Sunday, July 11

Lardy, I'm not kidding.

Lardy cake. Yes, as the name suggests this is indeed a cake made with lard. Are you putting your apron on yet?
I read cookbooks all the time.....even in bed (I feel like I should say my name first and be holding my hand up making that admission....) One of my bedtime favs is Nigel Slater. In his wonderful Eating for England he mentions lardy cake.
"The thin layer of grease that forms on your fingers, and more to the point licking it off, is all part of the attraction".
Now I dont have a sweet tooth, so a cake that involves finger licking fat is strangely attractive.....when I found a recipe in my vintage Delia Smith Book of Cakes circa 1977, I knew I had to get baking. I was sent this by my dear friend Tiffany, on holiday in Devon she saw this in a vintage shop and thought of me, aren't  pals great? I am especially pleased as Lardy Cake hails from Wiltshire (according to Jane Grigson in her fabulous English Food, buy this book. Soon please.) We spent many Christian festivals at Tiff's mum Estelle and step-father Dave's very welcoming house. I love how food and recipes make those personal connections.....

Yes, blah blah, happy memories, it's still a lard cake!? Actually it is a yeasted dough, which is also a highlight for me, as I LOVE working with yeast. The smell, the feel of the dough, the amazing way it rises, as if magic is at work........and this from someone who does not eat a huge amount of bread. I tried to convince myself I was essentially creating a brioche type dough, but instead of beating in butter, my fat of choice is lard..........hmmm, brioche does sound slightly more palatable than pig fat buns.........! But everything sounds better in French, non?

In reality it is more like making pastry, in that the dough is dotted with the fat & sugar/fruit mix, rolled up and rolled out, then the process is repeated. You are cramming as much fruit and fat as the dough can cannot be mean and make lardy cake, it is a fat generous creation in every sense of the word.

So is it like eating a bacon bun? No,  it is delicious. Seriously. Rich, fruity, spicy, the crust oh my, crispy, with bits of current & sticky sultana, the real finger licking tasted great. Old fashioned and substantial. I ate a warm slice and felt I should go and plow a field immediately. Actually I was doing my tax return, so did need a bit of fortifying....... No doubt the low-fat food police would have my guts for haggis, but  I dont eat a lot of cake, and when I do I want it to taste of something other than sugar. I took half over to my parents for afternoon tea, they enjoyed it to.

Go on, try something different. I dare you to turn up at the school cake stall with lard cake. Cupcakes are so last year.........

Old Fashioned Lardy Cake-Delia Smith's Book of Cakes


450 grams plain flour
2 tsp salt
10 grams of lard (I use Havoc, from happy pigs.........well, they were until someone made them into lard...)
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried yeast
275 mls hand hot water


150 grams of lard

Mix together:
110 grams brown sugar
1/2 tsp mixed spice
75 grams currents
75 grams sultanas

Mix the sugar & yeast into the water and leave in a warm spot for 10 minutes until it is frothy. Meanwhile rub the lard into the sifted flour and salt. Mix the liquid into the flour, either in a machine, or with a knife, turning out onto a floured bench and kneading for 7-10 minutes if you are doing it by hand (I use about 8 minutes with the dough hook in my kitchen-aid) Put in a covered bowl, and leave to rise for 1-2 hours until doubled in size ( I put the bowl next to the heater)
When the dough is ready, take out of the bowl, and knead again for about 30 seconds on a floured bench. Roll out to a long rectangle, about 3 times longer than it is wide, then sprinkle a third of your sugar fruit mix and a third of your lard over it. Roll up like a jam roll, then press your rolling pin down on either end to seal in the filling, and roll out to approx the same size you originally had. Repeat the process twice more, rolling out for the final time to about the size of your cooking tin. I use a non stick 24cm square brownie pan. Place the dough into the tin, and score the top (as you would for crackling, of course!)
Leave covered back by the heater for another 45 mins or so, then pop into the oven, pre heated to 200C for 30 minutes until risen and golden. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, brushing with a tablespoon of sugar dissolved in a tablespoon of water, then turn out onto a rack. The cake cools upside down, to allow the fat to run through (yes, sounds a bit grim, but tastes fabulous....) Slice and serve, no butter required...... and you dont hear me say that very often......


  1. mmmmmmm it does look good but lard ?? .... I am making a pizza tonight inspired by your middle eastern one so thanks for the idea :)

  2. I know, it's a tougher sell than fairy cakes thats for sure!
    Yay, I am having the same thing, is it sad it is 3pm and all I can think about is dinner?:)

  3. I think in our society/culture we've developed this big aversion to lard (even the name doesn't sound very nice) but I guess anything in moderation would be OK! I wouldn't have thought to bake something sweet with it but I'm a little curious now :)

  4. Surely lard is no worse for you than butter and you would sure as eggs use more butter than that when baking.

  5. I agree Millie, even the word lardy is used in a derogatory way referring to weight, and yet Rockshell you are totally right, I use twice that amount of butter making Brownies. Call me old fashioned (and obviously I am!) but moderation really is the key, rather than demonising any one's that kind of thinking that gave us the muesli bar and low-fat muffin, noooooo!:)

  6. Worth a try as terribly gorgeous. I grew up on the stuff in England!!!

    1. Me too, it is delicious. Once tried you will be wanting more, I promise!

  7. I work in a bakery. It's one of our best sellers. Going to make (attempt) my own for my hubby ;)

    1. What bakery and where? Will they mail this if I live too far away.

  8. Just making a batch of Halal Lardy Cake for my Muslim colleagues with Cookeen/Butter. The Cookeen makes the lard look rather delicious in comparison.

  9. sounds abfab cant wait to make this

  10. OMG......I have not had Lardy Cake since I lived in England I can't wait to make this. It is one of my fondest childhood memories

  11. I just made this, it's cooling in the pan as I write. I can feel my arteries hardening already and oddly I don't care. Can't wait for the sugar to cool enough to sink my teeth into it. This has to be comfort food at it's most indulgent and glorious. Thank you Brits for making us love fat.

  12. omg I used to buy this in witney when I was at college, its delicious ide forgotton about till paul Hollywood baked on tv today , I must give it a go ..

  13. I still make it occasionally, have done for nearly 50 years and love it !

  14. PLEASE tell this clueless American what "mixed spice" is. We devoured a weekly lardy cake when we lived near Wantage in 1972; when we returned to England in 1980 and lived in Cambridge no one knew what we wanted! The internet is so great, thanks for this luscious recipe, this is going to be a Christmas gift for my family.

    1. Lucky family! Mixed Spice is a pretty mixed combination of spices, the ingredientsIstanbul on mine has Cinnamon, coriander, clove, ginger & nutmeg, very festive!


I'd love to hear what you have to say, please feel free to comment:)