Welsh Prime Minister’s Favourite Cakes Revived to Help Restore His Family Church in Pembrokeshire

To mark the centenary of David Lloyd George becoming the only Welsh Prime Minister, a hotel has revived the original recipes for Welsh cakes he enjoyed and is using them to fund further restoration to his family church in Pembrokeshire.

Wolfscastle Country Hotel near Haverfordwest discovered the recipes for Welsh Cakes and Bara Brith which Lloyd George’s wife Dame Margaret, donated to a cookery book originally published in 1919 by the Criccieth Women’s Institute.

Subtitled ‘Recipes for the Favourite Dishes of The Prime Minister’ the book was reprinted in the early 1970s.

The hotel is working with nearby Jordanston Church in Pembrokeshire, which is to hold an exhibition (17-19th June) commemorating the centenary of David Lloyd George taking office as the only Welsh Prime Minister. The exhibition is open to the public at Jordanston Church and Hall between 10.30am-8pm each day.

Lloyd George’s father, grandfather, grandmother, and step grandfather are buried in the church and his family farmed the neighbouring farm of Trecoed.

As a curtain-raiser to the event Wolfscastle Hotel is hosting a fundraising afternoon tea featuring the Lloyd George cakes, on Sunday June 12th commencing 4.30pm.

Andrew Stirling, proprietor of the four star Wolfscastle Hotel since 1976 said:

“We were fascinated to learn about Lloyd George’s family connection with Pembrokeshire and wanted to help by supplementing the great fundraising work of the wardens of Jordanston Church in the best way we can, by baking cakes!

We hope people will be equally fascinated to try out cakes made to the exact recipe which Lloyd George enjoyed over 100 years ago.”

Speaking on behalf of the Jordanston Church fundraising team, which has so far raised £100,000 to repair and restore the church including a £63,000 Heritage Lottery grant, Rosalind Raymond said: “We are thrilled that Andy and Mandy Stirling have offered to contribute to our exhibition in this way.

The whole purpose is to raise funds specifically to repair windows at this small and much loved church which has so many historic connections and is very much at the heart of our community.”

Of his roots in the county, Lloyd George once said: “I am a Pembrokeshire lad. I come from Pembrokeshire stock and am proud of it.” (David Lloyd George – Crymych 30 October, 1924)

The Welsh Cakes are referred to in the book as ‘Cachen Gri (Dame Margaret’s Way)’  and the ‘Bara Brith’ is also described as Currant Cake in the 1919 recipe.

Mandy Stirling of Wolfscastle Hotel said: “In trialling the recipes, we found the Welsh Cakes were less sweet than is the norm these days; they are almost savoury and you can imagine them being served spread with butter. These days we tend to add zest of fruit to give a little more flavour, mixed spices, again for more flavour.

The Bara Brith was even more of a marked difference than the style people expect these days. The 1919 recipe used lard, lots of eggs and milk, whilst we use warm black tea in the recipe, which is more common.

Whereas people today will be used to a Bara Brith that is moist and quite sticky, the Lloyd George recipe produced a crumbly, drier cake with just currants rather than the mixed fruit we have. But it is nonetheless delicious and we look forward to serving these lovely cakes to our guests.”

Tickets to the Lloyd George Exhibition Charity Afternoon Tea cost £12 per person, with £6.00 going to the Jordanston Church restoration fund.

Tickets are available from www.wolfscastle.com

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