Food! Lardy Cake. Warning an Addictive and Fattening Recipe! From Wiltshire and Berkshire, I find it Irresistible.

Plumptious Delights

Lardy Cake showing the diamond cut golden brown crust.
Lardy Cake showing the diamond cut golden brown crust.
The Muffin Man with his bell Apart from modern cloths this picture from Victorian times is just how our Twyford Muffin Man looked,   Pic courtesy Wikipedia
The Muffin Man with his bell Apart from modern cloths this picture from Victorian times is just how our Twyford Muffin Man looked, Pic courtesy Wikipedia
Wiltshire Village Bakery in Bedwyn in the Savernake Forest. Sadly the shelves look bare.
Wiltshire Village Bakery in Bedwyn in the Savernake Forest. Sadly the shelves look bare.
Lardy Cake showing the rich, layered Interior.
Lardy Cake showing the rich, layered Interior.
Lardy Cake and Whisky Sauce at  The Waterside, Bray a prestigious Thames side restaurant at Bray in Berkshire
Lardy Cake and Whisky Sauce at The Waterside, Bray a prestigious Thames side restaurant at Bray in Berkshire

Warm crusty Delight

Lardy cake is not for any one concerned about their weight or any one allergic to gluten, or diabetic. Lardy Cake is for Trenchermen who appreciate the warm, crispy, toffee like ooziness. Lardy Cake is traditional in Wiltshire in the South West of England This is because Wiltshire is a county famous for pig breeding. Lard is rendered pig fat.. As a girl I lived in Berkshire, an adjoining county, in what was then a little rural town called Twyford. It was a sleepy little farming community. Here William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, lived before he left for greener pastures in the New World. The River Loddon split in two and gave the village its name. As children we fished in the river as it meandered its way to join the busy Thames. Kingfishers darted from bush to bush, grass snakes slithered into its gentle current to swim from bank to bank. Perch, Gudgeon, Tench, and Roach drifted by joined by Barbel at the Weir where it joined the Thames at St Patrick's stream. The village was a sleepy, peaceful place in those days not like the busy, dormitory town, full of commuters to London, that it is now.

But I digress. In the village center, next to the pub and the fishing gear shop was a Bakery, a real old bakery where bread was baked in round, wood fired brick ovens every day except for Sunday. The Bakery also had a Muffin Man who would walk around the village ringing his bell and carrying a tray of freshly baked, delicious muffins on his head. Not the cup cake kind but flat English ones. There is an old nursery rhyme "Do you know the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man, who lives in Drury Lane"? ( see below) Well our village had a real one, he could have been the last of a dying breed. The point of this story though is the Lardy Cake. It was baked several times a week. One sniff of the smell of warm lardy cake and you will never forget it. The richness of the aroma will be lodged in your being forever, rather like a whiff of Lavender, you know instantly what it is.

Lardy cake is made from plain white bread dough, just like the dough used to make the standard loaves of bread. The baker taught me how to make it and he gave me a pound of risen dough to take home. The dough is rolled into an oblong about a half inch thick and about twice as long as it is wide. chunks of lard (sorry dieters!) are then placed on half of the dough along with brown sugar, spices and dried fruit, The oblong dough is the folded in half, turned 90 degrees (quarter turn) and rolled again where the process is repeated. Another layer of lard, fruit, sugar and spice is then placed on the enriched dough which is formed into a shape to fit a greased baking tin. The plump little loaf is then lovingly coated with honey and marked inti diamonds with a blunt knife so as to dent it rather than cut it. The completed delight is then offered up to a hot oven for just over half an hour.

When baked, the lardy cake will be a rich brown, not dark, not light but gleaming with plumptiousness. Most people turn it over in the baking tray to soak up the rich toffee like sauce but if you are a dieter you may skip this step. Lardy cake should be served warm at any time of the day for a very satisfying snack (with the calories of a meal!). It is often served at tea time. Should you be fortunate enough to be invited to tea on the Buckingham Palace lawn with her Majesty the Queen, I have it on good authority that Lardy cake is served there. Sadly, recipes like this do not fit into today's calorie conscious way of eating. I make no excuse for publishing it here. This is a treat these days, hence it is being served at high end restaurants. I am sure that when the Lardy Cake was first made in the olden days, it was probably just a way to use up left over bread dough. How so ever it was invented, It is worth bringing to your attention, so you can try it for yourself in all its deliciousness. I hope you enjoy it.

