Apple cake

Oh apple cake. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Let’s not go there.

Courtesy of the Moorabbin Technical School, circa… ah, well, there’s the rub. The date of publication has been lost in the ether of time. Turning all Nancy Drew (or Hamlet, should the Shakespearean references keep on rolling) there are clues to be found in them there advertisements. Portable typewriters for sale. Sorry, make that ‘The Olympia SF De Luxe Portable’ typewriter, the “snazziest” machine which evidently paves the way to a lucrative career as a typist (30/- more than a clerk, don’t you know?). But if typing does not appease your soul, there is a Melbourne book retailer spruiking the “excellent” The Key To Your Career, new edition 1962. It would seem, dear Watson, this book is a whisker less than a sprightly 51 years of age.

Confused literary references aside, here she is: lady apple cake. Oh yes, those contributors could cook.

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Apple cake

a la Home Tested Recipes, a slender recipe book issued by the Moorabbin Technical School Fete Committee.

2 cups SR flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp mixed spice

½ cup butter, melted

2 eggs


3 medium apples (granny smiths worked nicely), grated

1 tbsp sugar

Nutmeg (I grated a whole nutmeg, but ½ tsp of ground would be nearly as good)

Preheat oven to 150oC. Butter and line a spring form cake tin. No seriously, line that thing. This cake gets juicy.

Mix together all of the cake ingredients in the listed order. It will be dry, so use your hands to form a ball-ish fragrant lump of delicious cake. Divide in two in the bowl.

Press half of the dough into the tin. Tumble over the slippery, jaggedy apple shards, sprinkle over the sugar and grate over the nutmeg. Nutmeg is potent. Beware. Apparently too much can kill you (urban myth?).

Press over the remaining dough.

Bake for 45 minutes, ish. It will be golden on top and your kitchen should smell amazing.

Drink with a cup of tea, milky if you wish, but certainly in a mug that you can fit all fingers in. None of that one-finger business you find at cafés.

God-awful lemon sago

What a disaster.

Lemon sago. The horror.

recipe for lemon sago, handwritten in my Nana's cook book

recipe for lemon sago, handwritten in my Nana’s cook book

I have to be honest. I do not understand sago. Why would anyone want to eat big pearls of starch with the texture of clag glue? Maybe someone out there can enlighten me. Please do.

Before trying to resurrect Nana Jean’s lemon sago recipe I was optimistic of the outcome. The recipe was short and simple. There were four ingredients. I had beautiful sweet lemons gathered from a garden that was not my own. I had a stove and a fridge. I was set.

I won’t bore you with the details, friends. Let me simply say that if you halve the ingredients and follow the instructions then you will end up with a gooey, lemoney, treacley, sugary, tart, frog’s eggs-like dessert that is not too offensive, but certainly not desirable. It has the sort of nice old-school look that draws you in, thinking it will be delicate and buttery and moreish, only to fall short of every possible expectation.

Or at least that’s me.

Alas, so many comments regarding lemon sago recipes are positive on recipe sharing websites, they glowing recommendations often recollecting some near-forgotten childhood memory. Quaint, but utterly inapplicable to me. Maybe you have better luck with lemon sago. Or any sago. This has certainly turned me off the thing.

blurry, gluey lemon sago… and many apologies for the image quality

Nonetheless, I am happy to report another of Nana Jean’s recipes resurrected. Unsurprisingly, this one didn’t make it to the table. But dad tells me Nana Jean’s never made it to her table, either. Perhaps she, too, fought with the underwhelming recipe she had already scribed in her handwritten cook book, only to find it unpalatable and, quite frankly, embarrassing. Thinking this makes the entire pursuit worth it; it warms my heart to think I have drawn closer to my dear departed grandmother through the recreation of the damnable lemon sago.

