This is probably the first (and so far only) simple cake I’ve mastered. It’s from Small Victories by Julia Turshen, which is a staple cookbook in our home. The kids call it afternoon tea cake because they don’t know that tea cakes have now been rebranded to #snackingcakes :D, such amateurs. I’ve adapted it to be gluten-free, but if you don’t care about that, then good old all-purpose flour, as per the original recipe, will be perfect too.
The cake is pale yellow with orange flecks from the zest. I use organic cane sugar because I love the added depth which enhances both the colour and orange flavor. Powdered sugar is totally optional, but looks pretty if you’re making it for friends or your kids are nutso for it like mine. I’ve brought it to my mom’s for dessert, made it during the hard days of lock down in April, and switched up the flavours (as per Julia’s suggestions) to lemon poppyseed. Side note, Ali “panic” bought a tub of Nutella at the start of the pandemic, and thought it was a brilliant idea to smear it over everything, including his slice of tea cake. It sort of annoyed me, but he’s the guy who puts ketchup on everything and once in hand of a large tub of Nutella, felt it deserved the same treatment as his other favourite condiment. He’s his own man, but this cake doesn’t need Nutella, trust me!
I think having a back-pocket cake is a good thing. A recipe you always have the ingredients for or requires the quickest dash to the corner market or grocery store. I didn’t have one till this cake and it makes me happy (and sort of adult) that I now do. Could this be yours? Do you already have one? Try it and see. Maybe it’ll be this cake which you quietly eat leaning against the kitchen counter or scrolling on your phone or with your second cup of coffee, whatever activities could just be better with a slice of cake.