Cardiff Pudding

Sorting through boxes of old books in the attic, we came across an old cook book from the 1950s belonging to my partner’s late mother. In it was a recipe for a dish I had never heard of: Cardiff Pudding. Alarmed that I had written a book on every conceivable aspect of Cardiff (and yes, there is a chapter on food) yet missed an actual dessert named after the bloody place, I researched it (ie: Googled) and found, to my relief, that the whole world wide web has missed Cardiff Pudding too. Not a single mention. Nor does Cardiff Pudding appear in any of the various books on Welsh food in my own library – including the bible of Welsh traditional cookery, A Taste of Wales (1973) by Theodora FitzGibbon (1916-1991).

Cardiff Pudding turns out to be a local variant of a Welsh staple Teisen Lap, (Plate Cake) made all over Wales until the industrialisation of food production and distribution eradicated home baking. Making a virtue of the grinding poverty that has been a feature of Wales for most of its history, Plate Cake is a clever response to skimp-and-save reality: using a thin plate rather than a thick pie-dish reduced the amount of expensive filling necessary. Here then is the recipe, saved for posterity.


For Pastry
100g (4oz) plain flour
50g (2oz) butter
pinch of salt
cold water to mix
For Topping
2 tbsp raspberry jam
50g (2oz) sugar
50g (2oz) butter
grated rind ½ orange
2 eggs, separated
75g (3oz) breadcrumbs
a little milk to mix
1 tbsp caster sugar

1 Make the pastry by cutting/rubbing the butter into the flour until it is crumb-like and then mixing with enough cold water to form a firm dough
2 Press the dough onto a large, oven-proof plate
3 Spread the jam evenly on the dough
4 In a bowl, beat the sugar, butter and orange peel with a fork until the mixture is pale and fluffy
5 Add the beaten egg yolks and breadcrumbs to make a soft, dropping consistency
6 Spread the mixture evenly over the jam
7 Bake for 30 minutes, medium heat
8 Meanwhile, whip the egg whites until very stiff
9 Pile the egg whites on top of the cooked pudding, dredge lightly with caster sugar
10 Return to oven for 5 minutes to brown
11 Serve hot or cold with thick cream