Lien at Notitie Van Lien our lovely Kitchen of the Month has brought Babes and Buddies just a wonderful new but old bread: Modern Lardy Cake … not don’t get up in arms, this is really not cake, it is bread. I will tell you it is a delight as a sweet dessert like bread (or cake if you like) after dinner and it is equally delightful at breakfast! Call it bread or call it cake or call it cake bread but I can tell you it’s so good. The bonus is it is Christmas Holiday perfect.
Among the Babes, we talked wildly and I think radically about lard, butter, goose fat, duck fat: as possibilities for use in this recipe. If I’d been in a full kitchen and been able to find fresh lard (not hydrogenated like the grocer tried to sell me) and duck fat, I’d be baking this with each. As things worked out all I could come up with for the fat was salted butter from my local dairy. I used all the salt called for in the recipe and the salted butter as Lien and several others thought it needed more. And I’d seek out a special dried cherry mix that Gorn really enjoys. Pick a dried fruit or dried fruit combo that you enjoy and this bread will be spectacular. I might even go really crazy and put in a few walnuts. You know I really enjoy savory but this is just the right sweet. We loved it.
Check out all the Babes, you’ll find all sorts of variety but I think you’ll find we all enjoyed this bread and you’ll want to get in the kitchen and bake!
Lien found this recipe in “Warm Bread and Honey Cake” by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra. I have the book and it is everything you want in a warm baking kitchen.
Lardy Cake: Modern
Recipe By: Lien from “Warm Bread and Honey Cake” by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra
Yield: 9 inch round springform
Lardy Bread Cake
375 grams strong white flour – bread flour, I used half white whole wheat/whole grain
20 grams flax seed meal
1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
35 grams butter, melted and cooled
200 milliliters milk, warmed
100 grams butter, softened
75 grams soft dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, I used 1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
50-75 gram currants or raisins (or a mix), I’ll try closer to 100 grams next time
beaten egg, to glaze
1. Put all the dough ingredients in a large mixing bowl and knead (preferably with a dough hook in a heavy duty mixer) until smooth and supple. Bring the dough together in a ball and return to the bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. That heavy duty mixer … oops it’s still in it’s box. So I’m here to tell you “Don’t give a worry, you can do this without a mixer.” I did need to add a little more water than recipe called for. Toward the end of kneading I would dip my hands in a little water until I got a supple dough.
2. To make the filling, mix butter, sugar and spices together until creamy.
3. Knock the risen dough back and re-knead it briefly. 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.
4. Give the parcel a quarter turn and roll it into a rectangle about 30 x 15 cm (12 x 6 in). Fold into thirds again and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Repet this procedure three more times, turning the dough by a quarter turn and rolling and folding. If you find you are losing too much filling, omit the final turn.
5. This is a delicate, difficult and messy work as the filling oozes out in weak spots. You might want to read that again: This is a delicate, difficult and messy work as the filling oozes out in weak spots. Don’t get too caught up in leaks, just go with it.
Patch them up as good as you can and continue to work. All the oozing bits will caramelize nicely as the cake bakes. Oh my did we ever get some smart remarks on our bottoms! But you don’t want to lose too much filling as the laminating effect. 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.
6. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF).
7. Brush the dough with beaten egg, then lightly score a cross-hatched pattern onto the surface. Don’t cut into the filling. Bake for 25-30 minutesj or until brown. Remove from the oven, but leave in the tin for about 5 minutes. Carefully release the clip and turn the cake upside down on a wire rack. Remove the bottom of the tin, which will probably still be attached to it, and leave to cool further. Eat lukewarm or cold, cut into wedges or slices.
Don’t be shy … I know your busy but really this was very friendly dough and would make a treat for anyone special on your list at any time but probably most especially now. Tell us what your experiences were with this bread and send Lien (notitievanlien(at)gmail(dot)come) your details so she can include you in a round up. Deadline 29th of December.