Make a cup of tea and put your feet up with this naughty-but-nice classic cake recipe, made from rich dried fruit and spices.
- 500g (1lb) plain strong white flour
- ½ level tsp salt
- 1½ tsp dried yeast
- 150g (5oz) lard
- 60g (2oz) granulated sugar
- 300ml (½ pint) warm milk
- 125g (4oz) currants
- 125g (4oz) sultanas
- 125g (4oz) dried cranberries
- 125g (4oz) soft brown sugar
- 1 heaped tsp mixed spice
- 2 x 15cm (6in) cake tins, greased with lard
Sift the flour, salt and yeast into a large bowl.
Put 30g (1oz) of the lard, the sugar and milk into a pan and heat gently until the lard melts and the milk is at body temperature (test by dipping in your finger – if it’s too hot, leave it to cool a little).
Pour milk into the flour and mix hard to make a dough. Knead for a minute until smooth, then shape into a ball. Put back into the cleaned bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave in a warm place to rise: it should take about 45 mins to 1 hr.
Tip dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead in the dried fruits. Roll the dough out to a rectangle measuring 45.5 x 15cm (18 x 6in). Soften the rest of the lard and spread it over the top two-thirds of the dough. Sprinkle with brown sugar and spice. Fold up the bottom third, then fold the top third down. Roll out to the original size, then roll up like a Swiss roll. Cut in half and place each piece, cut-side up, in the cake tins. Press down a little with your hand. Cover with oiled cling film and leave in a warm place for about 30-45 mins until well risen.
Set the oven to 220°C (425°F, gas mark 7).
Bake the lardy cakes at that temperature for 10 mins, then turn the oven down to fairly hot, 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6) and cook for another 10-15 mins. Turn out and cool on a wire rack.
To serve: When completely cold, cut into slices.
Top tip: You can also glaze your cake with a little honey and score a diamond pattern on the top to make it more attractive.