It’s a simple pleasure, the smell of it cooking and the soft, gently flavoured crumb is like time travel to Mum’s warm, colourful kitchen. My happy place.
My mum – artist and co-author Annie Herron – is a wonderful cook. And of all the good things she makes, this is the cake we love most. It’s a simple pleasure, the smell of it cooking and the soft, gently flavoured crumb is like time travel to Mum’s warm, colourful kitchen. My happy place.
We live four hours west of Sydney; Mum and Dad live halfway between here and there. And somehow, like magic, whenever we drop in, this cake is waiting on the bench, warm and ready to share. It’s like a big edible welcome hug.
I find that kids especially love this one. It’s something to do with the chocolatey flavour not being too rich. My son Tom especially likes it warm from the oven, in a puddle of cold thin cream. Who could blame him?
And like all good “plain cake” recipes, it’s happy to be taken in lots of different directions. One of my favourites being a malted orange version: for this, you swap out the Milo for malted milk powder and add in some grated orange zest and a little vanilla.
Baking like this, repeating beloved recipes over and over, even when you’d probably like to mix things up and try something new, is true love made edible. When Mum makes us this cake, I know she does it because we all (children and grandchildren alike) enjoy it so much. She knows that having it cooling on the bench when we walk in the door is another way of saying, “I’m so happy you’re here. I love you.” And isn’t that the very best taste of home?
AROUND THE KITCHEN TABLE BY SOPHIE HANSEN AND ANNIE HERRON IS OUT NOW.
Five-Minute Milo Cake
1½ cups self-raising flour
1 cup caster sugar
¾ cup Milo
3 eggs, at room temperature
½ cup softened butter, cut into cubes
½ cup milk
Icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 23cm springform tin and line the tin with baking paper.
Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat for 5 minutes.
Spoon the batter into the tin and bake for about 35 minutes or until the cake is springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Serve the cake dusted with icing sugar.
TIP You can substitute Milo here by mixing 2 tablespoons cocoa powder with ½ cup malted milk powder. The cake will be a bit darker and more chocolatey, but still delicious!