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Lardy Cake Recipe

A traditional cake made of bread dough, interleaved with lard sugar and dried fruit. It was particularly-popular in the North of England, and originally a cake for celebrations, such as the harvest festival; but as the price of dried fruit came down, it became a more everyday item. It is moist, and can be served plain, but is generally sliced and buttered.

Versions occur in all traditional pork producing counties - such as Dorset, Suffolk & Wiltshire.

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1 teaspoon (5ml) Butter
1 packet dried easy-blend Yeast
½ pint/300ml lukewarm water
1 lb/500gr Plain Flour
1 teaspoon (5ml) Salt
2 oz/60gr Caster Sugar
4 oz/120gr Lard, cut into flakes
½ teaspoon (2ml) grated Nutmeg
½ teaspoon (2ml) ground Cinnamon
½ teaspoon (2ml) ground Ginger
10 oz/300mg Sultanas or Currants
For the glaze: 3 tablespoons (45ml) dissolved in 3 tablespoons of hot water (optional)

Equipment needed: An 8 ins/20cm loose-bottomed cake tin, or a small rectangular roasting tin (either non-stick or lined with silicon paper)


1. If using a loose-bottomed cake tin, grease it with the butter and set it aside, if using a small roasting tin which is not non-stick do the same. If having a non-stick tin or using silicon paper, the butter is not necessary.
2. Follow the instructions of your sachet of yeast, then add it to the flour with the lukewarm water – your made not need all of this, so hold a little back.
3. Mix all together in a big bowl, until you have a dough that doesn’t stick to the sides.
4. Knead this dough for a few minutes. It should be elastic and smooth.
5. Cover the bowl with cling wrap or put it in a plastic carrier bag.
6. Place the bowl in a warm, but not hot, place (such as an airing cupboard) and leave it for an hour – it should have almost doubled in size.
7. Knead the dough again for about 5 minutes to ‘knock it back’ and squash the air out of it.
8. Roll the dough out into a rectangle on a lightly-floured surface, until it’s about ¼ in/0.5cm thick – and being three times as long as it is wide.
9. Sprinkle one-third of the lard over the dough to within ½ in/1cm of the edges.
10. Mix the sugar with the spices and your chosen dried fruit and sprinkle one-third over the lard.
11. Fold the dough over, from the short side – so the fruit is covered, and you more or less have a square.
12. Roll the dough out again to form a rectangle shape again, and sprinkle this with a further third of the lard and fruit in the same manner.
13. Fold over, as before, and repeat the procedure with the remaining lard and fruit.
14. The top visible layer should be dough, not fruit.
15. Roll out the dough to fit your chosen baking tin, then lift it into the tin.
16. Place the tin in a plastic carrier bag or cover with cling wrap – as before, and put it into a warm place again.
17. Heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6.
18. Remove the tin from its plastic wrapping and brush with the glaze (if you’ve chosen to use it, then place it in the oven.
19. Bake for 45 minutes, or until it’s golden brown.
20. Allow it to cool a little, then turn it out onto a wire rack to completely cool.

Serve in slices – either plain or buttered.

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lardy cake
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