Again I say, let them eat cake!! (BBB December 2013)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for Modern ‘Lardy’ Cake; a Bread Baking Babes project; submission for YeastSpotting; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) December 2013

Wait a minute!! Are the BBBabes confused again and can’t remember the difference between cake and bread?

aloo paratha Last month we made bread that was unyeasted. This month we returned to using yeast to make a wondrous thing called “Lardy Cake”.

And yet it is neither cake, nor does it contain any lard.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. Whatever it’s called or however it’s misnamed, it’s delicious! And really easy to make too. What could be better?

BBB Modern Lardy Cake diary:

7 November 2013, 12:34 I’m so relieved to hear that I don’t have to try the one that is laminated in lard! Butter sounds so much better. :-)

This looks like fun (I think) even though you said it “wasn’t the easiest recipe, so perfect for us!” Ha! But wait. It IS perfect for me. I love complaining and if it isn’t easy, maybe I’ll have lots to complain about. ;-)

20 November 2013 20:53

[T]his is a British book by a guy named Daniel Stevens and its called The River Cottage Bread Handbook. His Lardy Cakes are made with lard, not butter. At the top of the recipe he quotes Elizabeth David of English Bread and Yeast Cookery who said, “If you can’t lay your hands on pure pork lard, don’t attempt lardy cakes.” -Pat, BBB email discussion

Pat (Feeding My Enthusiasms) made actual lardy cake, using lard. And it looked brilliant! Now I’m thinking about making the cake with duck fat. We’re planning to get some duck legs this Friday for a splash out dinner. We should have some duck fat left over, shouldn’t we?

30 November 2013 12:22 Using the Gourmet Sleuth Conversion Chart, I translated the BBB recipe into weights. I chose US cups and spoons, even though Gaitri Patrach-Chandra is from the UK.

I sure wish that people wouldn’t mix spoons and gram measurements in a recipe though – especially considering that the volume measures aren’t standardized internationally. Here it is a European recipe and STILL doens’t have gram measurements throughout.

(Ha!! See? I KNEW I could find something to complain about!)

30 November 2013 13:54 Lien was next to report about making the bread. Jamie also made it around the same time. Both said that it didn’t cook through to the center. And yet Jamie claimed that it was “super easy”.

Super easy, eh? I’m really nervous now. :lalala:

14 December 09:34 Completely forgetting that this was maybe going to be really tricky, I just mixed the dough. (Alas, no more duck fat left. T used it to make fabulous biscuits. I had to settle for butter.)

If I’d been able to readily locate all the ingredients, it would have been insanely easy. Ha. Let me rephrase. If I’d been able to make the recipe as is without making my own substitutions, it would have been insanely easy.

I decided that I just couldn’t bear to make all white flour bread. So I got out the whole wheat AND all-purpose flours. And then because I managed to read and retain that the recipe calls for “strong flour”, I had to rummage in the freezer to find our high gluten flour. While I was rummaging, I suddenly decided it would be fun to add some teff as well.

And that’s when the easiness stopped. WHAT is it about freezer designs? Do they have to be one big cavern with zero moveable shelves or lazy susans?!

As I was screeching, “WHERE is the little bag of teff I just bought?!?”, I couldn’t help thinking of the freezer designers, sitting around their design table sniggering about the thousands of people freezing their hands as they frantically rifle through the various frosty packages that are all huddled together in a jumble, each crazed person looking for that one small thing they KNOW is there.

Why did I neeeeeeeed to use teff, you ask? It’s because my friend recently made The Most Delicious Rolls adding butter, rolled oats and teff to his regular bread dough. The day after I tasted his rolls, I raced to the health food store to get teff, raced home again and added teff and wheat berries to the flour mixture to make the most brilliant sandwich bread. (You wouldn’t believe how great the next day’s rogan josh and romaine lettuce sandwiches were!)

But that’s another story. Let’s get back to Lardy Cake making: Wow! Wow! Wow! Was it ever easy to mix this BBB dough! I hope I haven’t made it too stiff….

15:07 The dough has pretty much doubled in the oven with only the light turned on. But I decided it felt too early to make the filling. So I just deflated it and stuck it back in the oven. I decided not to fret (too much) about how stiff the dough still is.

18:03 Aha! I KNEW it was going to be hard. I read the instructions:

Roll it out to a rectangle about 50 x 25 cm (20 x 10 in). Spread the filling evenly over two-thirds of the dough sheet, leaving one outer third empty and about 4 cm (1 ½ inch) on all sides. If using, sprinkle the dried fruit over this and press down to embed. Fold the empty third over the middle third and the remaining third over this. Pinch all the edges well to seal the filling in. Cover with a sheet of clingfilm and leave to rest for about 5 minutes to relax. -BBB Modern ‘Lardy’ Cake recipe

aloo paratha I had to read the instructions about 3 times more before I grasped how it went. Then, after rolling out the dough and putting the filling over two thirds of the rectangle, I had to read the instructions again.