In other culinary adventures, I successfully created a tomatoey chorizo and eggplant pasta this weekend past. Eaten steaming hot with a peppery cabernet merlot it was far too warm a dish for the height of summer. But boy oh boy it was delicious. Maybe it will make it into my own handwritten cook book, for my own future granddaughter to recreate one day.

May your recipes be worthy adversaries, friends. And may they all make it to your table.


p.s. If you wish to read of another failed replica, see here for my “totes embarro” brownie resurrection.

Quiche sans pastry

A most powerful food-memory for me involves quiche. Nana Jean was renowned in our family for producing a pastry-less quiche that was tall, rich and loaded with flavour. The quiche was a cheery yellow from eggs and cheese, speckled with pink bacon pieces and streaked with green and red from strips of vegetables. As a child I would sit next to Nana at the dark-brown wooden veneer table that magically extended from a mere square to a long, grand rectangle. Unfortunately, having to seat seven people would mean I was propped up with a table leg squashing something or other for the duration of lunch. Nonetheless, I recall how fun it was to be sitting next to short-stature Nana. Thinking of quiche brings forth memories of how her high-spirited laugh would bubble over, like a big, warm verbal hug.

Lunch was known as ‘dinner’ at my grandparents’ house. To this day I hold firm that calling anything ‘dinner’ (be it lunch, or tea-time) the epitome of elegance. I guess we all hold some cherished sayings in naïve esteem. I love it.

I would eat the quiche with tomato sauce and a dressed iceberg and egg salad. That dressing will have to be saved for another post, friends. It is a treasured family inheritance.

And so, when my incredibly thoughtful boyfriend (unbeknownst to me) delivered a care package brimming with his own grandmother’s home-grown zucchini, beans, roma tomatoes and cucumbers I slipped into visions of a beautiful quiche. And, as is so often the way of things with my boy and me, in his own home on the other side of Melbourne he baked his own pastry-less quiche, sent me the photo and subsequently unintentionally further inspired me to make my own. We must be operating on the same kind of culinary mental wavelength, don’t you think?

My family does not use Nana Jean’s quiche recipe any longer. We did, but have found a shorter, easier and less expensive version that tastes very similar. Surely that is how family food traditions evolve, from one recipe to another. Jean’s recipe stirred in Greek yoghurt and, wait for it, Roba pastry mix! Yes, a pastry-less quiche simply incorporated the pastry in the quiche itself. As a result, baking the rich quiche would take a certain knack. You couldn’t overload it with too many additional ingredients, else it wouldn’t set. Truth be told, Nana Jean’s quiche is not perfectly replicated by our new recipe. Hers had a tanginess imbued by the yoghurt, and a strident sponginess that would rebound to the touch from the pastry mix.

But this quiche is different. Lighter and flatter. Less guesswork.

The ‘parent’ recipe comes from the Country Women’s Association cook book. This one, here. A quiche Lorraine. I adapted the typical egg, cheese and bacon Lorraine recipe to incorporate the beautiful young gifted zucchini. And carrots, and parmesan cheese. Oh, and I didn’t have bacon. Never fear, it turned out exceedingly well.




I baked some more of my signature bread to have alongside for a picnic. For with the bread I packed butter and one of the roma tomatoes. I also bottled up some honey (a light, flowery lucerne honey I happened upon at a farmers market) in an old cinnamon glass jar. I have many cinnamon glass jars, as you may expect as a cinnamon addict (discussed more, with a recipe for cinnamon cakes, here). And, out of sake for nostalgia, I bottled up some tomato sauce in an old allspice jar. The quiche didn’t need it, probably because my tastes have matured, surpassing sweet, pungent tomato sauce a while ago!

Perfect for a picnic. Especially those shared with birds.

Happy cooking, friends.


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Pastry-less quiche


3 eggs

1 ¼ cup milk

½ cup SR flour

½ large brown onion, diced

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 cup grated zucchini

1 cup grated carrot

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 210oC. Mix ingredients together and pour into a lined (and greased, if desired/needed) quiche dish. Alternatively, if you would like a psycadelic pattern like mine, simply mix all ingredients save the carrot and zucchini. Pour the yellow gooey mix into the baking dish before artfully draping the grated vegies on top. Push the vegies into the mix, letting the eggy goo surround the slippery shards.

