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No Sugar Rock Cakes

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No Sugar Rock Cakes

Rock cakes or rock buns, an english traditional! One of my husband’s favourites I believe and one that brings him memories from his childhood. A few years ago, when we were visiting family in Greece, he tried a sweet bread roll with sultanas that we make in Greece and then he told me about rock cakes and how similar they taste. I’ve never heard of rock cakes before then and I will be honest, I was a bit confused about their name compared to their shape and texture. The texture is not close to cake, they are more dense, something between cookies and cake, and they have a rough surface that resembles a rock.

Rock cakes go back to the second world war when the Ministry of food tried to promote a cake with less sugar and fewer eggs, an important savings in a time of strict rationing. In this recipe, I replace most of the sugar by using fruits and only use two tablespoons of coconut sugar which are optional and you can always omit if you prefer not to use any sugar at all.

Coconut sugar

I like to use coconut sugar instead of white refined sugar. Coconut sugar is plant-based and not very processed, that’s why it retains some nutrients found in the coconut palm tree, like iron, zinc, calcium and potassium. Coconut sugar also has a lower GI compared to refined sugar, which means a lower risk of blood sugar spikes.

For all these reasons, I like to substitute often refined sugar with coconut sugar in my recipes. However, it is still sugar! It has the same amounts of fructose as refined sugar and the same calories. You should still treat it as any other sweetener and have it in moderation.

Ingredients for low sugar rock cakes

Ingredients & How to

First, I put in a bowl the dry ingredients, flour, coconut sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. I then add the cold butter, cut into cubes. Using my fingertips, I start rubbing the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs. If you shake the bowl then any lumps will come up to the surface. Try not to use your palms as you don’t want the butter to melt.

Rubbing butter into the dry ingredients mix with fingertips Mix of dry ingredients looking like breadcrumbs after rubbing butter

When the butter is mixed with the dry ingredients, I add the dried mixed fruit in. If you don’t have a dried mix then you could use just sultanas or make your own mix of sultanas, currants and mix peel. I always go with whatever I have in my cupboard!

Grating apple for the rock cakes mixture Mashing banana for the rock cakes mixture

Apart from the two tablespoons of coconut sugar, which are optional, all the sweetness comes from one banana and an apple. The more ripe the banana is the more sweet the result will be. Use a masher or a fork to mash the banana and a grater to coarsely grate the apple. Add them to a bowl along with the egg and the vanilla extract.

Finally, I mix the dry ingredients with the wet ones using a spatula or my hands. Using a spoon I place around 12 balls on a lined baking tray. The rock cakes don’t need to have a perfect shape, their surface doesn’t need to be smooth. After all, that’s why they are called rock cakes!

When you take them out of the oven, leave them to rest for 3-4 minutes before placing them on a wire rack to cool down completely.

Spooning mixture on lined baking tray Rock cakes when they come out of the oven


Keep them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Watch the Video

No Sugar Rock Cakes

These rock cakes are really delicious and much healthier than the traditional ones. All the sweetness comes from a banana, an apple and two tablespoons of coconut sugar. They are a great healthy treat for little ones and a nice snack to take out on walks.
Category: Cookies & Biscuits Difficulty: Easy

12 pieces

Prep time

20 minutes

Cooking time


  • 1 3/4 cup (275gr) self-raising flour
  • 3/4 cup (100gr) dried mixed fruit
  • 4oz / 100gr cold butter cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 banana
  • 1 apple
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
  • Mix in a bowl the flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon and baking powder.
  • Add the cold butter cut in cubes to the mixture.
  • Rub it into the flour mix using your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
  • Add the mixed fruit into the bowl and mix until incorporated.
  • Peel the apple and grate it. Mash the banana and add it to a bowl along with the grated apple, egg and vanilla extract.
  • Add the mixture to the flour mix and with a spatula or your hands mix well until all ingredients are well combined.
  • Using a spoon place 12 balls (no need for a perfect shape here) of the mixture onto a lined baking tray.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool down.


The coconut sugar is optional, so if you are serving these to babies under 12 months or you prefer no sugar at all then you can skip it. You could also use just sultanas instead of dried mixed fruit.


Keep them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Nutrition Info (per serving)

Calories: 202kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 3g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Fiber: 1g | Sodium: 63mg | Potassium: 80mg | Sugar: 10g

I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.

This recipe is: vegetarian, nut free, naturally sweetened, baby & toddler friendly
Recipe keywords: no refined sugar rock cakes, no sugar rock cakes, child friendly cakes, child friendly biscuits, english rock cakes, apple rock cakes, healthy rock cakes

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