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Dec 28, 2013

Lardy Cake

Lardy Cake from Karen's Kitchen Stories

"Lardy Cake." Is it a cake? Is it a bread? This might be a Saturday Night Live Shimmer skit.

Lardy cake is actually a yeasted sweet bread originating from southern England. It is also known as Lardy Bread as well as many other names, according to the Interwebs (just do a search on "lardy cake"). Evidently, it is a tea time and holiday treat, originally made with yeasted dough, lard, spices, and dried fruit.

This is a "modern" lardy cake recipe, which substitutes butter for the lard. The recipe for this dough contains only 35 grams of fat (a little over 2 T), in this case, butter. The filling contains 100 grams of butter (a little more than 1/2 C).

Lardy Cake from Karen's Kitchen Stories

This bread/cake was chosen by Lien of Notitie van Lien of The Bread Baking Babes for the December Bread for the Babes and Buddies to bake. Check out her post for fabulous step-by-step photo instructions to create this great laminated dough. I forgot to add the raisins (I weighed them and then discovered them sitting on the scale after I had layered the dough), and the bread was fine without them.

The flavor is comparable to cinnamon rolls, but much lighter. The bread is delicate and ethereal, with layers that you can peel off and enjoy... and it's way easier than croissants.

Lardy Cake from Karen's Kitchen Stories

Lardy Cake



375 g bread flour
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 T sugar
3/4 tsp salt
35 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
200+ ml milk, warmed to about 100 degrees F (I had to use a bit more as it was a very stiff dough)


100 g butter, softened
75 g dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
75 g raisins (I left these out)

1 egg, for a glaze


  1. Mix the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer, place it in an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket, and allow to rise, covered, until doubled. Mine took about an hour. The dough can also be kneaded by hand. 
  2. While the dough is rising, prepare a 9 inch cake pan or springform pan by spraying it with spray oil, and lining the bottom with parchment. Spray the parchment. 
  3. Mix the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg with a spoon until creamy. Add the raisins if using. 
  4. Roll the dough out onto your counter to a 10" by 20" rectangle. 
  5. Spread the filling over 2/3 of the rolled out dough (lengthwise). 
  6. Take the part of the dough that does not have filling on it and fold it over to cover half of the filling on the rest of the dough. Fold the other side over the first fold, like an envelope. Pinch all of the seams closed. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes. 
  7. Using a rolling pin and your hands, gently roll and press the dough into a 12" by 6" rectangle, fold it into thirds, cover with plastic, and let it rest for 5 minutes. 
  8. Repeat three more times. Work gently with the dough so that the dough does not break and you squeeze out all of the filling. A bit of mine squished out, but not too much. You can also patch holes as needed.
  9. Once you have finished folding the dough, press it into the cake pan as best you can. It will fill in the gaps when rising and in the oven. 
  10. Cover with plastic and allow to rise until doubled. Mine took about an hour.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  12. Lightly slash the dough with a sharp razor or knife (I'm not sure why) in a cross hatch pattern, and brush with the egg wash. 
  13. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until an instant read thermometer reads about 185 to 190 degrees F, and the top is a deep golden brown. 
  14. Allow the bread/cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, and then remove from the pan, peel off the parchment, and allow to cool on a wire rack. 
  15. Serve warm or at room temperature. 
This recipe is from Warm Bread and Honey Cake: Home Baking from Around the World.

Update: I'm pretty excited to report that an English friend from the Artisan Bread Bakers Facebook page let me know that Lardy Cake is "a traditional West Country tea bread with slightly different recipes from different counties." Mine, without the raisins, is similar to those from Hampshire. So there you go!!!

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Would you like to comment?

  1. Sounds wonderful! Thanks for subbing the butter for the lard. Will have to try,

    Since I am living in the South, I thought this was the Southern pronunciation of "Oh Lordy!"

  2. Looks great Karen thin flaky layers ... You know I was reading one time and was surprise to learn that Lard has less saturated fat than butter... still didn't try it yet

    1. It is coming back into vogue in some circles, as long as it's water rendered and not hydrogenated. If you have a good butcher who will give you quality fat, I hear you can make it yourself. Definitely better than shortening.

  3. Thanx for sharing this Karen! One clarification we need: when you mention "fold it into thirds" after we press the dough down for the first time, what should we do?Fold it in 3 equal parts?(It's the language barrier that makes it a bit tough to get this:) )

    1. I understand. It is hard to describe! There are some nice photos on Lien's blog. Here is a link. I hope this helps.

  4. Delicious! I've always been intrigued by lardy cakes because of the name..

    1. I had never heard of them but I'm glad I was introduced.

  5. Karen this is truely a gorgeous Lardy Cake-Bread. Golden colour and beautiful layers. Thanks for baking with us!

  6. This sounds great. I've never heard of this before but I'm going to have to try it now. Thanks for introducing me to a new recipe.

  7. I decree that it's bread. And fabulous bread too. Yours looks particularly brilliant. I wish mine had gotten that kind of loft!

    1. Bread it is! I had some good luck. Maybe it was the instant yeast? Thanks so much!

  8. Yours is beautiful! It is a bread but definitely the perfect breakfast and snack food! I loved it and now seeing yours I want to make it again! Yours is so fluffy! Happy New Year!

  9. Yes, all those layers, peeling them off one at a time ... sigh, if I were able to bake right this minute I'd make this one again and maybe without the dried fruit.
    Well done.

  10. I want to make this with lard. Do I simply substitute the butter?


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