Traditional Lardy Cake Round

Know one really knows where the recipe originates from but Lardy Cake has been popular in Wiltshire and the West Country for decades. Also known locally as 'Shaley Cake' or 'Lardy Johns', it was traditionally served hot with afternoon tea on Saturdays and Sundays. The main ingredients are lard, white dough and sugar, although there are many variations of the recipe. Several West Country bakers still bake it today using their own particular ingredients.

Ingredients for Wiltshire Lardy Cake

  • 450 grams (1 lb) of pre-prepared white bread dough
  • 175 grams (6 oz) lard
  • Granulated sugar, to taste
  • 175 grams (6 oz) mixed sultanas and currants (optional)
  • 50 grams (2 oz) chopped mixed peel (optional)
  • Mixed Spice (optional)

How to Make Wiltshire Lardy Cake

  1. Make and prepare the white bread dough.
  2. Roll the dough on a floured pastry-board to about 0.5 cm (1/4 inch) deep.
  3. Put dabs of lard (about the size of half a walnut) on the dough, spaced at about 2.5 cm (1 inch).
  4. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and spices (if used) and a third of the mixed fruit, peel and spices (if used).
  5. Fold into three from the ends and then into three from the sides.
  6. Turn the dough through 90° and roll it out again.
  7. Repeat this process twice, each time putting on dabs of lard, spices, sugar and dried fruit.
  8. After three foldings and lardings, roll out and shape to fit the size of your baking-tin.
  9. Cover and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes to rise.
  10. Score across the dough with a knife, and bake in a moderate oven (220°C / 425°F / Gas mark 7) for 30 minutes or until well risen and golden brown.

Serving Suggestions

Serve warm or cold, with or without butter.

Other recipes to try: Eccles Cakes | Victoria Sponge | Recipe Index

Recipe by Debbie (from Cheltenham)

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