Monday, 4 January 2010

A Piece of Cake

One of the pleasures of winter is the wood fired slow combustion stove. The Traditional Japanese architecture of our home wasn't really designed to keep the cold out, but we have insulated the ceiling and closed off most of the drafts, and the wood stoves keep us nice and warm.

My first experience of a wood stove was on my Aunty and Uncles farm in Redesdale, Victoria in the early '70's. Whenever we would visit during winter, Mum would say, "You can't waste a hot oven!", and baking would summarily ensue. Scones, of course, was first on the agenda, but there was this one nifty cake recipe that was as simple as could be and came out perfect every time.

"Wonder Cake" she called it, and I make it now for my children. (Visitors too, if their timing is right!) It makes a great emergency birthday cake, and with the addition of nutmeg, or cocoa, or banana, or dried can transform into a myriad of different cakes.

I have altered the original recipe slightly to make it easier to make with the ingredients available here and to use olive oil instead of melted butter. So, if it happens to be your birthday, and your a bit short on preparation time, here's the recipe. It's a piece of cake. Happy Birthday!


1 Cup (250ml) Plain Flour

1 Cup of Sugar

1 Rounded Teaspoon (5ml) Baking Powder

1 Cup of; 60ml Olive Oil, 2 Eggs and fill it up with milk.

Mix it all together, pour it into a greased and floured cake tin and bake for 45 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.


  1. Thank you for this recipe, shall whip one up tonight after taking David to pick up a new 2nd-hand motorcycle. That way we both get a treat;)
    Have been following your blog for a few months and love your postings. Very thoughtful like yourself and with just the right sass to let me know you've not been long away from some great ruby red wine.
    Have been wanting to send you some snapshots of you, Mika and the kids from your visit to Oz back in '03 but must put it on hold until I get a new printer/scanner. The last one I had worked wonders until you needed to use the scanner; enough said, its now been donated to someone who doesn't care for scanning and I'm saving pennies to purchase a new scanner that can also print next month, hurray!
    Have also finalized my website...chose to do it all myself so it took a few months of designing, tweaking, changing my mind too many times, tweaking again, and now I think it may be ready to launch.
    Also, great news: have a gas kiln, studio and am potting--mostly experimenting with new glazes until I find the right ONE to use "forever from here on." Lookin' for that satin icing sugar one that will give me surprises when I reduce it, kind of like confectionary cooking magic.
    Take care and big hugs to all and wishes for a safe, prosperous and fabulous New Year ahead in 2010.
    Do let us know when you're next in Oz as 'mi casa es su casa' and we'd love to have you visit anytime.
    Kind regards...and warm regards from sunny Dapto,

  2. Hello Euan, and a belated Happy New Year to you and yours,
    Tried the recipe last night with some left over walnuts and hazelnuts ground in to the mix, went down extremely well with a ‘taster’ (or two) of my sloes gin. Thank you for sharing this simple but extremely morish recipe.

  3. Hi Renee!
    Thanks for the elves at Christmas! Glad things are moving forward with the pottery. I know the search for "The Glaze" feeling, I am working on a couple right now for a restaurant in tokyo. I'm not happy with it yet....needs more red wine. Mika has been working on a new website for me too, and I hope it will be up soon...that may take some red wine too.
    Don't know when we'll be back in Oz, but the plane flies both ways and you're always welcome here, you can bring David AND some more red wine. Cheers!

  4. Hi John,Walnuts and Hazelnuts sounds like magic! Especially with the gin chaser.Hope to give you more and more morishness in recipe blogs to come! Stay tuned....