The Fresh Loaf

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Lardy Cake - plus a Chinese pastry that shares some similar traits

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txfarmer's picture

Lardy Cake - plus a Chinese pastry that shares some similar traits


Another yummy loaf from Dan Lepard's "A Handmade Loaf". According to Wiki:

"Lardy cake, also known as Lardy bread, Lardy Johns, Dough cake and Fourses cake is a traditional rich spiced form of bread originating in Wiltshire in the South West of England, which has also been popular throughout the West Country and in Oxford and Suffolk.

The main ingredients are freshly rendered lard, flour, sugar, spices, currants and raisins."

As I was reading this and the formula on how it's shaped, I was struck by how similar it is to some Chinese traditional pastries. Lard was the main fat in Chinese cooking for a long time. In fact, I have fond memories of lots of traditional foods such as "lard veggie rice", "lard sugar pastries", "lard sticky rice cake", etc.  In another word, I am not "lard-phobic" like some, in fact, I probably like my pork and pork fat as much as Homer Simpson!

The recipe is pretty quick and easy since it's mostly raised by dry yeast, with some white starter to boost flavor. My only changes are: to use instant dry yeast rather than fresh, and 100% starter rather than 80% in the book.

Lardy Cake (Adapted From "A Handmade Loaf")

bread flour, 500g

salt, 10g

white starter (100%), 220g

water, 230g

instant dry yeast, 5g

lard, 150g, thin slices

powder sugar, 150g

nutmeg & powdered sugar to springkle on top

1. mix flour, salt, starter, water, autolyse, mix until smooth

2. bulk rise at room temp (70F - 77F) for 1.5 hours until double

3. roll out into rectangle, thickness about 1/2inch, spread lard pieces on 2/3 of the rectangle, then spread sugar on top.

4. fold the uncovered 1/3 to on top of the middle 1/3

5. fold to the left again to encase all of the fillings. press to seal

6. turn 90 degrees, roll out, and do the same letter fold again

7. put in a cool place (I put in fridge) for 30min to relax

8. roll out into a rectangle again, then roll up from the long side like a jelly roll

9. cut in the middle, roll one of them into a spiral, cut side up

10. put in a 10inch round mold, and continue the spiral with the other half of the dough, cut side up.

11. cover and rise until double, about 1 hour at 77F.

12. springkle with nutmeg and more sugar

13. bake at 400F for 20min, then 350 for 40min

14. cool in pan for 15min then cool on rack. some lard will leak out, I have seen instructions saying to cool the bread upside down so lard can be absorbed back into the loaf, if you want maximum lard impact, it's worth a try.



You must like the taste of lard in order to like this bread, I love it! However, it does need to be reheated (<1min in microwave will do) before eating, the combo of lard and sugar is heavenly when warm. When cold, it's just too greasy.


It reminds me of a childhood favorite: "lard sugar pastry", also full of lard, laminated, with sugar inside, burned my mouth many times eating it, but I couldn't wait for it to cool. But that pastry didn't have yeast, it was more like a danish dough.


Who knew English and Chinese foods are so similar? :P


Just to compare, here's some Chinese laminated pastries(抹茶酥) using lard as fat (no yeast), the filling here is red bean paste. I added matcha powder (green tea) in the dough, so they are green.


MadAboutB8's picture

Looks really yummy, Txfarmer.

It's very interesting to see that lard is used to laminate the dough much like butter is for danish/croissants. I also like the idea of green tea laminated dough with red bean paste, which is now in my to-make list (and moved to the top 3 of priority list too). Thanks for sharing this.



txfarmer's picture


breadsong's picture

Hello txfarmer, Those green-tea laminated pastries are beautiful! I don't mean to sidetrack on your post but your pastries remind me of a cookie dough from a few years back, from Martha Stewart; shortbread dough with green tea powder mixed in (I tried making them using chai-spiced green tea which added a nice flavor to the cookie).
You bake such beautiful things - thanks for sharing your photos!
from breadsong

txfarmer's picture

Yeah, I baked those green tea shortbread cookies before, but not her recipe, they are very good!

teketeke's picture

That is  great looking pastries, Txfarmer!

I have 3 little cans of 抹茶 that my friend sent me for last Christmas. I was about to make macaroon when I get amond flour, but your macha lardy cake is  inspiring.   It is truly beautiful.

Best wishes,


txfarmer's picture

I have never made macaroon yet, always want to, but I don't like how shockingly sweet they are, so have been dragging my feet making them.

teketeke's picture

Yes, I agree with you talking about the macaroon or macaron's ( Japanese calls it macaron) sugar amount.  When I see the percentage of macaron that I am going to make is 200% sugar as to 100% white eggs.  I am sorry that I make a mistake  about the 100% almond powder -no cornstarch-- ( sorry, I wrote almond flour on the last comment)  

By the way, What kind of  lard did you use?  The lard that you used on the pictures is looking good. 

Happy baking,


txfarmer's picture

I made the lard from pig fat (got those from Chinese market)

teketeke's picture

No wonder why your lard looks good. 

Is it how to make lard?

I never have made lard.  I always wanted to make chinese buns using good lard, too. I love chinese buns!


txfarmer's picture

Yeah, I do something similar to that.

teketeke's picture

Thank you, Txfarmer. I will try :)