And yet…. It’s NOT that hard. Why oh why do I have so much trouble reading?? :hohoho: :stomp: :hohoho:

18:36 I have no idea how many times I folded. I lost track. But I think it was 4. Maybe 5….

I folded the dough into thirds one last time and thought I was done. I put the little packet into our buttered springform pan. But it bothered me that there was so much room around the edges. So. I read the instructions yet again.

Grease the tin and put the dough packet in it, then flatten it with your hand to fit it in as well as possible. Cover with clingfilm and leave it to rise until almost doubled. -BBB Modern ‘Lardy’ Cake recipe

Oh!! NOW I get it! (I had managed to miss the part that said “flatten it with your hand”.) I took the packet out, fetched the *already washed* rolling pin and rolled it out into a square then plopped it back into the pan.

Now I’m GLAD that I made the dough so stiff. I didn’t have any trouble with the filling wanting to leak out. (Heh. Here’s hoping that on tasting, I’m still glad of making stiff dough.)

23:37 I baked our lardy cake on the top shelf of the oven (I’m always terrified of burning the bottom when there’s sugar in the bread) at 325F for about 40 minutes. The internal temperature wasn/t quite 200F and the bread felt heavy. I remembered that at least two of the BBBabes had puddingy centres, so we removed it from the pan and stuck it back in the oven directly on the top rack for another 10 minutes. Good thing too! It wasn’t nearly as heavy feeling because it was completely done inside.

modern lardy cake We LOVE this!! We had some hot out of the oven last night for dessert and more the next morning for breakfast. It was fabulous almost directly out of the oven. (I know!! WAIT until it’s finished baking!)

It was even more fabulous the next morning! It was especially fabulous warmed and slathered with extra butter. It was equally fabulous with cheese. With big cups of coffee. Of course, with coffee!

And now, alas, all the lardy cake is already all gone.

Many thanks for a wonderful new (to us) recipe, Lien! I’ll definitely be making this again.

Here is the BBB December 2013 Modern Lardy Cake recipe. And here is what I did to it:

BBB Modern Lardy Cake (using Butter instead of Lard)
based on a recipe in “Warm Bread and Honey Cake” by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra


  • 30 gm (4 Tbsp) skim milk powder ¹
  • 200 gm (200ml) water, boiling ²
  • 35 g (2.5Tbsp) salted butter ³
  • 6 gm (1.5 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 12 gm (1 Tbsp) demerrara sugar (the BBB recipe calls for white sugar)
  • 325gm (~2.5 c) unbleached all-purpose flour 4
  • 8gm (1 Tbsp) high gluten flour
  • 50gm (~0.5 c) whole wheat flour
  • 17gm (1 Tbsp) whole grain Teff
  • 3 gm (0.5 tsp) Kosher salt 5


  • 100 g (7Tbsp) salted butter, softened
  • 75 g (0.3c) soft dark brown sugar
  • 0.5 tsp (1.3gm) ground cinnamon
  • 0.25 tsp (0.55gm) freshly grated nutmeg
  • 60gm (~0.5c) currants
  • milk, to glaze
  1. Dough In the morning of the day you will be baking the bread, put milk powder and 35gm butter into a largish mixing bowl. Pour boiling water overtop to melt the butter.
  2. Check that the temperature has cooled to about 90F – if you don’t have a thermometer, do the baby-bottle test on the back of your wrist. (why 90F??) Whisk in yeast until it has dissolved.
  3. Whisk in the brown sugar.
  4. Add teff, flours and salt and using a wooden spoon, stir until the dough clears the side of the bowl.
  5. Kneading Plunge in with your hands to turn and fold, kneading until it’s smooth (5 to 10 minutes).

    Begin to mix by reaching underneath the dough and grabbing about one quarter of the dough. Stretch this section of dough, then fold it over the top to the other side of the dough. When folding segments of dough, stretch them out to the point of resistance, then fold them back across the entire length of the dough mass. Working your way around the dough, repeat with the remaining quarters of the dough, reaching underneath each time […] Once all of the dough has been folded over itself, continue mixing using the pincer method. Using a pincerlike grip with your thumb and forefinger, squeeze big chunks of dough and then tighten your grip to cut through the dough. Do this repeatedly, working through the entire mass of the dough. With your other hand, turn the tub while you’re mixing. […]– Ken Forkish, Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza, Basic Bread Method, p. 69

    If the dough feels way too dry, add a little water (do as I say, not as I did). Once the dough is smooth, cover the bowl with a plate and put it in the oven, with only the light turned on, to rise until doubled.

