Lardy Cake

Lardy Cake is a traditional British cake which is very popular in the North of England. It is dense and rich with fruit, spices and lard. Serve it sliced with butter for tea or with morning coffee.

8-

1 tablespoon butter i oz. fresh yeast

1 oz. sugar

1 ½ oz. lukewarm water

1 lb. flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

4 oz. lard, cut into small pieces

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoon ground ginger

12 oz. currants

3 tablespoons sugar dissolved in

3 tablespoons water

With the butter, grease an 8-inch round cake tin.

Crumble the yeast into a small bowl and mash in

2 teaspoon of the sugar with a fork. Add

1 tablespoon of the water and cream the water and yeast together. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for

15 to 20 minutes or until the yeast is pulled up and frothy.

Sift the flour and salt into a warm large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture, oil and the remaining water.

Using a spatula, gradually draw the flour mixture into the liquids. Continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured board or marble slab and knead it for 10 minutes, reflouring the surface if the dough becomes sticky. The dough should be clastic and smooth.

Rinse, thoroughly dry and lightly grease the mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl. Dust the top of the dough with a little flour and cover the bowl with a clean damp cloth. Set the bowl in a warm, draught-free place and leave it for 1 to 12 hours or until the dough has risen and almost doubled in bulk.

Turn the risen dough out of the bowl on to a floured surface and knead it for 10 minutes.

Roll the dough out with a rolling pin until it forms an oblong, J-inch thick and three times as long as it is wide.

Place the oblong of dough so that the narrow end faces you. Sprinkle the upper two-thirds of the dough with half of the lard, the remaining sugar, the nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and currants. Starting at the bottom end, fold the bottom third up and the top third over it to form an envelope shape. Turn the dough so that the open end faces you. Lightly press the edges to seal them. Roll the dough out again and repeat the process with the remaining lard, sugar, spices and dried fruit, folding the dough again in the same way. Turn, seal and roll out the dough to fit the prepared tin. Place the dough in the tin, cover and return it to a warm place for 40 to 45 minutes or until it has almost doubled in bulk.

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 400°F (Gas Mark 6, 200°C).

Place the tin in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until it is well risen and golden brown.

Ten minutes before the cooking time is up, with a pastry brush, brush the cake with the glaze.

Remove the tin from the oven and turn the cake on to a wire rack.

Cool completely before serving.

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