Clapcake, clapbread or havercake from Cumbria, northern England, and Clap scones from Scotland, resemble the thin crispbread we usually only associate with Scandinavia.
They mix their flour with water, so soft as to rowle it in their hands into a ball, and then they have a board made round and something hollow in the middle riseing by degrees all round to the Edge a little higher, but so little as one would take it to be only a board warp’d, this is to Cast out the Cake thinn and so they Clap it round and drive it to ye Edge in a Due proportion till drove as thinn as a paper and still they Clap it and drive it round, and then they have a plaite of jron same size with their Clap board, and so shove off the Cake on it and so set it on Coales and bake it ...
After being baked, the Clapcake was dried in front of a fire on a special wooden rack called a ‘havercake maiden’, which looks like a miniature bench. Celia also writes that people dipped it in milk, ate it with meat or simply smeared it with butter, and that it was the only bread eaten in this region unless you lived close to a market town where there were regular markets.
Today Clapcake is, unfortunately, largely forgotten. It’s a shame, because it is a versatile oatcake suitable for various applications, great for breakfast or lunch with cheese, jam or even chocolate spread, but it’s also perfect to serve with a cheese platter or dips. I regularly bake a batch of Clapcakes and they keep for up to a month in a sturdy brown paper bag – they become rather like cardboard when kept in an airtight container. Clapcakes can be revived by putting them in a hot oven for a few minutes. Although not traditional, rolling different types of seeds, such as caraway, into the dough as they do in Scandinavia makes for a nice variation. I add a little regular flour to this batter because it makes for an easier batter, but feel free to use all oat flour.
Melt the lard in the boiling water. Mix in the flours, baking powder and salt to make a smooth dough. Mix with a wooden spoon and, once it is cool enough, knead well by hand. If the dough remains too wet (this will depend on the age of your flour), add a little more flour until the dough is no longer sticky.
Divide the dough into portions or leave it whole if you are making one large Clapcake. Roll out the dough on a sheet of baking paper generously dusted with oat flour to a thickness of
Using the baking paper, slide the Clapcake(s) onto a baking tray.
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