  6. Filling: In a small bowl, cream sugar and spices into the soft butter. Cover with a plate to keep the furry black fiend from polishing it off. Set aside.
  7. Laminating: Butter a springform pan. Turn it upside down to set it aside. (The furry black fiend is always on the lookout for buttery snacks.)
  8. When the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a board lightly dusted with flour. Roll it out into a rectangle about a quarter inch (about half a centimeter). Spread the filling over two thirds of the rectangle leaving one third on one side empty. Scatter currants over the filling. Fold the empty third over the middle third. Fold again to cover the remaining third. Pinch to seal in the filling. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rest for about 5 minutes.
  9. Rotate the packet by a quarter turn and roll it out into a largish rectangle. Fold in thirds again and let it rest for 5 minutes. Repeat three more times. Don’t worry too much about a little bit of filling squooshing out. Patch any holes as best you can. If it seems like too much filling is oozing out, just stop folding and rolling…. (I’m guessing that this is where a stiffer dough really comes in handily. It didn’t really have much tendency to break.)
  10. On the final rolling out, aim for a square package. Put it into the buttered springform pan and use your fingers to press it out to fill the pan. Cover with a tea towel followed by a plastic grocery bag and put it in the oven with only the light turned on to rise until almost doubled.
  11. Baking: Preheat the oven to 325F (163C). 6
  12. Lightly score a crisscross pattern on the surface of the dough. Try not to go to deep. Brush the top with milk. Bake for 40-50 minutes until brown and with an internal temperature of around 200F (93C). After removing the bread from the oven, leave in the tin for about 5 minutes. Release the bread from the tin. If it doesn’t seem to be cooked enough in the middle, put it back in the oven for a few minutes more.
  13. Put the baked loaf on a footed rack to allow it to cool completely before cutting into it. It’s still baking inside! (Even if you’ve ignored the instruction about using hot water from the tap, please do not ignore this step – again… do as I say, not as I did.) 7


1.) Milk Powder: The BBB recipe actually calls for warm milk and zero water.

2.) Water Please, I know I say this every time. But do not use water from the hot water tap. Even though the other BBBabes mock me for this, I am like a broken record… (How old are your pipes? How old is the solder? When is the last time you flushed the sediment from the hot water tank? How many toxins want to leach out? Do you really want those in your bread?) Instead, heat the water in a kettle or microwave. Please note that before the yeast is added, the temperature must be BELOW 120F (49C) because yeast begins to die when the temperature is higher than 120F.

3.) Butter The BBB recipe calls for unsalted butter that has been melted and cooled. I find it much easier to use cold butter and melt it with kettle boiled water. Because the others said the bread seemed a little undersalted, I decided to use salted butter instead of unsalted.

4.) Flours: The BBB recipe simply calls for “strong flour”. Because I cannot easily find unbleached bread flour any more, I added some vital wheat gluten. Then, while I was in the substitution mode, I decided to add some whole wheat flour and whole grain teff too. :hohoho: :-) :hohoho:

5.) Salt The BBB recipe calls for only 2 gm salt. I made an executive decision that it was a typo and added 4 gms.

6.) Oven Temperature and baking times The BBB recipe says to bake at 350F for around 30 minutes. At least two of the BBBabes reported that their bread was underdone in the center.

7.) But I LIKE warm bread just out of the oven!! N.B. Of course you will want to serve warm bread. Reheat it after it has cooled completely. (It is still baking when it first comes out of the oven!) To reheat any UNsliced bread, turn the oven to 450F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread in the hot oven for ten minutes.

lardy cake I don’t know if the bread turned out to be so flat because we sliced into it before it had finished cooling, or if it was going to be that flat anyway. But, I don’t care all that much. I LOVED this bread. We both did. It’s brilliant.

I bet it would be equally brilliant if it were made with duck fat and savoury herbs and spices.

What I can’t understand is why anyone says it is hard to make. It’s not. It’s dead easy. But maybe it’s just easy for us BBBabes. As Lien said,

Gaitri said it’s a little tricky, but that’s just because she doesn’t know we’re professionals!!