Bake for 40 minutes. This will sink slightly when cool.

Weekend browsing

Do you ever try to distract yourself from those you miss?

I miss my boyfriend. I also miss my brother, who is moving away to a university in a different state today. A lot. He’s only be gone an hour and a half.

I, for one, am in need of distraction. Hence this weekend browsing catalogue-of-sorts. Please feel free to distract yourself, too, friends. Or even suggest some suitable distractions… of course, those of the baking variety are always welcome.

Oh, and can I just say that these suggestions are not sponsored. They are simply things that caught my eye.

Paintings by Chagall and Matisse. I have a feeling that this weekend is going to be filled with paint.

Eating my home made yoghurt. It isn’t perfect yet, so I haven’t shared the recipe. My initial instructions came from here.

Looking at flowers. Especially these ones (here and here), as I have grown some baby seedlings in my backyard.

 Contemplating all of the sweet-spiced recipes that have swept by my radar this week.

A pull-apart bread from Acorn in the Kitchen

An ice cream recipe from a whimsy Italian blog panpepato senza pepe

And Swedish almond-cream filled cardamom buns from Notions & Notations

Planning a party where I can serve this Eton mess alongside Kir Royales.

An oat roller. Sigh. If only!

Listening to Julio Bashmore… before seeing him live in a few weeks. Groovy, head-bobbing music I can cook and dance to (at the same time). Somehow I don’t think my Nana would have been doing that.

Happy travels, friends.


Chocolate cake: pretty and understated

Do you have a favourite chocolate cake? One that you are secretly proud of? Your go-to recipe, much-requested at events, loved by all? I don’t. I have not yet baked a chocolate cake that is undeniably good. Well, at least not the kind of good that you remember and store away in the domestic part of your mind for times of birthdays, bake sales, morning teas and breakups. I am yet to find a signature chocolate cake.

I have heard stories of my Nana Jean’s chocolate cake. An impossibly high, intensely chocolatey kind of chocolate cake that was the envy of all her friends. So you can imagine my excitement to find a recipe in her beautiful, lilting copperplate handwriting in her cook book.

Oh, and just below, a chocolate icing recipe!

With a certain degree of stubbornness I set to resurrecting the chocolate cake. I will make this chocolate cake, I said to myself, and it will be amazing. It will be grand and fragrant and look generous and indulgent.

No, Meg. No.

Perhaps it was the wrong mindset that sabotaged my lofty ambitions. Certainly, no recipe from Nana’s cook book has been straightforward. Missing cooking times, imprecise oven temperatures, ambiguous instructions are commonplace. Indeed, you will notice that the baking time is missing from the handwritten recipe. From past experience I should have expected a hiccup.

It isn’t a bad hiccup. The cake looks nice, and tastes nice. It simply is not the noble cake I had imagined. My father concurs. This is not his mother’s famed chocolate cake.

But it is a pretty cake. Demure and understated, this cake is lightly chocolatey and not too sticky on the palate. Part of me wants to say delicate, but that isn’t quite right. It isn’t sponge-cake-delicate at all. It is just a low-rising, restrained chocolate cake. The kind that is perfect with a cup of tea or a glass of milk. Or eaten for breakfast in a bowl with milk poured over. Or is that just my childhood memories masking what is an appropriate use of cake?

This kind of cake is perfect for some people. My boyfriend tells me that his own grandmother makes a nearly-identical cake. This perhaps proves how strong a role food memories play in the development of our palates, because he absolutely loved this cake! On the other side of the state he was singing the recipe’s praises to his own family.

It is so lovely that in setting out to recreate Nana Jean’s menu I have been able to connect other people with their own culinary heritage. In many ways, this cake has reaffirmed my quest to rediscover such neglected recipes.

