Tag Archives: cake

rhubarb skillet cake

May 3, 2018

This recipe is the result of one of those happy accident moments. The kind where you set out with one intention and are left with an entirely different (read not bad, just not expected) result. What started as a batch of scones, somewhere along the way lost its true scone-ness and became instead this equally good but different skillet cake. The very first round wasn’t good exactly but it held the promise of possibility and to my mind that warrants, if nothing else, at least another try. You see, I’m a big believer in happy accidents, in leaving room for magic and the promise of possibility, both in life and in the kitchen. It is precisely the potential in these between spaces that keep the everyday interesting, exciting and fresh. If I don’t leave space for the unexpected or what I more fondly prefer to think of as an everyday sort of magic I find that is when a staleness creeps in and a rigidity of routine and shortsightedness creeps in. This quickly becomes stifling and a vicious cycle which leads to nowhere except feeling uninspired and not being able to see the elegance in the everyday. And so back to our skillet cake. No, it did not turn out to be a batch of scones and yes the first incarnation of the batter was, quite frankly a runny, gummy disaster, but I baked it anyway and tasted and what I found was that I loved the flavors and the hearty delicateness of the cake. There was spark of something there, a hit that something more was possible, and so a few tweaks and few more tests and this lovely rhubarb skillet cake became something all its own. 

It’s perfect to use up the glut of rhubarb this time of year and a lovely fluffy breakfast or brunch dish (of course you could serve it with fresh berried and a dollop of cream for dessert too) sort of thing. It comes together incredibly quickly with rather little effort, especially if using a food processor. But, you don’t need one to make it. And as it bakes the smell fills the kitchen and permeates the rooms beyond adding only to the magic of these brightly light spring mornings 

Breakfast Rhubarb Skillet Cake

  • 2C | 250g flour
  • 1/4C | 65g sugar
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 5 TBSP | 74g butter
  • 1 C |150g Rhubarb – sugared with scant 3 Tbsp / 35g
  • 1/2 C + 1T buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla
  • demerara sugar or other course grained sugar for sprinkling over the top plus a Tbsp or so extra buttermilk (optional)
  1. preheat your oven to 425F/ 220C
  2. grease a 9″ pie dish or round baking pan, line the bottom with a circle of parchment.
  3. Slice rhubarb stock into 1/4″ or so discs and toss with the 3 T | 35g sugar
  4. in a food processor or large bowl combine the flour, 1/4C|65g sugar, baking powder, butter. Pulse together until the texture of peas and turn out into a large bowl. Do not over work, some chunks of butter is ok. If doing it by hand, rub butter into the flour mixture with the tip of your fingers.
  5. toss the rhubarb with the flour and mix to coat well. make a well at the center of the dry mixture and add in the buttermilk. Stir to combine, then add the egg lightly beaten and vanilla. stir until everything is just combined and turn out the mixture into the baking pan
  6. with the back of a spoon spread mixture evenly in the pan and score crosswise about 6 times
  7. Brush the top with a little extra buttermilk and sprinkle with demerara sugar
  8. Bake 30-35 mins

Olive Oil Cake with Bay & Orange

January 22, 2015

This is a cake to linger over. 
The kind of cake I would make if my dearest girlfriends were in town. The entire afternoon would be spent around the table, deep in delicious conversation, with cup after cup of tea and a slice of this cake.  

The table itself doesn’t really matter, only that there is one. It could be smartly dressed in the crispest white linen, delicate sea foam colored tea cups and glimmers of gold and glass. 

Or it could have nothing of the sort, bare well worn, well loved wood, the softest washed linen napkins and handmade grey mugs with chunky handles, perfect for holding. 


This cake is comfortable in any setting. 


It sticks to the roof of your mouth in the most delightful, not too sweet way. Better than the way peanut butter does; with more elegance. The subtle bay infused olive oil is the backbone of this recipe. 
Its the sticky bit, the rich bit. 
And as your tongue moves to the roof of your mouth, your nose picks up the aroma of the bay. The orange is there too, vibrant but not loud. Its doesn’t compete with the bay or the olive oil. The three are harmonious. 


It is unfussy this cake. In this recipe it has an icing glaze, but it needn’t. It is made in a fancy bunt pan because I wanted to use one but could just as easily be made in a loaf pan. The most important part is infusing the olive oil, everything else just falls into place. 
I combined some of this recipe with some from here. Both recipes are lovely on their own and I would recommend trying each. I must say, I wouldn’t mind having both writers to tea either.


I use a fruity, medium bodied olive oil because I want to taste it in the cake but still want the bay to come through. 
I very gently heat the olive oil. If it gets too hot it will begin to bitter and lose some of its richness. It should be warm to the touch, but not hot. A minutes or so on the heat is all really. Then drop in the bay leaves, 3 or 4, fresh if possible and keep warming over a very low heat until the aroma of the bay hits your nose. Leave on the heat about 5 minutes more, taking care that it does not get too hot. Then remove from the heat and let it stand, 2 hours as a minimum but better overnight. 
You can make a bit extra if you like and use it to drizzle over salads or a goats cheese. Its not a bad thing to have on hand. 



Olive Oil Cake with Bay & Orange

10 bay leaves 
80ml fruity medium bodied olive oil (infused with 3 or 4 bay leaves as above)
150g white flour
50g ground almonds
200g golden caster sugar 
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs 
50ml cointreau 
zest from half a medium orange 
juice from 1 orange 


For the Icing
100 grams icing sugar
1 tbsp cointreau 
3 tsp of almond milk (or regular milk)


Preheat the oven to 180 (350F) degrees 
Grease and flour your pan carefully. 


In a bowl sift together dry ingredients: flour, almonds, sugar and baking powder. 
Then in a small bowl gently beat the eggs together with the salt. Tip into the dry mixture along with the olive oil, cointreau, zest and juice from the orange. Gently stir to combine, making sure the batter is free from any lumps. 


Pour batter in to your greased and floured baking pan. Top the batter with the remaining bay leaves. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour depending on your pan. When a tester is inserted, it should come out clean. 


When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and turn it over onto a cooling rack. Let it cool completely before icing. 


For the icing, combine the sugar with the almond milk and cointreau. Stir well to combine, again making sure there are no lumps. With a spoon drizzle as much or little of the icing down over the top of the cake as you like.