Simple Provisions

Last-Minute Afternoon Tea Cake

I aspire to country-style hospitality, where there’s always a cake cooling on the table and a pot of tea on the boil for visitors who “pop in”.

But modern, city life doesn’t seem conducive to the well-catered pop-in. It’s more likely that I’ll have rubbery carrots lingering in the crisper and a half-eaten bag of corn chips on-hand for visitors instead of a freshly-baked cake. And who’s stopping by unexpectedly anyway? Life is so busy in this city I have to schedule time with friends two weeks in advance. So even if I did make a cake, I’d be waiting hopefully for the door to buzz as I picked at the edges of the crust, finally giving in to a generous slice, or three, because no friends “happened to be in the neighbourhood”.

In an effort to hold on to my romantic notion of warm cakes and fresh tea, I baked for an unexpected afternoon treat. Last weekend I had family in town and they spent their days crossing the sights of NYC off their to-see list, which can be exhausting work. I thought a little afternoon tea would soothe their weary tourist bodies.

This is the simplest cake I know how to make. There is no creaming of butter and sugar, no whipping of icing. You don’t need a KitchenAid, scales or even butter. This recipe uses olive oil and yoghurt to form a moist crumb and the lime adds a bright and delicious finish. You just mix dry ingredients with wet, bake and sprinkle with sugar. Afternoon tea is done.

It didn’t matter that I burnt the bottom slightly, or that my cousins had eaten their way around Manhattan and weren’t really in the mood for a slice of cake.  There was something in the act of baking and sharing that turned my apartment into a place to linger and share stories, recounting the sights of the day and laughing at the craziness of the city. It was a little bit of slow, country-style living in Brooklyn. Which I’ll take, as I’d possibly get bored in the country anyway.

This recipe is from the delightful blog Souvlaki For The Soul. I did not adapt it at all – I followed Peter’s instructions to the letter. You should check out his blog as the photos are incredibly beautiful and it’s full of delicious Greek-inspired recipes.

Lime, Yoghurt and Olive Oil Cake
(From )

Wet ingredients

Dry ingredients


Pre-heat oven to 180c/350f and grease a 22cm baking tin.

Mix all the wet ingredients in a bowl until well combined. In a separate, large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

Pour the mixed wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon till just combined (overworking the batter will result in a tough cake).

Pour into the baking tin and cook for 45-50 minutes, or until the cake is lightly browned on top and a skewer comes out clean when poked into the centre.

When cool mix the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the top of the cake to make it look pretty.