Oh, and this cake is a great starting point for me. I’m on a mission, friends. A mission to find my signature chocolate cake. (The best kind of mission, no?).

I look forward to sharing my findings, and resurrected recipes, with you.

Happy baking,


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Pretty and understated chocolate cake

3 eggs

¼ lb sugar

¼ lb plain flour

1 dessertspoon cocoa

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp cream of tartar

1 tbsp melted butter

½ tsp vanilla

1 dessertspoon hot water

Grease and line a cake tin. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C.

Beat eggs and sugar well. Stir in flour sifted with cocoa, baking powder and cream of tartar. Lastly stir in butter, hot water and vanilla.

Transfer immediately to cake tin and bake for about 30 minutes, until your whole kitchen smells chocolately and the cake springs back to touch.

Let cool in tin for 5 minutes, then turn out on to cooling rack. Cool completely before icing.


Chocolate icing

½ cup icing sugar

½ tsp cocoa

1 big teaspoon butter

1 dessertspoon boiling water

Sift icing sugar and cocoa evenly. Mix in butter and boiling water until smooth. You may need to add more water to gain a smooth spreading consistency.

Slather over cooled chocolate cake in smooth circles with the back of a spoon.

Desdemonas and Othellos

Ready for some political incorrectness, 1950s cookery style?

Welcome into your knowledge base the fact that these biscuits exist. Or did exist. Well, ok, now some exist in my pantry so I have essentially resurrected some ill-advised nomenclature of a biscuit.

These biscuits are called Desdemonas and Othellos. For those of you with no love for, or no interest in, the works of Shakespeare, these are two characters from his play Othello. Although I am yet to read or see the play, I gather that Desdemona is the beautiful wife of Othello, the beautiful male protagonist and hero. What these biscuits refer to, though, is their skin colour. Desdemona is a fair-skinned Venetian whilst Othello is a dark-skinned Christian Moor. Ergo vanilla and chocolate icing.

Desdemona and Othello from a 2007 London performance;

I found this recipe in Miss Drake’s Home Cookery (13th edition), published by Robertson & Mullens, Melbourne in the year 1950. 13th edition! It was slotted between some thinner cookbooks collected by my Nana Jean. The book conspicuously lacks photos. As do most of the published cookbooks in Nana’s stash. Compared to the incredibly visual design of modern cookbooks, these are bland and dour. Mechanical, almost. But the recipes are so diverse, as this recipe surely testifies. So many dishes I have never heard of. Apparently 60 years is a long time in food.

The biscuits themselves are quirky characters. They completely lack butter. The moisture comes from the ample quantity of eggs. 5 eggs!

Have you heard of such a recipe? Was it created out of necessity, for some cook who lacked butter but had far too many eggs? Is it a biscuit that originated during the Depression, when rations meant butter was scarce? Oh, so little I know about these biscuits.

What I do know about these biscuits is that they are fiddly. They need to be piped onto a baking tray. Baked in batches. Left to cool before filling with jam. Sandwiched together before icing. All in all, this recipe took me about three hours to recreate. Perhaps I am less patient than my fore-bearers.

I also know that these biscuits look beautiful. Look at them, lying there, all elegant in their lush glossy icing jackets. Oh so impressive. They have a peculiar texture, not to my taste. Spongy and light, not at all crisp or crumbly. They are quite eggy in taste, almost reminiscent of the pastry from cream puffs. Although they are sweet, and tangy with blackberry jam, and very moreish. Quite perfect with milk, or a cup of tea. Indeed, my dismissive opinion was not echoed by other people who tried a Desdemona or Othello. Everybody else adored them.

I will let you be the judge. As should always be the case!

Happy cooking!


