Vegan Lardy Cake Recipe

Looking for a delicious vegan treat? Try my yummy vegan Lardy cake recipe. Packed with fruity flavour and spice this recipe is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Enjoy this delightful old-fashioned bake with a cup of tea in the afternoon!

Lardy cakes on a white plate with a striped napkin.

If you watched the final of this years GBBO, you might have seen that the technical challenge was to make a Lardy cake. I first made a vegan lardy cake last year, and I wasn’t happy with the photographs of it, so I shelved posting it. However, it seems like people might like to give this old-fashioned but utterly delicious bake a try.

Why You’ll Love my Vegan Lardy Cake

  • Easy bake to make
  • Store cupboard ingredients
  • Quick to prep, not much kneading!
  • Eggless and Dairy free recipe
  • Delicious fruity flavour

Originating from the south of England, if you are of a certain age, you might have also known Lardy cake as dough cake or Lardy Johns! Apparently it is still popular in parts of the country, but this was not something that I ever tried, or was even aware of as a child.

I love reading old cookbooks, and soon enough, you’ll come across a recipe for a lardy cake. It was traditionally a way to use up lard, rather than the more expensive butter. It is a yeasted and fruited bread, but unlike bread, it is rolled out and folded, with the lard smeared between the layers, in a very similar manner to making puff pastry.

Lardy cakes on a plate.

Unlike puff pastry though, Lardy cake only requires one round of folding and then a final rise, so it isn’t as labour-intensive (although on the GBBO, you might think so!).

What makes this a vegan Lardy Cake?

So, obviously lard is rendered fat, usually from a cow, and is not vegan. The lard, whilst an impecunious necessity, actually added a rich flavour and moistness to bread. Fortunately, there are vegan alternatives to lard. In the UK, we have Trex and in the US you could use Crisco. Both are solid vegetable fats, specifically for baking or frying. Whilst they don’t add the flavour that proper lard would, these add the right texture and still make for a delicious bake.

Some recipes keep the lard cold and dot it onto the dough, but I find it easier to make a spreadable mixture with the sugar and spice.

Elizabeth David writes in her seminal book on bread, English Bread and Yeast Cookery (essential for anyone interested in the process and history of breadmaking) that Lardy cakes are incredibly unhealthy, full of fat and sugar but “it should also be remembered that originally these cakes were intended as celebration cakes, made only at Harvest time and perhaps for family festivals“. She also recommends that “if you can’t lay your hands on pure pork lard, don’t attempt lardy cakes“.

I have deep and endless respect for Elizabeth David, but I do beg to differ here: I am happy to forego some of the flavour of a genuine Lardy cake, in exchange for a delicious vegan one.

Shaping Lardy Cake

I like to form mine into a cinnamon roll shape, so that they make individual buns that you can tear off. However, on the Great British Bake Off, they placed the rolled out dough flat into a larger baking tin, so that they could cut into squares. The bake for the slices was shorter.

I have given the instructions for rolling into buns as I think this looks nicer!


Ingredients for lardy cake.
  • vegetable shortening, like Trex or Crisco
  • plain flour, salt
  • brown and white sugar
  • raisins and currants soaked in a little water
  • instant yeast
  • mixed spice
  • soy milk (or plant based milk of your choice)

This is ONLY a list of ingredients for the recipe; please see recipe card below for complete printable recipe.

If you loved my vegan lardy cake recipe, you might like to also try Peter Rabbit’s favourite, currant buns, vegan Welsh cakes or Chelsea Buns.


Making the lardy filling.

First make the lardy cake filling. Mix together the brown sugar, spice and trex.

The mixed filling.

Mix until you have a smooth mixture. Chill whilst you prepare the rest of the recipe.

Adding lard to flour.
  • Add the yeast and sugar to the warmed milk (110f).
  • Sift the flour and sugar into a large mixing bowl and add the lard.
Rubbing the lard into the flour.

Rub the lard into the flour, just as if you were making pastry.

Adding yeast to flour.

