Category Archives: Cakes

Chocolate Beetroot Cake (a garden bonus!)


The family version, with blueberries from our bushes.

One of the many injustices of life is the over-the-top abundance of food from the garden –that you must attend to before it goes bad – which arrives when you would rather be whiling away the brief end-of-summer days by the sea, or a pool, or really anywhere but the kitchen. I love warm weather, and if I am deprived of any of it for the brief time it arrives on this little island, in this particularly rainy village, I get a little disgruntled.

Well, I say that, but I also happen to love the kitchen. Lucky for me that I can earn my living doing what I love, but even I can be a little daunted by 30 or 40 kilos of beetroot arriving in the college kitchen with the gardeners’ pleas to use it all up. My friend Ruth went to work making pickles and chutneys, and we both cracked on with the boiling, peeling, slicing and bagging of beetroot, ready to freeze and to be used later in the year, when the gardens have given up all their bounty for a long winter’s nap.

In amongst all this beetroot madness, we had a call for a birthday cake. I think you may see where I’m going with this.  Continue reading

Almond Cake with Orange Rose Syrup (or, Who’s complaining?)


Last night as The Author was preparing dinner, he said, “I don’t actually enjoy cooking anymore.”

I know how he feels.

Around our house, dinner can be a contentious time. The Author and I prefer a more continental dining time, and the kids prefer – well, I don’t actually know what they prefer half the time. When we try to get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour (that would be 7:30 for us), they complain that they don’t want to eat that early. When we lag behind and get dinner on the table late (sometimes as late as 9:00), they complain about the food.

It seems we are raising a household of complainers. Continue reading

Apricot Scones (or, good can be great)


When I was living in New York, I worked for a time at a licensing and design company in the garment district. One afternoon, as I was walking back from an appointment near Macy’s, I saw a sign in a deli window: The Best Cup of Coffee in Town! How could I resist? Mind you, this was pre-Starbucks, and a good cup of coffee wasn’t always easy to find.

I went in and ordered some coffee, and as I was paying, I asked, Continue reading

Almond Orange Marmalade Cake



Almond Orange Marmalade Cake

This cake is one of the best things to come from marmalade.

Winter has its perks. Orange marmalade is one of them.

Every January, the UK shops stock up on Seville oranges. These Spanish beauties are the literally bitter reminders of a sunnier place. Bright orange and delicious-looking, Sevilles are unpalatable on their own, but with the addition of Continue reading

Nectarine Almond Cupcakes (End of summer consolation prize)


Just before I met The Author, I was living in New York City. One blistering summer day, I bought a peach from a Korean deli. I wasn’t thinking much about it, as I recall, except that I was hungry, a little bit thirsty, and I was on my way somewhere; so the peach seemed a good choice.  I paid the cashier, and I went back to sidewalk which seemed to pulsate heat, and I took a bite of my peach and – well, let me tell you how delicious it was: years later, i am still thinking about that peach. Continue reading

Really Good Banana Bread


A few years back, in an effort to get The Twins to eat fruit in any form whatsoever during their morning break, I made loaf after loaf of banana bread and packed it into their coat pockets for their snack. One day, after school, one of the other mums came up to me and said, “The banana cake you make for your kids looks really good.”

Cake?! I wouldn’t give my kids CAKE for a healthy mid-morning snack!

But, as it turns out, of course I do. What’s the difference between cake and bread if they both contain flour, sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla? Well, the fact that I put butter on the top of the banana bread is one difference, but even then, I’d be hard-pressed to say it’s very different from a butter cream frosting.  Continue reading

Chocolate Babka (or False Memory Syndrome)

Swirls of chocolate are delightful!I think I can safely say that this cake rivals the best babkas I’ve never had. Yes, you read that right.

I spent the first seven years of my life in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area, and that has helped to form not just my tastes but my memories (real or imagined) of tastes.  Continue reading

Carrot Cake

the completed cakeI am not a vegan, but I often get asked to make things with no animal products in them. This carrot cake is one of them.

For my inspiration, I turned to Gaia’s Kitchen,” a cookbook written by my colleague and friend Julia Ponsonby. Julia has compiled this cookbook and her subsequent book, “Gaia’s Feasts“, with recipes gathered from students, teachers, mentors, friends and volunteers at the college, as well as creations of her own. Because Schumacher has a vegetarian kitchen, all of the recipes are vegetarian, and many have suggestions for how to alter them for special diets (e.g. egg free, gluten free, dairy free, vegan…).  Continue reading