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Desdemonas & Othellos

a la Miss Drake (1950)

5 oz. flour

3 oz. sugar

5 eggs

jam, to fill (I used blackberry, which I sieved to remove seeds)

1 quantity soft vanilla icing – recipe below

1 quantity soft chocolate icing – recipe below

Beat the whites very stiffly, add the sugar gradually, beating all the time. Fold in the beaten yolks, and lastly sifted flour.

Pipe into rounds through a piping bag, on kitchen paper, on oven tray.

Bake in fairly hot oven 7-10 minutes until a golden brown.

When cold, put together with jam, and ice with soft icing. “Make some brown with chocolate icing and leave some white.”

Soft icing

4 oz. icing sugar

1 tbsp liquid (water, fruit juice, coffee, rose water, etc.). Sift icing sugar. Blend to a soft consistency with the liquid. If using water, heat icing very slightly before spreading on the biscuits. Do not allow it to reach boiling point or the sugar will grain.


Mix in 1 tsp vanilla extract with water to make 1 tbsp liquid.


Sift 1 tsp cocoa powder with the icing sugar before stirring in liquid.

Note: I heated the icing in the microwave at 25% for 10 seconds to soften. Repeated microwaving will leave the icing grainy and difficult to spread.


Ah freshly baked bread!

If only computer screens had a scratch-n-sniff function, friends.

My new signature loaves of bread. Made with unbleached white bread flour, a large quantity of yeast, salt and water. Just four ingredients. Unlike other recipes, this bread needs only a light touch and a long slumber. No kneading. It also calls for a cold oven. A unique bread indeed!

I stumbled upon the recipe at a website enchantingly called ~ ah what is not to love about a shop dedicated to pinot noir and all things vinous? Even more entrancingly, the recipe is entitled ‘Domaine de Arlot bread‘. Yes, the recipe originates in France, but through a convoluted journey in the clammy hands of a young man ended up in Tasmania, Australia via New Zealand. For more, I urge you to read the entry. I cannot out-do the recipe instructions, nor out-compete their archive of other recipes. Oh, and note, friends, that I have no fiscal reward for this recommendation. It is honestly from my heart and kitchen to your own.

Now, to the bread itself! Inside is airy, with big bubbles wedged between chewy, soft bread. The crust is crisp and slightly toothsome. It is similar to what we, locally, call ciabatta. Having never been to Italy, I cannot testify the authenticity of local ciabatta. But if you imagine an incredibly soft, flavoursome sourdough, you come close to this humble bread.

There is something about home made bread. It makes me want to spread it with butter. Or dip it in olive oil and spicy, fragrant dukkah. Or eat it simply with thick slices of home-grown tomatoes, salt and pepper.

Most of all, home made bread makes me feel. Feel something. Alive, maybe. Or connected. With nature, humanity, past generations. Do you, too, feel this when you bake?

The perfect bread to eat whilst perusing old cookbooks. I’m excited. I have found recipes for sweet biscuits named after Shakespearean characters in one of my Nana’s old tomes.

Watch this space!


In praise of fructose

Do you ever feel the need to write? A familiar tug at the back of your mind, asking for an outlet of literary expression? Ah, this urge has been nagging me for days. The start of February has left me restless. Writing grounds me.

Do you feel the same?

I have been doing a lot of reading about fructose. Honestly, I have been reading about fructose for over a year. Occupational hazard, having studied biochemistry at university and being abnormally interested in food writing. The current opinion seems to be that fructose should be consumed in very moderate quantities, such as two pieces of fruit a day. Regular table sugar, being sucrose, is half fructose. Obviously this has many implications for people fond of baked goods, sweet tea and the like.

Human bodies evidently lack an ‘off switch’ for fructose, unlike fat and regular sugar, predisposing our species to consuming far more than recommended. Excessive consumption obviously leads to storage of the energy as fat and other groovy things. Which I think is a rather elegant survival mechanism from ye olde times, when times were leaner and meaner. According to some hypotheses, if I had stumbled upon a hive of honey, or a tree full of bananas, I would have eaten until I could eat no more; apparently far past the point of satiation. What a beautiful thing, this in-built desire for sweetness working to save me during the meagre months.

