The Perfect Lardy Cake Recipe – Just 8 Steps!

by Ella

Lardy cake, a traditional British delicacy, is a rich and indulgent pastry that has been enjoyed for centuries. Made with layers of dough, lard, sugar, and dried fruit, this sweet treat offers a comforting blend of flavors and textures. While the name may evoke images of heavy grease, lardy cake is surprisingly light and airy when baked to perfection. In this article, we will explore the art of making lardy cake from scratch, providing step-by-step instructions and tips for achieving the perfect balance of sweetness and richness.

Lardy cake, also known as lardy bread or lardy Johns, has its roots in British culinary history, particularly in regions like the West Country and the Midlands. Historically, lard was a common ingredient in British baking, prized for its ability to create light and flaky pastries. While the use of lard has declined in modern cooking, lardy cake remains a beloved traditional treat, often enjoyed with a cup of tea or as a festive dessert.


The key to a delicious lardy cake lies in the quality of the ingredients and the careful technique used in its preparation. From the rich layers of dough to the sweet filling of lard, sugar, and dried fruit, each component contributes to the overall flavor and texture of this classic pastry.


Lardy Cake Recipe


Before diving into the recipe, let’s take a look at the ingredients needed to make lardy cake:

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 7g fast-action dried yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 300ml warm water
  • 100g lard, softened
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 150g mixed dried fruit (such as raisins, currants, and sultanas)
  • Ground cinnamon (optional, for sprinkling)


Now, let’s walk through the step-by-step process of making lardy cake:


1. Prepare the Dough

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt.

Gradually add the warm water, stirring until a rough dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

2. Roll Out the Dough

Once the dough has risen, punch it down to deflate it, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle approximately 1cm thick.

3. Prepare the Filling

In a small bowl, mix together the softened lard and butter until well combined.

Spread the lard and butter mixture evenly over the surface of the rolled-out dough.

Sprinkle the brown sugar and dried fruit evenly over the lard and butter mixture.

4. Roll Up the Dough

Starting from one long edge, carefully roll the dough into a tight cylinder.

Pinch the seam to seal, then use a sharp knife to cut the cylinder into slices approximately 2-3cm thick.

5. Arrange in a Baking Dish

Grease a deep baking dish with a little extra lard or butter.

Arrange the slices of dough in the baking dish, placing them close together to form a single layer.

6. Let Rise Again

Cover the baking dish with a clean kitchen towel and let the lardy cake rise in a warm, draft-free place for another 30-45 minutes, or until puffed up and slightly expanded.

7. Bake

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

Once the lardy cake has risen, sprinkle the top with ground cinnamon, if desired.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.

Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.

8. Serve and Enjoy

Lardy cake is best enjoyed warm, either on its own or with a dollop of clotted cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Serve slices of lardy cake alongside a cup of tea or coffee for a delightful afternoon treat or dessert.

Tips for Success

Use high-quality lard and butter for the best flavor and texture.

Don’t skip the step of letting the dough rise—it’s essential for creating a light and airy pastry.

Experiment with different types of dried fruit or add nuts for extra flavor and texture.

Store leftover lardy cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or freeze for longer storage.

See Also: Can You Use Olive Oil for Baking a Cake


Making lardy cake from scratch is a rewarding culinary experience that allows you to savor the rich and comforting flavors of this traditional British pastry. By following the step-by-step instructions provided in this article and incorporating high-quality ingredients, you can create a lardy cake that is sure to impress family and friends alike.

Whether enjoyed as an afternoon treat, a festive dessert, or simply as a comforting indulgence, lardy cake offers a taste of nostalgia and tradition that is sure to delight your taste buds. So why not roll up your sleeves, preheat the oven, and embark on a delicious baking adventure? Your efforts will be rewarded with a delightful pastry that captures the essence of British culinary heritage.



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