Lardy cake is a traditional English tea bread enriched with lard, sugar, spices and dried fruit. It originates from Wiltshire and is commonly found throughout the West Country. Historically, lardy cakes were celebration cakes and only made during special occasions as sugar, spices and dried fruits were considered luxuries.
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The relatively high fat content of lardy cakes means they will stay moist for longer than traditional cakes. However, it's best to keep them stored in airtight containers.
Lardy cakes have a layered texture due to a multiple rolling and folding process. Yeast is used as a leavener to give the cake its risen, fluffy texture. Most recipes will instruct you to prove the dough several times before it’s rolled, filled and folded. Some recipes simply require the sugar, spices and dried fruit to be sprinkled over the dough, whereas in others the butter is beaten together with the other ingredients and spread over the dough. If using the latter method, be careful not to spread too thick a layer of filling over the dough, or much of the filling will be squeezed out when the dough is folded and rolled. Lardy cakes are usually brushed with beaten egg before baking, for a glazed exterior.