These lardy cakes from the West Country Cookbook are a bit of a throwback, in the best possible way. You very rarely see them in shops anymore; probably because there are very few artisan bakeries still around. Nowadays you are much more likely to see danish pastries and croissants on bakery shelves than lardy cakes. Tom said that Lardy Cakes are one of his fondest childhood memories, and although they aren’t really something we had in Australia, they’re a bit like something from a Famous Five book. These cakes are perfect straight from the oven, either for breakfast or a sneaky afternoon snack. They’re just the right level of sweet: the dough only has enough sugar to activate the yeast, so all the sweetness comes from the filling when you roll them up.
Lard is definitely an ingredient that has got a bit of a bad name, with everyone trying to avoid fats and saturated fats. I’m not going to pretend it’s really good for you, but you have to do everything in moderation, and these cakes are definitely worth it. (Also, per 100g butter actually has more saturated fat, and, as anyone who watches the Great British Bake Off will know, an awful lot of butter goes into those laminated danish pastries!)
Tom Kerridge grew up in Gloucester, and has been working in the catering industry for over 20 years. Despite describing himself as “not a michelin star kind of guy” his gastropub The Hand and Flowers, in Buckinghamshire, was the first ever pub to be awarded two michelin stars. These lardy cakes are a really great example of the way Tom likes to cook: The Hand and Flowers serves hearty, down to earth, but incredibly high quality and delicious dishes. It is also still the only pub in the UK with two stars, so definitely check it out!
Tom Kerridge’s Gloucester Lardy Cakes with Nutmeg
PREP: 1 hour COOKING: 25 minutes CHILL: Overnight
14g dried yeast
85ml warm full-fat milk
2 tsp sat
6 large eggs
340g soft butter (plus extra for lining the ramekins)
1/2 freshly grated nutmeg
300g Demerara sugar
250g lard (plus extra for topping)
Stir the yeast, milk, salt, flour, eggs and sugar together. Add the butter slowly until everything is combined. Cover with cling film and leave to prove for 2 hours. Knock back the dough and refrigerate overnight.
On a hard floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle.
Scatter with the sugar, lard and currants, then grate the nutmeg over the top. Roll up the dough to form a cylinder, the same diameter as your ramekins. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Remove cling film and cut the dough into 5cm-thick slices to fit snugly into the buttered ramekins.
Add a little more lard and sugar on the top.
Cover with cling film again and leave to prove for 1-2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden in colour.