Simple Rock Cake Recipe: Traditional to Jamaican Styles

Rock cakes, or rock buns, are a type of traditional British baked goods that are often associated with afternoon tea or as a snack. They are small, rustic-looking, and have a crumbly texture that gives them their name, as they somewhat resemble rocks or stones. But 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! 

Rock cakes have a long history in British baking. They gained popularity during times of rationing and food shortages, such as during World War II, due to their simple and economical ingredients. This 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. Here is how to make rock cakes:

Rock Cakes

Budget-friendly, low-sugar, tasty cakes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine British
Servings 10
Calories 198 kcal


  • 200 g self-raisingflour I used a gluten-free blend
  • 100 g butter
  • 70 g light brown sugar
  • 70 g sultanas Chocolate chip or mixed dried fruits can be used instead, such as apples, blueberry, or apricots.
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger


  • Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare a baking tray.
  • Add the flour, butter and sugar together
  • Use your fingertips to slightly rub them until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Mix in the sultanas and spices.
  • Pour in the egg and milk, and stir until the mixture comes together to form a sticky dough.
  • 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.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until they rise and turn golden.
  • Transfer to a wire rack and sprinkle with a little sugar (optional).


– Enjoy while still warm, or leave to cool and spread with butter for a teatime treat.
– The basic rock bun recipe stays pretty much the same. You can do the old fashioned rock cake recipe or create different variations:
  • Easy vegan rock cake: to make vegan rock buns, you can use dairy free milk, vegan butter, and no egg.
  • Jamaican rock cake: add 1/3 cup shredded coconut with dried fruits. Now you cakes will have a taste similar to that of unsweetened coconut macaroons.
  • Lemon/orange rock cakes: enhance your rock bunss with citrus flavors by replacing milk with lemon juice or orange juice. For an intensified citrus taste, grate 1 to 2 teaspoons of lemon or orange rind into the dough.
  • Fruit rock buns: you can design your own recipe with fresh fruits like bananas or cherries.
  • Healthy rock cake with oat: blend the oats into the dough by incorporating them once you’ve cut the butter and mixed in the flour. It might be necessary to introduce an additional 1/2 cup of milk to ensure smooth integration, as the oats tend to absorb moisture rapidly.
  • You can totally mix things up by trying citrus zest or a drizzle of simple sugar syrup on top. This can take your rock cakes to the next level!
– You can store rock cakes for up to 3 days, tightly wrapped in foil or an airtight container. You can also freeze them like scones for 3 months—wrap in foil, use a zip-top freezer bag. Reheat in a low oven or thaw in the fridge.
Keyword baking, British, cake, dessert, recipes, snack, traditional

Rock cakes are a beloved part of British baking tradition, and they continue to be enjoyed by people seeking a taste of classic comfort food. They are relatively easy to make, making them a popular choice for home bakers looking to whip up a quick and satisfying treat.

Quick and easy recipe for rock cakes

This rock cake recipe offers a delightful and simple way to create a classic treat that’s perfect for sharing with friends and family. By following the straightforward steps outlined in the recipe, you’ll be able to whip up a batch of these delightful rock cakes to enjoy alongside a cup of tea or coffee. Remember, the key lies in the careful balance of ingredients and the gentle handling of the dough to achieve that perfect texture.

About the author

Hi, I'm Kate, the creator of Happy Baking Days. I'm a food lover, recipe creator, and kitchen explorer. I have amateur baking knowledge gained from years spent in the kitchen with my grandma and mum, where I graduated slowly from dusting work surfaces with flour and licking the spatula to the finer arts of pastry and meringue. Now in my own kitchen, I put all those years of training into practice, experimenting with recipes and ingredients from around the world. Join me as I share my culinary journey and favorite recipes that make cooking a delightful experience.

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