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Welcome to my online hangout space! I'm Chi - mother, childrenswear designer, founder of 106, blogger ..... Phew! I think I need to lie down. Read more.



The Particular Sadness Of Cake

My, have I missed you all! I am sorry I was away for so long but unfortunately, it was unavoidable. My little poppet was under the weather and understandably needed as much snuggle time, impromptu singing and dancing and cake as she could possibly get from me.

Coincidentally, The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake happens to be my book club's choice for this month and I finally began to read it in the last few days. It is about a little girl who suddenly discovers - to her alarm - that the emotions she can taste in her mother's chocolate lemon cake are completely at odds with her happy-go-lucky demeanour. I am only a few pages in but, so far, it is at once beautiful, evocative and poignant.

If I may make so bold, I think it is the perfect accompaniment to my specially adapted version of Donna Hay's Blueberry Almond Cake in the July issue of Livingetc. (which I will share in a moment) and a hot cup of rooibos chai.




I was recently bitten by the baking bug when I learned that I could satisfy my irrepressible sweet tooth, despite having a multitude of food intolerances.  I owe this in no small measure to Helene Dujardin of Tartelette and Béatrice Peltre of La Tartine Gourmande.  They have proven, time and again, that wholesome food needn't be lumpen and unappetising and given me the confidence to experiment in order to suit my unique needs.

Because of their incredibly inspiring blogs (and Béatrice's wonderful book), I have been able to pull off two gluten-free birthdays for my daughter  - unbeknownst to her little guests and their parents. Mere words cannot express how thankful I am to them for this gift.

Without further ado (and to stop my incessant gushing!) here is my take on Donna's recipe.



/Blueberry Almond Cake/

Serves 8


4 eggs

190g xylitol + 18 drops liquid stevia*

1/4 teaspoon powdered bourbon vanilla

60g buckwheat flour**

60g whole rice flour**

30g oat flour**

1 teaspoon baking powder**

150g goats' butter, melted

120g ground almonds

250g blueberries


Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

Whisk eggs, xylitol, liquid stevia and powdered vanilla using an electric mixer for 8-10 minutes.

Sift flours and baking powder over egg mixture and fold in.

Fold in melted butter and ground almonds.

Pour mixture into a lined pan measuring approx. 26 x 20 x 5cm and top with blueberries.

Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until it passes the squeaky clean skewer test.***

Turn out and cool on a wire rack.

Devour as the mood takes you.



*Rather typically, I ran out of xylitol. Ideally, I would have used 220g.

**My own gluten-free version of self-raising flour.

***This was my first ever hour-and-ten-minute cake and it was absolutely worth the wait.



My cake was moist and surprisingly light, if I say so myself. In fact, it was so toothsome that I had it for brunch yesterday and breakfast this morning. Alas, such treats never last long and (all too soon) they are but a sweet memory on the lips.

P.S. Thank you to all my Pias for checking in on me during my absence and for your thoughtful messages. You are truly the very best friends a girl could wish for!

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Reader Comments (13)

Dream post, Chi! As you may remember, I've worked with Helene at a photography workshop and I simply adore her. She's the real deal. She has it going on and she's who I want to be when I grow up. You can't go wrong with her recipes or her mentoring. And I loved the Particular Sadness of the Lemon Cake. Fascinating novel. I loved her other novel too...can't remember the name of it, but check it out.

Glad you're all feeling better, dear. We missed you!

June 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

So glad you made it out on the other side alive! Welcome back, darling. That cake looks delicious, but I simply don't have the restraint to not devour the entire thing in one sitting! Carbs are my weakness. If I were an astute enough baker I'd convert the recipe to our measuring system, but I guess it's better (for my waistline) if I don't! haha

xoxo You know we all credit you with the creation of the Pia Posse terminology.

June 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErin

I'm really impressed with your cake making skills Chi. it's tough when children don't appreciate the healthy things we cook them, and they push it around their plates and demand the fat and processed food in the supermarkets, so I'm even more impressed that you are able to pull this off and it be really delicious, of course with the help of Helene and Beatrice.

I hope your little'un is feeling better x

June 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSam Lennie

I am so happy to come here today and read that you are all feeling better. Truly. I can't think of any better way to celebrate feeling better than making a cake from scratch! Multi-talented, you are. If I'm remembering correctly, I think you and Lauren both had cake for breakfast this week. You girls know how to live life!
PS~Aw, the Pia Posse. I cannot wait to tell my kids about this group. when they can fully understand the specialness of it. Or perhaps it cannot be explained; It just is and we feel it. :)

June 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTheresa

Thanks Chi you have just provided me with my book choice to suggest to my book group next week! Hope your little "poppet" is feeling much better now!

Have a great weekend luv :)

June 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterToni @ Skandivis

glad your little one is better... i am beyond excited to try out this recipe! i am g.f and i struggle to find treats that taste 'normal'... i'm also lazy and quite often can't be bothered. i'll look up the blogs you mentioned. i need some inspiration!
i'm looking forward to reading 'the particular sadness of lemon cake'. ahhhh, reading for pleasure. so awesome xx

June 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterleah of sang the bird

I don't have a sweet tooth so don't ever miss cake but being riddled with food intolerances I appreciate how you feel.

This looks delicious and I will have a go next time I have guests. In my experience, guests are always happy with what. i put in front of them. Often, they don't realise it's sugar, dairy, wheatfree..... ha!!

Thanks for these blogs. I will go and check them out.
Glad you're back and long live PP. x

June 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertina

Can I just say that this is possibly my favourite blog post title ever??

I'm so glad little L is feeing better, poor little lamb x

I think I pointed out that every Skandi blog was written by someone called Pia and then Theresa said we should just say everything is 'like sooo Pia' (or was that Erin?) and then I think you added the posse. Of course you did! That's probably a mis-recollection but as with any great thing the truth is lost in the passing of time. We are so lucky! Please can we be like the Divine Secrets of the Ya Yah Sisterhood? And I'd like to be Vivi seeing as you're asking. Just so I can alternate between playing tennis and sitting in bed drinking gin.

And I LOVE that you and Lauren both had cake for breakfast this week. Go girls! xx

June 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterannie

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