, elevenses or afternoon tea. These vegan rock cakes are delicious as they are, or spread with butter or jam.
These vegan rock cakes are a super easy bake that are quick and simple to make, but are really delicious with a light, moist, crumbly texture.
They are a great recipe to make with kids, as the more rustic looking they are the better!
What Are Rock Cakes?:
Rock cakes, also known as rock buns, are a traditional British bake. They were popular during the second World War as they were cheap to make and required fewer rationed ingredients such as eggs and sugar than other cake recipes.
They are named after their craggy, rocky appearance, not because they are as hard as rocks!
They are actually a kind of drop scone, made using a wet scone dough, and they should be crisp on the outside, and soft, moist and crumbly in the middle.
Traditionally they are filled with mixed dried fruit, and may or may not be flavoured with mixed spice.
What Do I Need To Make Vegan Rock Cakes?:
Self-raising flour plus baking powder: This gives the rock cakes a lovely light texture. I haven't tried making them gluten-free.
Mixed spice: This is a spice blend commonly used in British baking. You can use pumpkin spice, apple pie spice or just cinnamon instead if you can't get hold of it.
Sugar: I like to use light brown soft sugar as it adds extra flavour and moisture but you can use caster or granulated sugar instead if you don't have any.
Sprinkling the rock cakes with a bit of demarera (turbinado) sugar before baking gives them a lovely crunchy crust.
Vegan butter: For the best results make sure that you use a block variety rather than the spreadable kind in a tub which has a higher water content. I recommend Naturli Vegan Block or Flora Plant Butter.
Dried fruit: I use raisins but you can swap them for pretty much any kind of dried fruit you like.
Vegan milk: Any kind of unsweetened non-dairy milk will work (except tinned coconut) but I always prefer soy milk for baking as it has the highest protein content.
How To Make Vegan Rock Cakes:
(Full measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page)
Mix together the flour, baking powder and mixed spice in a large bowl.
Add the butter and rub it in using your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs and no lumps of butter remain.
Stir in the raisins and sugar then add the milk and mix to form a firm but sticky dough.
Spoon dollops of the dough well spaced apart onto a lined baking sheet, you should get about 9 rock cakes.
There is no need to be neat, keep the dollops of dough rough looking.
Sprinkle the rock cakes with demarera sugar then bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack before serving as soon as possible.
All of my recipes are developed using grams, and as with all of my baking recipes I really do recommend using the metric measurements with a digital scale rather than the cup conversions. Cups are a wildly inaccurate measuring system and you will get far better, more consistent results using a scale, not to mention that it is also easier and less messy than cups!
Don't over-work the dough as that will make the rock cakes tough. Just mix it until it is fully combined then stop.
Don't try and make them look neat, they should be craggy and rustic!
I use raisins, but pretty much any kind of dried fruit will work.
You can swap the dried fruit for chocolate chips if you like.
You can increase or omit the spices as you like. If you can't get hold of mixed spice then either apple pie spice or pumpkin spice will work, or even just cinnamon. You can also swap the spice for vanilla extract.
They are best eaten as fresh as possible, definitely on the day they are baked and ideally as soon as they have cooled.
Can I Freeze Them?:
Yes they freeze well. Freeze them on the day they are baked to preserve freshness. Place them in a freezer bag or freezer proof container and freeze for up to three months.
Allow to defrost then refresh in a low oven to serve.
More Simple British Recipes:
I have loads of vegan versions of classic British recipes, you can find them all on my British category page. Here is a selection of some of the easy ones.
- Vegan malt loaf
- Vegan Eve's pudding
- Vegan scones
- Vegan jam and coconut sponge
- Vegan Earl Grey tea loaf
- Vegan Welsh cakes
- Vegan mincemeat crumble bars
- Vegan marzipan cherry scones
- Vegan shortbread fingers
If you tried this recipe let me know how it went! Rate it, leave a comment or tag @domestic_gothess on Instagram and hashtag it #domesticgothess
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Vegan Rock Cakes
- 225 g (1 ¾ cups + 1 Tablespoon) self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons mixed spice
- 115 g (½ cup) vegan block butter cold and diced
- 75 g (¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons) light brown soft sugar
- 125 g (4 ½ oz) raisins or dried fruit of your choice
- 5 Tablespoons unsweetened non-dairy milk
- demarera (turbinado) sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
- Mix together the flour, baking powder and mixed spice in a large bowl.
- Add the butter and rub it in using your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs and no lumps of butter remain.
- Stir in the raisins and sugar then add the milk and mix to form a firm but sticky and spoonable dough.
- Spoon dollops of the dough well spaced apart onto the baking sheet, you should get about 9 rock cakes. There is no need to be neat, keep the dollops of dough rough looking.
- Sprinkle the rock cakes with demarera sugar then bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Transfer the rock cakes to a wire rack and allow to cool slightly before serving asap.
- See post for tips, details and step-by-step photos.
- All of my recipes are developed using grams, and as with all of my baking recipes I really do recommend using the metric measurements with a digital scale rather than the cup conversions. Cups are a wildly inaccurate measuring system and you will get far better, more consistent results using a scale, not to mention that it is also easier and less messy than cups!