Lardy cake

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • For

    8-12

    people

Appears in

Oats in the North, Wheat from the South: The history of British Baking, savoury and sweet

Oats in the North, Wheat from the South

By Regula Ysewijn

Published 2020

  • About

Lardy cakes are known in a few regions in England. I came across them in the Cotswolds, where they are smaller and spiral-shaped, and in Oxford, where the dough is folded into a brick as in this recipe.

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 15 g (½ oz) dried yeast
  • 300 ml (10½ fl oz) lukewarm water
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) strong white bread flour
  • 60 g ( oz) raw (demerara) sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 20 g (¾ oz) lard or butter, at room temperature, cubed
  • 5 g ( oz) sea salt
  • 1 egg yolk + 1 tbsp milk, for egg wash

For the filling

  • 60 g ( oz) lard
  • 60 g ( oz) butter, at room temperature
  • 50 g ( oz) soft brown sugar
  • 120 g ( oz) raisins
  • 50 g ( oz) currants
  • 50 g ( oz) candied citrus peel

For the syrup

  • 60 g ( oz) white sugar
  • 5 tsp water

Method

For a 22 x 33 cm (8½ x 13 inch) baking tray

Add the yeast to the lukewarm water to activate it. Put the flour, sugar and cinnamon in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and put the lard or butter on top. Pour half of the yeast mixture over the lard or butter, wait 1 minute and then knead for a few seconds. Add the rest of the yeast mixture. The dough will now be very wet, but don’t add flour – this is how it should be. Knead for 5 minutes, then scrape all of the dough back together. You can also mix and knead the dough by hand.

Let the dough rest for a few minutes and then add the salt and knead for another 10 minutes. Remove the dough from the dough hook and now use your hands to knead the dough in the bowl for 1 minute or until it is a smooth ball – do not use extra flour. Cover the bowl and leave the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in quantity.

Make the filling by beating the lard and butter with the sugar.

Roll out the dough to a rectangle about 22 x 50 cm (8½ x 20 inches). Dot the dough with the lard mixture, spread it out with your fingers and then sprinkle the dried and candied fruit over the top. Start rolling the dough by folding a 10 cm (4 inch) strip from left to right and then keep rolling. Push the tips of your fingers halfway into the dough so that the filling and the dough will mix together slightly.

Line the baking tray with baking paper. Place the dough on top and let it rest for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). After rising, flatten the dough by patting it with your hands so that it covers the baking tray. Brush the dough with the egg wash. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Simmer until all the sugar has dissolved. Brush the syrup over the warm lardy cake.