Wiltshire Lardy Cake

This is a very old recipe made in many a farmhouse and cottage on the day the bread was baked. It was cooked in the bread oven with the last batch of loaves and served for tea or supper. Its smell of freshly baked dough is almost as good as its taste and consistency. It is well worth making on its own. The traditional baking-day supper was two boiled eggs apiece, with slices from a small crusty loaf specially made for the meal, followed by the lardy cake. Tea and/or cider were drunk with this meal.


  • 1 lb (½ kg) white bread dough ready for baking
  • ¾ cup (180 g) lard, divided in 3 parts
  • cup (90 g) granulated sugar into which is mixed 1 teaspoon mixed spice (if liked)
  • ½ cup (90 g) currants or mixed currants and sultanas


Roll out the dough on a floured pastry board. Put dabs of one-third of the lard at about 1 inch (2.5 cm) intervals all over it, sprinkle lightly with one-third of the sugar and half the currants and fold both ends into the middle and then both sides into the middle. Turn to the right and roll out again. Repeat the larding, sprinkling and folding process. Roll out once more, lard again and sprinkle with sugar only. Fold as before and roll out about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Put in a large, square, greased baking tin. Score across in squares with a sharp knife and bake at 400°F (200°C, Gas Mark 6) for 20 minutes. The cake is best served hot and eaten with plenty of butter. It can be reheated in a cool oven.