Alas, these are no longer ye olde times, are they? And with so much praise for ‘quitting sugar’ currently emblazoned over the internet and on certain news shows I grew curious. How would ‘quitting sugar’ affect me?

So I have tried, twice or three times now, slowly and calmly to choose food that contains no, or minimal, fructose. Certainly, eating more meat, cheese and fat makes a change which at first is novel and enjoyable. When I did eat fruit, or sweets, I was far more aware of how hungry I still was afterwards.

But. Still. Quitting sugar doesn’t sit right with me.

This is not a knee-jerk reaction to the idea. I have been pondering the issue for months. I have simply come to the conclusion that I, Meg, do not feel the need to eliminate fructose from my life. I am lucky, in a way, because I have no love for sweet drinks. I actually prefer to drink my water as water, not cordial. I will always select a glass of wine over a cocktail, no matter how staid and prematurely aged it will make me look. I like my vino dry, thank you very much; riesling and moscato is not to my taste. I am quietly addicted to organic natural yoghurt, which I flavour with cinnamon (oh, so much cinnamon, as I have mentioned) and ground ginger. And give me dark chocolate over lollies any. day. of. the. week.

Although I wouldn’t have much to sacrifice by going ‘no sugar’, I still won’t. Cakes and biscuits and pastries and honey-laden delicacies are a deeply-ingrained part of my world. The cultures I have been raised in (and, indeed, most cultures) celebrate life events, either rightly or wrongly, with sugar. Served as such, sugar is steeped in generosity. It has been coveted throughout history. Nepalese and Syrian honey-hunters risked their lives to capture the flowing sweetness, scaling cliff faces for hives. Humans have mastered extraction of sugar from canes, fruits, beets and even ants. Sugar is a part of our universality.

Yes, all this praise for the self-same sweet substance that is allegedly more addictive than crack cocaine, the one that is blamed for widespread obesity and scorned for mood swings and energy roller coasters. To me, that’s ok. I am of the opinion that we have come a far way since ye olde times. Us lucky ones, mostly in developed nations, know that nourishment is never too far away, that we have no need to glut ourselves on sugar senselessly. We can consume it appropriately. Mindfully. Fully aware of the consequences. And fully aware of the joy, the history and the satisfaction sweetness can bring to our lives.

Happy writing, friends.


Soft gingerbread

Happy recovery day, readers! Here’s hoping your Boxing Day be well spent eating leftovers, holding your stretched stomachs, watching the cricket and Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Or shopping, if you were better organised than me and had actually set an alarm to tackle the sales!

What special recipes did you use this Christmas? Did you keep the food traditional, or experiment with something new to grace your dining table? I have to say, the month of Christmas-themed recipes littering Pinterest, the newspapers, the morning talk shows, the supermarket brochures, the advertisements and the conveniently-timed new-release cookbooks look incredible. And overwhelming. Or is it just me?

In line with my quest to resurrect Nana Jean’s menu, I embarked on one of her copperplate recipes for a family Christmas party. Soft gingerbread. How could I resist such a promise of a sweetly spiced soft cakey baked serve of Christmas? I couldn’t! I even trialled the recipe, how excited I was!


Oh, Nana Jean did her crafty protective trick with this recipe, too. Ambiguous ingredient quantities and a blatantly incorrect baking time. But I must be getting better, because I trusted my instincts and the sheet cake came out a dream. The sugar and butter gives the cake a glossy sheen on the surface, but it is gloriously soft on the inside. I can’t even come up with a more fitting adjective than ‘soft’. It isn’t delicate, like a sponge. It isn’t fragile, like shortbread. It is simply soft, and not at all dry or airy.

soft gingerbread

The soft gingerbread was a hit. My grandfather (from the other side of the family, not at all familiar with the recipe) went back for thirds, not just seconds. And my three-year-old second cousin went back for fourths, not just thirds. Clearly, moreish doesn’t even cover it.

