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Lardy Cake

Introduction & method

I'm sure the fact that this has 'lard' in its name will scare off a lot of people because it sounds terribly unhealthy. But actually lard contains less saturated fat than butter. Lardy cake is a traditional English enriched bread sweetened with dried fruit and sugar and made luscious by lard.

Lardy Cake Recipe

Make the Dough

Mix the flour, salt and yeast together. Cut the lard into small chunks and rub them in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Mix in the water and tip the dough out onto a floured worktop. Knead for 10 minutes until you have a smooth and elastic dough. It will also be very sticky! Alternatively, mix/knead it in a stand mixer with a dough hook for 2-3 minutes. Cover the dough with plastic film and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size - this should take 1-2 hours.

Add the Filling

When the dough has risen, empty it out onto a well-floured worktop and press it into a rough circle somewhat bigger than the tin you are using to bake it in. Spread about half of the lard all over the bottom of your baking tin, and the other half on the dough, leaving a 2.5 cm (1 inch) margin around the edge. Mix together the sugar, spices and orange zest, and sprinkle half of this mixture over the lard in the tin, and the other half over the lard on the dough. Sprinkle the currants and sultanas over the sugar mix on the dough. Now grab hold of part of the edge of the dough between your thumb and forefinger and lift it towards the centre of the dough. Moving around the edge of the dough, repeat this operation about 7 times until all of your segments meet in the middle and the filling is fully enclosed.

Carefully lift the dough parcel, and place it in your baking tin. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave in the warm place for about 30 minutes to puff up.

Bake the Lardy Cake

Preheat your oven to 180° C (356° F) if it's a fan/convection oven, or 200° C (392° F) conventional. Paint the top of the dough with egg wash (a beaten egg with a splash of milk mixed in), and place the tin in the oven for 30 minutes.

When the lardy cake is baked, it should have a golden crust and feel firm when you press it. Put a plate on top of the dough and carefully flip the tin and the plate upside down. Leave to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then remove from the tin and allow to cool completely.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Lardy Cake on YouTube.

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Ingredients & Info

 450 grams strong white bread flour
 300 ml warm water
 1 tsp salt
 1½ tsp active dried yeast
 25 grams lard
 200 grams sugar
 150 grams lard
 175 grams sultanas & currants
 1 tsp ground cinnamon
 1 tsp ground nutmeg


Zest of 1 orange. Beaten egg with a splash of milk to glaze.

US Customary/Imperial

Serves 8 -10
Prep time: 15 minutes.
Proving/cooling time: 2 hours 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 30 minutes.
Total time: 3 hours.