Monday, 28 May 2012

Rosie's Lardy Cake

This is a few weeks late now, but I've been rather too busy baking, working and holidaying to manage to write about it all as well! However, I have some lovely cakes to share with you...
The beautiful cakes at the Pudsey 50's themed Clandestine Cake Club event. (Mine is the rather less attractive offering front left...)
Last weekend I attended another of the wonderful Clandestine Cake Club meetings run by the Pudsey branch. The theme for this meeting was 50's cake, and I was a little stumped. Inspiration struck when I decided to ask someone who had been a child in the 50's (Mr Soup's mum - I might be in trouble for that statement!) what they remembered their mum making, and the resounding answer was Lardy cake (a true Yorkshire staple it turns out, although it's not originally from Yorkshire, before you write in like angry Points of View viewers...). A bit of research later, and I'd dug a recipe out of a 50's cookbook, made a couple of changes to convert it into a cake-format and modernise it a little (mostly the addition of a few more spices), and prepared to make it.

Essentially a lardy cake is a bit like a shortcrusty pastry (made with lard - there's no non-pig-fat surprise to this - it is what it says on the tin!) wrapped around some currants, and then baked. I started by making the pastry, then rolled it out into a long strip, put a row of spice/sugar/dried fruit mix down the middle, then rolled the pastry around the mix to make a tube. I then twirled this into the cake tin, sprinked a bit more fruit mix on top and baked it. When it came out of the oven I prepared some syrup using the leftover fruit/sugar/spice mix, and glazed the cake with it.

I was very pleased with the result - though it was a bit heavy the cake was tasty, and definitely hearkened back to a time when rationing was still in force, and sugar was a luxury to be used very sparingly - it is so easy to take for granted the well-stocked shelves in the supermarket. The fruit in the middle is a nice surprise and looks good when the cake is cut.

Rosie's Lardy Cake :

350g flour
pinch salt
2tsp baking powder
75g lard
1 egg, beaten
100g mixed dried fruit
100g sugar
2tsp cinnamon (and/or mixed spice - adjust quantities to your taste)

Make the dough by rubbing the lard into the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the egg and mix to a soft dough adding a little milk if needed.

Make the filling using the mixed dried fruit (you could just use raisins, but I had some mixed fruit and so used that instead), brown sugar and cinnamon.

Roll out the dough into a long thin strip, about 5 - 7.5cm / 2inches wide.
Melt ~25g lard and brush the dough with it.
 Put a line of filling down the middle of the strip, and fold the dough over the filling to make a long tube, filled with spiced, sugary fruit. (You will have a little filling left - put it into a small saucepan and add a little water. Heat gently till the sugar dissolves, and boil for a little while to thicken slightly. This is the glaze.)

Twirl the tube into a small cake tin - mine is a 20cm diameter tin, brush with a little more melted lard and bake at 220ºC for about half an hour. When you take it out of the oven, brush with the glaze, pouring any remaining fruit over the top.

Warning - this is not a cake for the faint-hearted - it is dense and heavy, but if you like fruity, pastryish treats, this will go well with a nice cup of tea.


  1. This is not how a lardy cake is made! This is the combination of a lardy and a danish. A lardy cake is made like puff pastry meaning the dough is rolled covered in lard, sugar and dried fruit, then folded and this process is repeated several times. The resulting cake has a layered effect.

  2. And it is made with bread dough!!!!!