Larger Cakes

A large, layered, decorated cake is almost a prerequisite as the centrepiece of a birthday afternoon tea, an anniversary or a farewell to a friend or colleague - and plainer cakes are perfect for everyday. Many older cookery books describe them as 'good cutting cakes' because they keep well in the tins and cut into neat, non-crumbly slices for ease of serving and eating with your fingers. Whether plain or fancy, it's always good to be able to say: 'I knew you were coming, so I baked a cake.'

  • Lemon Yoghurt Cake

    Lemon Yoghurt Cake

    There are many versions of Greek, Turkish and Armenian cakes made with yoghurt, and often with oil, since butter is used less in those cuisines. This one seems to have evolved in the 1980s when... More »

  • Hungarian Jam Cake

    Hungarian Jam Cake

    Three layers of rich sweet walnut pastry are baked separately, then formed into a shallow cake with home-made jam between the layers. This is a very elegant cake, a little like a sophisticated jam tart.... More »

  • Dolly Varden Cake

    Dolly Varden Cake

    A key character in Charles Dickens' novel Barnaby Rudge, which began appearing in instalments in 1841, Dolly Varden was a pretty, coquettish young woman, 'the very pink and pattern of good looks', whose dark eyes... More »

  • Biba's Aeblekage

    Biba's Aeblekage

    Tokoroa was a thriving timber industry town in the 1950s and the workers it attracted from Europe and Scandinavia brought their cooking traditions with them. Shirley Dunphy contributed her Danish friend Biba's recipe for this... More »

  • Chocolate, Red Wine and Cherry Cake

    Chocolate, Red Wine and Cherry Cake

    I had never heard of using red wine in a cake, but it seems that a chocolate cake with red wine in the mix is a well-known German recipe. This version, however, which was sent... More »

  • Simple Sultana Cake

    Simple Sultana Cake

    This is an absolutely delicious cake which cuts into extremely neat slices. It is also very quickly mixed and keeps well. The recipe came from Bert Oomen, who made it regularly for his son-in-law Peter... More »

  • Banana Chocolate Fudge Cake

    Banana Chocolate Fudge Cake

    This cake was an Auckland Art Gallery special, made by Janine Law who ran the Art Gallery CafĂ© in the late 1980s and she kindly gave me the recipe. It is a large and lovely... More »

  • Lebanese Banana Cake

    Lebanese Banana Cake

    From The Yoghurt Book: Food of the Gods (1983) by Arto der Haroutunian. This is an unusual cake since the bananas are sliced rather than mashed, the cake is flavoured with rose water, and it... More »

  • Chocaroon Cake

    Chocaroon Cake

    One of my favourite community cookbooks, simply called Our Recipe Book, was published in December 1967 by the Karitane Public Hall Building Committee. It has an interesting selection of recipes and as soon as I... More »

  • Special Chocolate Cake

    Special Chocolate Cake

    I began making this cake when I was about seven, using my mother's Kenwood Chef food mixer, and it was so successful that I speedily came to consider myself a chocolate-cake expert. It seems very... More »

  • Fasting Cake (Nistisimo Kek)

    Fasting Cake (Nistisimo Kek)

    I found this simply-made cake in Favourite Greek Recipes - a delightful book put together by the Greek Orthodox Community of Wellington. The compilers have included a list of dishes for Lent made without eggs,... More »

  • Armenian Nutmeg Cake

    Armenian Nutmeg Cake

    This delightful plain cake is very fast to mix, involves no creaming of butter and sugar, and with surprisingly little effort you end up with a crunchy base and a tender and nutty top layer.... More »

  • Paris-Brest


    Just like an enormous, circular cream puff, Paris-Brest is surprisingly fast and easy to make and is guaranteed to delight any recipient - as long as they like whipped cream. In 1891 a Parisian patissier... More »

  • Fijian Chocolate Cake

    Fijian Chocolate Cake

    This is a tender, dark and flavoursome cake which is extremely fast and easy to make. It includes a tin of coconut cream - hence the Fijian name - and the method of making involves... More »

  • Sister Blake's Cake

    Sister Blake's Cake

    This is another of the 16 recipes that Shirley Dunphy contributed to the 1963 Tokoroa fundraising recipe book, Cooking for Fun. (The Chocolate Caramel Fingers in Ladies, a Plate were also hers.) Sister Blake was... More »