The perfect Saturday afternoon: tea, cake, & politics

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Today has been one of those days. It doesn’t matter how good your intentions were yesterday; today, it just didn’t happen. I had loads of plans (reading! note-taking! shopping! tidying!), but in reality I’ve managed to accomplish just one. And that was to make The Ultimate Banana Bread. So it’s not so bad, really.

I have a slight confession here: this is not my recipe. I mean, I’ve tweaked it a little from the original, but in essence it is not mine. However, I don’t feel so bad about using someone else’s recipe, because it is THE BEST. You heard me. It never fails. It makes a beautiful crust, but stays moist and is so moreish. I baked it for some friends I’m seeing tomorrow, but it’s going to be a challenge to keep it that long…

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The original recipe can be found here. Usually I substitute half of the caster sugar with soft brown sugar instead (today I used dark brown, because that was all I had), and I cut the quantity of sugar down to 200g instead of 225g. I also add spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger – because every cake is improved by spices. (Maybe not Victoria sponge… though perhaps that’s a challenge I should tackle!)

So my Saturday afternoon consisted of baking cake, listening to Any Questions on Radio 4 (and shouting at the radio – turns out mixing batter is a great way of venting your anger), drinking Earl Grey, eating cake, and making lists for the week ahead. How was yours?

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Epidavrian Citrus & Honey Yoghurt Cake

Oranges and lemons from Epidavros

Yoghurt cake is surprisingly versatile, and a lighter option if you enjoy baking but are worried about excessive cake consumption. I made a version of this last week with just the zest of an orange as flavouring (minus the lemon zest, vanilla, and honey), and it quickly disappeared! It’s great with ice cream or plain, my sister chose to drizzle honey over it, and mum had it with a kumquat preserve that she found in the cupboard. You can experiment with accompaniments and flavours (I might try a liqueur of some sort next, we seem to have loads of different ones hanging around) – the basic recipe remains the same, and better still, you only need one bowl. Easy peasy!


  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 150g caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 300g Greek yoghurt (I used 2% fat)
  • 150ml sunflower oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1/2 orange
  • 2 tbsp good runny honey (I used an amazing local thyme honey)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • flaked almonds, to top (optional)

What to do:

1. Pre-heat your oven to fan 160°C (or 180°C without the fan – I generally prefer to use the fan as it cooks things more evenly). Butter a cake tin – mine was approx 20x10cm; the recipe doesn’t make a huge amount of batter, so don’t use one that’s too big!

2. Mix together the flour, ground almonds, sugar, and salt in a bowl, then make a well in the centre.

3. Throw in the eggs, yoghurt, and oil, and stir with a spoon until you have a smooth batter. (Tip: Turn the bowl as you stir to speed up the process.)

4. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well, then pour the batter into your tin. Scatter over some flaked almonds.

5. Bake for about half an hour until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. (Don’t worry if it looks like it’s burning around the edges – you can always cut these off if you don’t like crusts, but personally I love them!) Cool in the tin for 10 minutes or so and then remove to a rack to allow the cake to cool further.


The finished product!