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This recipe is a personal favourite. Given to me many years ago by my grandmother, Gwendolyn (aka Poppy), on a piece of my grandfather’s old letterhead which used to sit in the bureau drawers below her telephone and under the old TAA calendar. While those things have long since moved to new homes, this little recipe will live on for a while longer in my heart.

Poppy at Byron Bay

Poppy at Byron Bay Lighthouse, March 1947

This is a simple recipe to put together if you have visitors popping by – I can think of many a day where an entire cake has been devoured at the hands of my husband and/or brother in one sitting. Now, my boys enjoy the process of making the cake plus, I’ve been able to adjust it to manage my little one’s egg allergy.

1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg (can be replaced with 1 stewed apple)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
scant 1/2 cup milk
1 good cup of self raising flour (sifted)

Icing ingredients:
1/2 teaspoon melted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon coconut
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

There are a few grandma terms in this recipe. Please feel free to interpret ‘scant’ and ‘a good cup’ in your own way, but these are the original details, so I wanted to be true to the recipe and ensure they were included.


1. Preheat the oven to moderate (which is about 180oC but adjust to suit your oven)

2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. (I use a small bowl to mix this together as the quantity is not very large – so a smaller bowl seems to mix more effectively).

3. Add in an unbeaten egg and mix well. (If using the egg free version you can add the stewed apple at this point. As my son’s egg allergy gradually reduces, I slowly started to reintroduce the egg, first with just the yolk, then the whole egg – the recipe seems to work just fine with only a yolk).

4. In a separate cup, add the vanilla to the milk.

5. Add the sifted flour and milk alternatively to form a soft mixture. (You may need to use a larger bowl for this section).

6. Line the bottom of an 8 inch sandwich tin with baking paper and spray oil or grease butter around the edges of the tin.

My Aunty Didi always taught me to sprinkle a little bit of sugar into the tin and shake it around after the tin had been greased, helping to see if you’ve missed any spots as well as providing a yummy crust on the cake once cooked.

7. Pour the mixture into the tin and pop into the oven for about 30 minutes (or until cooked through – check by inserting a skewer into the top centre of the cake – if it comes out clean, I find it’s usually cooked).

8. While the cake is still warm, brush with half a teaspoon of melted butter and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of coconut and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. (If you’re not a fan of these topping ingredients, I often will just dust with a light sprinkle of icing sugar).

This recipe also works for small patty cakes – you just need adjust the cooking time to somewhere between 10-15 minutes depending on your oven. Just be careful to not overcook these as they will become a little dry.

I hope you enjoy this little yummy piece of our family history!