I read cookbooks all the time.....even in bed (I feel like I should say my name first and be holding my hand up making that admission....) One of my bedtime favs is Nigel Slater. In his wonderful Eating for England he mentions lardy cake.
"The thin layer of grease that forms on your fingers, and more to the point licking it off, is all part of the attraction".dont have a sweet tooth, so a cake that involves finger licking fat is strangely attractive.....when I found a recipe in my vintage Delia Smith Book of Cakes circa 1977, I knew I had to get baking. I was sent this by my dear friend Tiffany, on holiday in Devon she saw this in a vintage shop and thought of me, aren't pals great? I am especially pleased as Lardy Cake hails from Wiltshire (according to Jane Grigson in her fabulous English Food, buy this book. Soon please.) We spent many Christian festivals at Tiff's mum Estelle and step-father Dave's very welcoming house. I love how food and recipes make those personal connections.....
Yes, blah blah, happy memories, it's still a lard cake!? Actually it is a yeasted dough, which is also a highlight for me, as I LOVE working with yeast. The smell, the feel of the dough, the amazing way it rises, as if magic is at work........and this from someone who does not eat a huge amount of bread. I tried to convince myself I was essentially creating a brioche type dough, but instead of beating in butter, my fat of choice is lard..........hmmm, brioche does sound slightly more palatable than pig fat buns.........! But everything sounds better in French, non?
In reality it is more like making pastry, in that the dough is dotted with the fat & sugar/fruit mix, rolled up and rolled out, then the process is repeated. You are cramming as much fruit and fat as the dough can take.....you cannot be mean and make lardy cake, it is a fat generous creation in every sense of the word.
So is it like eating a bacon bun? No, it is delicious. Seriously. Rich, fruity, spicy, the crust oh my, crispy, with bits of current & sticky sultana, the real finger licking good........it tasted great. Old fashioned and substantial. I ate a warm slice and felt I should go and plow a field immediately. Actually I was doing my tax return, so did need a bit of fortifying....... No doubt the low-fat food police would have my guts for haggis, but I dont eat a lot of cake, and when I do I want it to taste of something other than sugar. I took half over to my parents for afternoon tea, they enjoyed it to.