Bread Dough

Half Lb Strong White Bread Flour

1 tsp dried yeast Pinch of salt Qtr pint warm water

Filling

Spices: Cinnamon Nutmeg Allspice Quarter Lb Lard Dark brown sugar

1oz Sultanas 1 oz Raisins 1 oz Currents 1 oz Candied Peel (if liked) Chopped

Method

Mix yeast with a little brown sugar and add to warm water, when bubbles start to form, add to flour and pinch of salt, mix well then knead until elastic dough is formed. Leave in a warm place covered with a tea towel until dough has doubled in size You may like to start the dough in a bread maker

Take the dough and shape and fill as described above, adding sugar to taste or not at all. Place in a greased baking tin. Score into diamonds. Glaze with a little honey.

Bake in a hot oven, 425 F gas mark 7 until golden brown for about 35 to 40 minutes. Some people like to turn the cake upside down so that all the juices are absorbed into the cake while it cools slightly.

Cut into thick slices and serve warm. Also good as a dessert served with custard or ice cream .


Photos 2-5 courtesy Flikr.





The Muffin Man

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Comments 38 comments

Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

"gleaming with plumptiousness" - I want it! It sound like a fantastic snack. I'm game. I think I'm going to try this here at some point. Thanks for the share!


Kushal Poddar profile image

Kushal Poddar 7 years ago from Kolkata,India

Yummy and learning... I had a beautiful read.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hi Frieda Guaranteed gorgeus gobblings!

Hi Kushal my friend, glad you enjoyed it.


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall

Aww Gypsy, I dearly like a slice of Lardy cake..thanks for the recipe. bookmarking!!


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hey, Hawkesdream, make one with your grandson, Kids love dough and bread dough is warm and aive. You would enjoy the aroma while it's baking. Save a slice for me and I'll be over! Thanks for the comment.


Ivan the Terrible profile image

Ivan the Terrible 7 years ago from Madrid

Yep, just what I need to get me off my regimen! Oh well, if it doesn't kill you...

Ha-ha!


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Well what's one moment of supreme happiness in a life time? Thanks for the comment!


jim10 profile image

jim10 7 years ago from ma

This sounds and looks fantastic. I have never heard of it before. Thanks for the recipe.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hi Jim I hope you get to try it, you won't be disappointed. Save a slice for me! Thanks for the comment!


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall

You are welcome anytime, Gypsy. Kettle always on ...lol


Paper Moon profile image

Paper Moon 7 years ago from In the clouds

Do you serve it with tea or coffee?


Gypsy Willow 7 years ago

That is one way, but as you can see in the photo of "The Waterside" at Bray. this upscale restaurant is serving it with whisky sauce and ice cream as dessert. A cheaper alternative would be Birds custard, the kind you make with powder and milk.. Anyway you serve it, it is delicious! Thanks for the comment


Litany Notch profile image

Litany Notch 7 years ago from South UK

Lardy cake is gorgeous, especially warm straight from the bakery. Luckily it's not that popular in Devon - I just have to watch out for the clotted cream teas and Cornish Pastys!


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Not many people have tried it so thanks for the recommendation!.


Ivan the Terrible profile image

Ivan the Terrible 7 years ago from Madrid

You know, until Napoleon's forces stole all those ancient Spanish recipes, English cooks were the most famous in the world. Flavor had a lot to do with it, and I still love going to the coast and eating the simple, tasty delights served in Pubs owned by English expats. Do you have an easy recipe for toad in the hole?


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Dear Ivan, thanks for the comment. I shall write a hub specially for you for Toad in the Hole. I haven't made it in a while but I love it too. I think the old fashioned British cooking is great. I just don't cook vegetables as much as my Mum used to. It is much maligned, but then f you haven't had things like Toad in the hole or steamed bacon roll, you don't know what you've missed! (Don't say heart attack!)


Mountain Blossoms profile image

Mountain Blossoms 7 years ago from SE Thailand

Oh my heavens Gypsy Willow, how that takes me back!! I remember our little bakery in Hursley producing such delicious Lardies that people came for them from as far away as Wales! And when my brother-in-law moved from near Winchester to Cambridge, we were forbidden to visit unless we took at least 2!!!

The old recipes were definitely the best. I sometimes think if we ate as they did in the pre-war days we could include such goodies occasionally. People ate cakes and puddings to top up a meagre diet. Oh I could go on all day. Thanks so much.