Add the activated yeast mixture to the flour/lard and mix well until you have a cohesive dough ball.

The dough ball rising.

Cover with a tea towel and leave to activate for about half an hour. Knead for 5 minutes, then leave to rise for another 30 minutes, covered.

Adding dried fruit to dough.

Flatten the dough roughly and add the dried fruit, working it into the dough.

Dough ball with raisins.

Form into a dough ball and leave to rise for half an hour.

Rolling out the dough.

Now roll out your dough to a rectangle approx 12″ x 6″, it only has to be approximate. The dough needs to be about ½” thick.

Spreading lard mixture onto the dough.

Spread the lard/sugar/spice over the top ⅔ of the dough.

Folding the dough.
  • Now fold the third without any of the mixture into the middle of the dough.
  • Then fold the opposite third over the top.
  • Roll out again into a 12″ x 6″ rectangle.
  • Repeat the folding process once more.
Cutting dough into circles.
  • Now roll the dough lengthwise into a swiss roll.
  • Cut into four, as though you were making cinnamon rolls.
  • Place these into a 7″ cake tin and leave to rise for another 30 minutes, covered.
The baked lardy cakes.
  • Preheat oven to 180c.
  • Bake the risen lardy cake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.


  • You can store the baked and cooled lardy cake in the cake tin for 3-4 days
  • I wouldn’t recommend freezing lardy cake.

Vegan Lardy Cake Recipe

Baked lardy cake on a plate.
Don't let the plainness of this cake fool you, this will be the tastiest bake you will make this year!
5 from 2 votes
Prep 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rising/Proving 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes


  • 1 7" round cake tin, greased


For the cake

  • 260 g Flour - plain, strong
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 15 g Vegetable shortening - I use Trex
  • 25 g White sugar
  • 1 tsp Instant yeast
  • 150 ml Soy milk - warm
  • 110 g Currants
  • 50 g Sultanas

For the Lardy filling

  • 100 g Vegetable shortening - Again, I use Trex
  • 50 g Brown sugar - soft
  • 1 teaspoon Mixed spice


  • Add the yeast and sugar to the warm milk and allow the yeast to activate whilst you prep the flour.
  • Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  • Rub the shortening into the flour.
  • Making a well in the centre of the flour mix, add the activated yeast/milk mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon to get a dough that holds together in a cohesive ball.
  • Leave to rise for about half an hour in a lightly oiled bowl, covered with a tea towel. You are not expecting much of a rise, just for the yeast and gluten to activate.
  • Now knead the dough for about 5 minutes or until smooth. Cover and leave to rise for an hour.
  • Knock the dough back (it won't have risen much) and flatten it into a rough rectangle. Sprinkle the fruit over the surface of the dough.
  • Knead the dried fruit into the dough, You might need to sprinkle a little flour over the mixture if it seems a bit sticky. This will help the fruit adhere to the dough.
  • Leave to rise again for another 30 minutes.

To make the lardy filling

  • Cream together the shortening, mixed spice and brown sugar.

To roll out your Lardy Cake

  • Now roll out your dough to a rectangle approx 12" x 6", it only has to be approximate. The dough needs to be about ½" thick.
  • Spread the lard/sugar/spice over ⅔ of the dough.
  • Now fold the third without any of the mixture into the middle of the dough.
  • Now fold the opposite side over the top.
  • Roll out again into a 12" x 6" rectangle.
  • Now roll this rectangle – from the short end – into a swiss roll shape.
  • Cut the swiss roll into four pieces.
  • Stand them cut side up into a 7" cake tin and press the down gently, so that they're touching. Leave to rise for another 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 180c and bake your Lardy Cake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Place a baking sheet underneath your cake tin as this might leak melted fat.
  • Turn out the Lardy cake immediately onto your serving plate and leave to cool for as long as you can possibly bear!

Please note that where the recipe asks for milk, butter or yogurt, this refers to any plant-based version that you prefer.

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Lardy Cake Recipe
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Share the recipe

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Did You Enjoy This Recipe?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.