Bread Baking Babes Again I say, let them eat cake!! (BBB December 2013)

Lien (Notitie van Lien) is the host of November 2013’s Bread Baking Babes’ task. She wrote:

I turned on the tv and on the BBC I watched Paul Hollywood making and baking a Lardy Cake, made with lard of course. It looked reall good, raisins and spices in the bread really suited the holidays. But I didn’t wanted to choose the recipe with lard as we don’t eat pork (meat or fat) in our house, I had to search further. Then I remembered I saw another recipe for lardy cake in one of the fantastic books by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra “Warm Bread and Honey cake”. She used butter instead of lard, so perfect for this month. […]

The dough was really quite easy to work with, and yes the rolling out is best done with care and doing four turns (folding and rolling) isn’t easy without tearing the dough. […]

I really love this bread, you can have it for (Christmas) breakfast, coffeetime or teatime, for lunch… and in between. Gone before you know it!

Lien is right. It IS gone before you know it!

We know you’ll want to make Modern Lardy Cakes too. To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make a lardy cake in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 27 December 2013. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ December bread:

Yeastspotting - every Friday ( image)

Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of many bread-specific recipes from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:

Bake Your Own Bread (BYOB)
BYOB is a monthly event that was hosted by Heather (girlichef) and has now been taken over by Carola (Sweet and That’s It)

[BYOB] encourages you to start (or continue) getting comfortable baking bread in your own kitchen. Anything from simple quick breads to conquering that fear of yeast to making and nurturing your own sourdough starter. All levels of bakers are welcome to participate.

And Carola wrote:

Homemade bread is healthy! As healthy as you decide: choose the best ingredients (if you can afford it, organic and GMO free) and you’ll be surrounded by the most delicious scent and fascinated by the most delicious taste.

Let the adventure continue!

For more information about BYOB, please read the following:

  • BYOB: Bake Your Own Bread (Scroll down to “Monthly Link up Summary” at the bottom of the post)


Modern 'Lardy' Cake (BBB December 2013)

Please remember to look at my annual Advent calendar (don’t even THINK about peeking ahead).


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7 responses to “Again I say, let them eat cake!! (BBB December 2013)

  1. Elle

    Brilliant! Love the laminated loveliness of your Lard Cake Elizabeth. I can well understand eating it will still warm from the oven…Yum!…and the next morning with coffee and again…until it is all gone. Same with the lardy version. Must make this butter one…soon!

    Thank you! I was quite pleased. And I was thinking that we need to get hold of some duck fat so I can try the lardy version, Elle! – Elizabeth

  2. MyKitchenInHalfCups

    And boy did you get that right! What ever it get’s called it has to be called delicious.
    Your round top is as gorgeous as Pat’s bottom … and we know where that went.
    OK now I think after seeing Ilva’s top and your top, I’m getting why the round springform … I should bake this again … but traveling makes that difficult.
    Freezer … teff … you are wild. I should use that teff I still have … when I get back home.

    I LOVE the addition of teff, Tanna. It’s fabulous…. And haha! I was thinking that using the round form was kind of a drag and was planning to use a square tin next time. – Elizabeth

  3. Jamie

    okay, I will admit that my first try was a huge oozy gooey mess. And it didn’t cook all the way through. The second time I figured it out and it was perfect, folding and rolling cleanly and beautifully. And I baked it for an hour! Loved it love it! I’ll try it again with salted butter and more dried fruit. And maybe a smaller pan. But yeah duck fat intrigues me and I would love to taste that! I did love this bread. And I always love reading through your adventures!

    I too love love love it! And we have you, Jamie, to thank for it. I wouldn’t have known to bake it longer and we may have had a big gooey mess too. – Elizabeth

  4. Lien

    Oh you crazy woman, you make me laugh out loud. Scared of it being too difficult (no you’re a pro by now didn’t you know!?) and then throwing in all kinds of flours… And there it is, all beautiful and delicious, just perfect!

    That’s what I like to hear, Lien! Laughing is good. And so was this bread. Many thanks again for choosing so well. – Elizabeth

  5. Kate Zeller (Thyme for Cooking)

    Love River Cottage and his recipes. My mother always had a tub of lard in the pantry (and I always use hot tap water – but I know the answers to your questions and we’re good LOL)
    I could see this, warm, slathered in butter, with a cup of dark hot chocolate for Christmas breakfast…. Followed by cookies.

    No no no. Never use hot tap water. Ever. (But I know your answers, Katie, and there you are thriving, so your answers must be correct. :-)) Lardy cake with hot chocolate!! You are brilliant! – Elizabeth

  6. Karen @ Karen's Kitchen Stories

    Great story. I use bottled water, not tap in all of my breads.

    We use filtered tap water and only because the pipes from the street are on the old side. – Elizabeth


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