Plant-based Welsh cakes for St Davids Day

It’s 1st March, St David’s Day. Not that I have any connections to Wales apart from a few fabulous holidays. But I do love Welsh cakes.

Made traditionally, Welsh cakes contain dairy (butter and milk) and eggs, so not so good for those who eat dairy or egg free. Fortunately, the recipe is simple to adapt, and easy to make. Dairy-free margarine makes a good butter substitute, and olive oil works well too for those who want to avoid altered fats or follow special diets. I’ve also used wholewheat flour and brown sugar, cutting down on refined ingredients.

Unlike scones, Welsh cakes are cooked on a griddle or heavy-based frying pan. Not that they are fried, just cooked gently on a low heat until lightly browned. They need to be quite thin so they cook through. You could at this point toss in caster sugar, as is traditional, but I’ve not done this to cut down on the sugar content – they still taste delicious. These are great to make with kids, especially on snow days like today (so much for 1st March being the beginning of Spring!).

Whilst making the sweet Welsh cakes, I started thinking about how they could be made into a savoury option. Leeks are the national symbol of Wales (apparently St David told his soldiers to wear a leek on their caps to distinguish them from the enemy), and so it only seemed right that they should feature in a savoury Welsh cake. I also added a little mustard and sage to complement the leeks. They taste great. They can be eaten warm with a little flaxseed oil, pickle or dairy-free cheese for lunch, or instead of a dumpling or potatoes to go with a simple vegetable stew.

Once made they can be stored in an air-tight tin for up to 4 days, or popped in the freezer and defrosted a few at a time. I really love both versions – see what you think. And enjoy a little bit of Welsh legacy, with a sensitive foodie twist.

Sweet Welsh cakes

A tasty plant-based alternative to traditional Welsh cakes that can be made gluten free if needed.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Cake
Servings 10 cakes


  • non-stick or cast iron frying pan


  • 225 g plain wholemeal flour or gluten free flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 50 grams sugar brown, coconut or caster
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 50 grams raisins soaked in warm water for 5 minutes and drained
  • 5 tablespoons dairy-free milk
  • 1 tbsp sugar for coating optional


  • Sift the flour into a bowl with the baking powder, spices, sugar and salt. Add the grated lemon peel. Stir well to combine.
  • Drain the raisins and stir into the mix.
  • Pour the olive oil into the flour mix. Rub it in with your fingertips to form rough breadcrumbs.
  • Add 4 tablespoons of the dairy-free milk and bring together into a soft dough using your hands. If the mix is too dry, carefully add the rest of the dairy-free milk to form a soft but not sticky dough. Do not over work the dough.
  • Form the dough into a round and place on a lightly floured work top. Roll out to about 3cm thick and cut out 7cm diameter rounds.
  • Pre-heat the frying pan, pop half the Welsh cakes in the pan and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes or so on either side until lightly brown and firm.
  • Dip the Welsh cakes in the extra sugar (optional but good) and place on a cooling rack whilst you cook the remaining cakes.
  • Eat warm straight away or store in an air-tight container for later. Pop them in the pan to rewarm if desired.
Keyword gluten free, healthy vegan, low added fat, OMS friendly

A tasty savoury alternative to sweet Welsh cakes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 10 cakes


  • 225 g wholemeal flour/gluten free flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 leek finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 60 mls olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons dairy-free milk


  • Heat a couple of tablespoons of water in a small frying pan and sauté the leek for a few minutes until soft and lightly browned. Turn off the the heat and leave to cool.
  • Sift the flour into a bowl with the baking powder, salt and dried sage. Add the leek and stir well to combine.
  • Pour in the olive oil and mustard and mix together to form breadcrumb-like mixture.
  • Add 4 tablespoons of dairy-free milk and bring together into a soft dough. Add the remaining tablespoon of dairy-free milk if it's too dry. Don't let it go sticky.
  • Knead gently for a minute then form into a ball. Roll the dough out to 3cm thick, cut and cook as above in the sweet recipe.
Keyword gluten free, healthy vegan, leeks, OMS friendly



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