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Lap Cake

Pen-prysg, Glamorgan

Preparing a miner's tuck-box. Teisen lap was a regular favourite.

Preparing a miner's tuck-box. Teisen lap was a regular favourite.

This cake was traditionally baked in a Dutch oven before an open fire in the district of Pen-prysg, Pencoed.  The mixture was poured into the shallow tin at the bottom of the oven and then baked slowly on a stand in front of the fire.  A similar method could be adopted today by putting the mixture in a shallow tin and baking it under a hot grill.

Teisen lap was regarded as an ‘ordinary’ cake baked fairly regularly in the coal-mining villages of south Wales.  It stood the miner in good stead as a ‘sweet’ for his mid-day meal underground and the moist texture of the cake prevented it from crumbling in his tuck-box.  The name teisen lap describes the texture of the cake as the adjective llap, now almost extinct, means moist or wet.

The Recipe

You will need

  • one pound plain flour
  • half a pound lard (or a quarter pound each of lard and butter)
  • one large cupful brown sugar
  • one cupful currants
  • a little salt
  • a little nutmeg
  • two eggs, well beaten
  • buttermilk


  1. Rub the fat into the flour, and work in all the other dry ingredients. 
  2. Make a well in the centre, and pour in the eggs. 
  3. Gradually add the buttermilk to the mixture and beat with a wooden spoon. 
  4. The consistency should be sufficiently soft and moist for the batter to drop easily from the spoon. 
  5. Put the mixture into a greased shallow tin and bake in a moderately hot oven.

Pen-prysg, Glamorgan.


Trefor Jones
10 February 2022, 22:27
On recent visits to my home county of Carmarthenshire, Bara Brith now seems to be a moist dark currant cake (darkened with tea) rather than the white currant bread I remember as a child (more like the consistency of a toasted tea cake). Bara te or teisen lap was what we tended to call the darker version and was eaten as a cake, bara brith was a loaf shape and eaten as a sweet bread. Commercial versions came ready sliced.
Phill Walkley
19 November 2021, 17:47
Growing up in Crumlin, Monmouthshire in the late 40s and 50s, this was a cake Aunty (who lived with us) would knock up at a minute's notice....after years making it for four Miner brothers and Father, all dead at a young age. Being an anglophone household, I did not come across the Welsh until a conversation in Crete in 2018....for me it sounded like an Italian painter... Titian Lap. Recipe rediscovered, it is again often made for and hugely popular with German husband and others in the Eifel/Ardennes Hills of SW Germany.
Karen Hiscocks
12 February 2021, 19:43
My husband’s favourite, he loved his Mum’s and Aunty Pat’s Teishen Lap and they lived in the Penprysg area of Pencoed.
Marilyn jones
8 January 2021, 20:11
My aunt always made teisan lap when she had sour milk not to waste it.
Neil Hopkins
23 June 2020, 20:47
Always remember this being made on a Sunday and eaten throughout the week. My Uncle and Cousin always has some in their lunchbox to take down the Pit.
We had a 3 bedroom terraced house in the Rhondda and living there we had:
Grandfather Plus my brother and me in one bedroom
Uncle and Cousin who shared one bedroom
My father and step mother in the 3rd bedroom

Bit cramped with no indoor toilet or water, tin bath hanging on the wall outside, outside toilet with no flush (old style wooden thunder box) and no electricity in the toilet or upstairs.
Hard time’s.
Marc Haynes Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales Staff
11 April 2019, 11:36

Hi Gwendydd,

Thank you very much for your enquiry. Please try a conversion table like the following: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/conversion-guides.

Best wishes,

Digital Team

Gwendydd Askew
9 April 2019, 17:07
My mother always made one on a Saturday and we so looked forward to tea time.

I do not cook by gas. Could you please give the ffwrn instructions for an electric ffwrn.

Thank you very much. Diolch yn fawr.

Marc Haynes Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales Staff
12 February 2019, 10:59

Hi Diana. Please see the reply below from our curator who specialises in cookery, Mared McAleavy:

'Yes, you can cook it in the ffwrn (oven). As with all recipes passed down from generation to generation, each family have their set of instructions and they’re all different! Some recipes suggest Gas Mark 1 for 1.20-1.30 minutes; others Gas Mark 3 for 60 minutes or Gas Mark 4 for 35 minutes.

'Keep an eye on the cake, and it should be ready when it’s firm to the touch and slightly golden.'

Dianne misler
8 February 2019, 17:45
Can i put it in the fwrn (oven), if do on what gas please....diolch yn fawr
8 February 2019, 16:59
Grew up with my mother making.
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