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Rock Cakes

These sweet and fruity traditional cakes are so simple to make.
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or scroll for handy tips and a little nostalgia.

rock cakes

Rock Cakes, or Rock Buns as they are sometimes called, are a traditional fruit cake. They are – thankfully – more cake than rock.

rock cakes

Rock Cakes are crispy on the outside and a little less perfect in shape than most cakes. It’s easy to see how they got their name.

But don’t let the name or outside appearance put you off these little treats. The crispy outside gets a sprinkling of sugar in this recipe and  complements the perfectly soft and fruity inside of the cake.

Rock Cakes: the simplest little fruit cake

I remember first learning how to make these cakes in my home science class in Year 7.

These classes were a highlight of my high school days. Every week we would cook up some simple dish and then eat it or take it home for our family to enjoy.

The cooking was always a nice break from maths, science and the other more academic subjects.

I sadly don’t have the recipe that I used back then, but I did find Nana Ling’s Rock Cakes recipe. I think it must have been a favourite, since she’s marked it with a star and there is a little splatter on the page – a sure sign that it got its fair share of use.

Some added fruit (and sweetness)

Rock Cakes generally have sultanas, and this recipe also throws some currants in for good measure. 

That’s often where the dried fruit ends for Rock Cakes. But not here!

dried fruit rock cakes

I’ve always loved a little peel or glace cherries sprinkled on top along with a dusting of sugar. That’s how I remember Rock Cakes. 

How do you remember Rock Cakes? Leave a comment below about your favourite variations.

Nana Ling’s Rock Cakes recipe

Keep scrolling for the tested and tweaked version.

rock cakes recipe nana ling
rock cakes

Rock Cakes

These sweet and fruity traditional cakes are so simple to make.
4.80 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Australian, British
Keyword: rock buns, rock cakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 28 cakes
Calories: 133kcal


  • 1/2 cup butter (115 grams)
  • 1 cup caster sugar (plus extra teaspoon/tablespoon for dusting cakes)
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup sultanas
  • 1/4 cup mixed peel or glace cherries (or mix both)
  • few drops almond or other essence (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (fan forced).
  • Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer.
  • Add eggs and any essence and beat again to combine.
  • Add milk and sifted dry ingredients, a little at a time and alternately.
  • Stir though raisins and currants.
  • Put tablespoons of mixture onto baking trays lined with paper, leaving room for spreading. You should have about 28 pieces.
  • Sprinkle each cake with extra sugar and peel/cherries.
  • Cook in oven for 20 minutes, until a golden colour.
  • Allow to cool on a cooling rack.



Calories: 133kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 38mg | Potassium: 93mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 125IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg
Recipe Rating

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Thursday 17th of November 2022

Great recipe. Easy, few ingredients, and adaptable. I used grated mandarin zest instead of almond essence.

Libby Hakim

Friday 18th of November 2022

Wonderful - thanks for the review and variation idea, Alice! Libby x

Carla Costa

Sunday 18th of April 2021

Omg, I’ve been looking for the exact recipe for years. I also remember making them in high school and they were the best but I lost the recipe. I’m making these now!!! Cheers Carla

Carla Costa

Monday 19th of April 2021

@Libby, Yes brilliant, I didn’t have the almond essence, so I’ll try that next time, thanks so much the closest that I remember them tasting, however I thought I remembered pressing the butter into the flour with my finger tips. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Carla Costa

Monday 19th of April 2021



Monday 19th of April 2021

Hi Carla. Hope you enjoyed them! Happy cooking. Libby :)

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