There’s a story behind that photograph. It was taken by my friend Tiffany who was filming me for a class project she had. So that person there sifting in the stripes? That’s me. We spent an entire afternoon in my little kitchen as she made a film, interviewing me and taking some gorgeous, gorgeous shots of my food. Never have any of my creations looked so pretty. She’s one talented lady. She also geeked out with me about shallow depth of field and a plate of asparagus which I think pretty much makes us (nerdy) friends for life.

This cake got to be a bit of a star for the day, since I’d made it that morning. It’s a beauty of a cake – chocolatey with a lovely touch of Earl Grey and that oh-so necessary hint of salt to bring out the flavours.

It’s light and perfect any time of day but the most important thing for you to know is that it gets better after a couple of days. I always freak out a little that my baked goods are going to go stale overnight but this is not so! This cake, stored properly, becomes a little more dense – creamy even – after a day or too, and so chocolatey and wonderful. I ate half of the thing myself. And that is no exaggeration.

Earl Grey Chocolate Cake
from Real Simple via Shutterbean


  • 6 Earl Grey tea bags or 2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea
  • 1 cup water
  • 113g/ 4oz/ 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 113g/ 4oz bittersweet chocolate, melted in a double-broiler and cooled
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher/coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup plain yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • powdered/ confectioners’ sugar, to dust


  1. Heat oven to 350F. Grease an 8-cup bundt tube pan with neutral oil.
  2. Brew the tea in hot water 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags or strain the leaves and set the brewed tea aside.
  3. Beat the butter, eggs, and granulated sugar until fluffy. Stir in the melted chocolate. Beat in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, yoghurt, sour cream, and brewed tea. Pour into bundt pan.
  4. Bake 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out with a few crumbs attached. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes.
  5. Turn out of pan and cool on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve. Keeps, stored in an airtight container at room temperature, for several days.

madeira cake

April 30, 2012

This cake is a simple English treat – lemony but not overly so, nor too sweet, and perfect with some thick compote or a dollop of lemon curd on top.

I spent several hours on Friday night baking for the bake sale I mentioned participating in. I made double chocolate chunk cookies with sea salt and lemon-drenched lemon cake – two of my favourites! But of course, since I was packaging it up for other people I didn’t get a chance to steal myself a slice of cake and so I was left hankering for something lemony.

Enter this cake. Yes, lemony, but a completely different beast to that other one. This is much more of a simple everyday cake, jazzed up with some lemon zest and juice and perfect if you’re in the mood for something sweet but not dessert-like or cloying.

I always thought that Madeira cake came from the islands of Madeira, but no!  Evidently, centuries back in the U.K. it was popular to eat a slice of this cake with a glass of Madeira wine. If you have some on hand then please give it a go and report back but personally I’d recommend it with a good cup of tea. Enjoy!

Madeira Cake
adapted from Nigella Lawson


  • 240g/8.25oz softened unsalted butter
  • 200g/7oz caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 320g/ 2.5 cups all-purpose/plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda


  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/330F. Butter a 9- by 5- inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf tin, buttered and dust with flour, tapping out excess. Set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy and light, and add the lemon zest.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of the flour for each egg to prevent the mixture curdling.
  5. Gently mix in the rest of the flour and, finally, the lemon juice. Transfer batter to prepared pan and  sprinkle with about 2 tbsp sugar. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until a cake-tester comes out clean.
  6. Remove to a wire rack, and let cool in the tin before turning out.

flourless chocolate cake

April 16, 2012

This is a rich, decadent and super simple dessert. I made it for my book club girls last week and it took all of 10 minutes to prep and 25 minutes to bake – you can’t get anymore low key than that. Perfect for a weeknight or when you’re really pushed for time.

I think everyone should experience being in a book club. We’re lucky that our book club consists of such a stellar group of women with a great dynamic. There’s always a good mix of book chat, cheese-feasting, wine drinking, and general lady-chat. I love it. I also love feeding people cake and one of us can’t eat the gluten so this worked out well. I’ll definitely be busting it out again.

Of note – there really aren’t that many different recipes out there for flourless chocolate cake since it just comprises chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, and cocoa powder (I’d love to hear your version if you have one). What makes this special is choosing really top-notch ingredients; with something so simple, the quality of the ingredients is important. I’ve listed those below – I really think you’ll taste the difference.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
adapted from Gourmet



  1. Preheat oven to 190C/375°F and butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with a round of wax paper and butter the paper.
  2. Chop chocolate into small pieces. In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add the eggs and whisk well. Sift cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.
  3. Dust cake with powdered sugar and serve with vanilla ice cream and strawberries or raspberries. (After being cooled completely, the cake will keep in an airtight container, 1 week.)