I would say, unequivocally, that this has been my most successful recreation of Nana Jean’s recipes.

So here’s to family, tradition and the sharing of food!

Happy holidays, comrades.


Cream-filled orange cake from the past

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. So here I am again, after an even longer hiatus. Please let me side-step the awkwardness to discuss far more pleasant things. Such as…

The first day of December! And what a glorious day of weather it now is here in my part of Australia. But such beautiful weather has come at a cost. After a few days of oppressive, all-consuming, inescapable heat in the depths of the night a thunderstorm broke loose tearing the calm, heavy air to shreds. The kind of thunder that shakes the bones of your house, rattles your crockery and hums and vibrates and murmurs for hours. Some districts have reported golf ball sized hail stones and semi-demolished houses. My heart goes out to those who have suffered. I hope you are all now safe and on the path to recovery.

This week I have immersed myself in homely things. I hung some of my paintings, finally framed after five years in hiding. I have tried my hand at embroidery. Yes, embroidery! How quaint! I have cleaned and watered plants and purchased an old cobalt blue Twinings tea tin. Oh, I have plans for the tin. I can’t wait. And, of course, I have been baking. Specifically, I have been baking orange cakes.

Orange cake recipe

Orange cake recipe

Sweet, light-as-a-feather, zesty little orange cakes resurrected from my Nana Jean’s cookbook.

I had been invited to a ‘thank you and bye’ morning tea, which is my favourite kind of invite! Anything that asks me to bring food is something I greatly look forward to. Are you the same? Apparently this is a rare feeling, much to my surprise. So many people have admitted to hating baking. Hating. Goodness, I would bake on their behalf!

So scrolling through my archive of photos of Nana Jean’s recipes (her book is so fragile, I am hesitant to handle it more than strictly necessary, you see) I short-listed some appropriate recipes. I knew that other people had mentioned bringing chocolate slices, which made choosing a zingy orange cake so much easier. I tend to dither when selecting a recipe for an event. Do you, too? Though I do love citrus baked goods, as I’ve waxed lyrical about in the past.

I trialled the recipe on a whim last weekend. I made cupcakes; 9 medium-sized gossamer-light cupcakes, in fact. Oh the smell when these babies are baking will drive you crazy, I promise! The specific mixing method of this recipe creates a thin, crisp and sugary top whilst the cake itself is soft and fluffy. We ate the cupcakes plain, and over the next few days, when they aren’t so soft any more, we doused them with milk and ate them like pudding. Delicious!

The cake itself consisted of two thin separately baked rounds, filled with cream and coated with an orange juice icing. It was an impressive sight: a glass-like, gleaming cake with cream curving voluptuously from the middle. And it was all eaten, every last bite!

I have not taken photos of the cake, though I could have. To be perfectly honest, it was a rushed affair. Though with the incredible success, and compliments, and sexiness of the cake itself, it will undoubtedly make a reappearance from my oven soon. I look forward to sharing it with you. For now, the recipe is attached. I hope this will suffice.

I’m spending some time in Melbourne this week, the acclaimed culture capital of Australia! I would love to hear any of your recommendations, particularly of the culinary kind.

Bon appetit!


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Orange cake

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

2 tbsp butter

1/4 cup hot water

2 oranges, zested

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Melt the butter in the water (use the microwave if the butter is very hard), let the mixture cool. Beat the eggs and sugar well, until light and fluffy. Add the flour and butter mixture and mix lightly. Lasted add the grated rind of the two oranges.

Bake in two sandwich tins until cooked through (approx. 20 minutes, depending on your oven). Cool on wire cooling trays.

Fill with cream and ice with orange juice icing, if desired.

Orange juice icing

1 cup icing sugar

juice 1/2 orange

Mix together until thick and creamy in consistency. Too thin an icing will simply drip off the cake. You may need to add more icing sugar, depending on the size and juiciness of your oranges!