And thank you for becoming a fan for my hub too.


Mountain Blossoms profile image

Mountain Blossoms 7 years ago from SE Thailand

Oh my heavens Gypsy Willow, how that takes me back!! I remember our little bakery in Hursley producing such delicious Lardies that people came for them from as far away as Wales! And when my brother-in-law moved from near Winchester to Cambridge, we were forbidden to visit unless we took at least 2!!!

The old recipes were definitely the best. I sometimes think if we ate as they did in the pre-war days we could include such goodies occasionally. People ate cakes and puddings to top up a meagre diet. Oh I could go on all day. Thanks so much.

And thank you for becoming a fan for my hub too.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hi Mountain Blossoms (what a lovely name!)One of the reasons I am writing this series of recipes is because people don't eat like they used to and I wanted to capture the old recipes. It is a long time since I lived near Twyford so I don't know if the old bakery is still there and you can bet the Muffin Man doesn't ply the streets any more ringing his bell. I feel I have lived in two different worlds as I was one of the first computer programmers in the UK back in the early sixties and now look at us!!!


scarytaff profile image

scarytaff 6 years ago from South Wales

I haven't seen lardy cake since I was a lad in the fifties. Our local bakery used to make it. I'm giving it a try when my wife is out of the house. She'll freak with all that lard.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

A little of what you fancy does you good! The smell of it cooking drives me nuts! Good luck!


Shaz123 profile image

Shaz123 6 years ago

Oh That's Great Gypsy Willow , thanks for sharing a wonderful thing . i like it very much.

And one more thing GYPSY WILLOW u want to buy my designs ?

If yes than contact with me in private Ok

Thanks

Regards

SHAZ


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Thanks for the comment, Shaz. I will bear that in mind.


lastwordlinda 6 years ago

Well, I'm hungry now. I am going to make this for my husband. His mother was British and he is always telling me stories of the things she made when he was young, all of them involving lard, suet etc. I think if you eat properly it's ok to indulge in something like this once in awhile. (she said with her best pious and self-rightous face on)


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Good for you! I'm sure he will love it. We were brought up on it and no bad consequences yet, touch wood!Have you checked out my other old fashioned Brit recipes? Thanks for stopping by.


dragonbear profile image

dragonbear 6 years ago from Essex UK

Another delight! One I never resist if I see it in a traditional bakers; but looks good and easy to make too. Thanks for a great hub!


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hello again dragonbear. It is a delight to make and filling your home with that delicious aroma too. I can smell it as I write! Thanks for the comment.


Jamiehousehusband profile image

Jamiehousehusband 6 years ago from Derbyshire, UK

You can't buy it now, shamey. We used to call it lardy loaf, not cake. I'll give this a try as I love it. Do you remember rum babas?


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hi Jamie, don't need to remember, my D in Law is French and we are still treated to them from time to time. Delicious! You can't even buy lard here. I think it is one of the world's best smells when it's cooking! Easy enough to make, save some for me! (please!)


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

Sounds fantastic, can't wait to give it a go. I do love to bake. Thanks and Peace :)


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hope you're not watching your waistline! Do try it, the smell while it's baking is worth the trouble. Thanks for coming by.


john syrad 5 years ago

love it im from reading and have moved to wales so many things i miss you cant buy lardy cake here for love nor money but now im going to let the whole of wales smell lardy cake as i cook it many thanks


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

I'm from Wales and went to school in Reading. I wonder if you can still buy it in Twyford? Can't wait to smell it next time I visit Wales! Thanks for dropping by!


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

PS Did you know that your last name is a very ancient one? Try googling it.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa

I think I could get addicted! This sounds so wonderfully scrumptious and plumptious (love that word)!

Diets and the rest be damned I'm bookmarking this to try out right soon!

Loved the story about Twyford too, thanks for sharing that.

Love and peace

Tony


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hi Tony, you will not be disappointed! The smell of it cooking is alone worth the effort let alone kneading the dough to make it. All in all a sensory overload! Love and Peace to you too. Gypsy


Rachel Richmond profile image

Rachel Richmond 4 years ago from California

OMG, I will have to try this recipe. And I knew that nursery rhyme had to come from somewhere. (Learning something new everyday.) Lovely hub :)


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Thank you RAchel, the smell of baking lardycake is worth the trouble alone. Eating it is certain pleasure.

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