It is not for nothing that the biggest town in Wiltshire is named for that most useful of animals the pig: Swindon is derived from Swine-Down. While most of the pigs for which the county was and remains famous ended up in savoury dishes - think of Bradenham Ham - there is one exceedingly sweet local speciality owing its existence to them too, namely Lardy Cake.
Wiltshire Lardy Cake is in fact more bun than cake, made with bread dough filled with dried fruit, sugar and lard. And really, nothing else except the air that is worked in to the dough as it is folded over and over, each layer filled with the three flavouring ingredients. The stuffed dough is left to rise before being baked in a tin, the top turning golden-brown, and some of the juices inevitably escaping.
Traditionally the Lardy Cake was a staple of home baking, but bakers' shops in Wiltshire , where they survive, generally offer the product, each having a little twist in the recipe to make it personal and individual: some lemon zest here, a pinch of cinnamon there, perhaps a touch of allspice too.
Harvest time was the season for Lardy Cake, when the fieldworkers needed their energy boosting with its off-the-scale fat and sugar content. Children love it too, at least those who don't object to 'dead flies'. But it is definitely an occasional treat, unless you are training for a triathlon, as even a marathon would not work off all the calories it contains.
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