My first bite of this amazing cake was soon after my son was born. My mother-in-law brought over a few pieces for my husband and me in those early days when a meal delivery was an incredible gift. It was love at first bite and I shamelessly asked her to make us several more cakes over the next few months. It is a wonderful not-too-sweet bite to have after a meal or for a breakfast. It also is great to gobble down after a 3:00 am nursing— I have put this to the test repeatedly.
My in-laws discovered the cake while they were living in Australia on sabbatical. It is an old British recipe that has several variations, such as using Meyer lemons instead of oranges or adding grated ginger, but I like the almond and orange version that I was first served best.
Ayurvedically, this cake is a perfect treat for new mothers, with ojas building almond meal and pasture-raised eggs that can add to your breastmilk's flavor and boost production. It is also a grounding. stabilizing food, which most mothers need after laboring and delivering their baby or babies. Many new mothers avoid citrus during the first six weeks as their milk is established with concerns of it being off-putting to their newborn's belly, but because the oranges for this recipe are boiled, the acidity is reduced greatly and I have not heard of any mother or baby having trouble with this cake.
It is also a naturally gluten-free cake, so if gluten is an issue for you or for the ones you are sharing it with, be sure to also substitute a gluten-free flour to dust the pan with.
I have adapted the ingredients lists from a few different recipes and offered the step-by-step instructions that I use myself. If my recipe works for you, then wonderful, but if it needs to be tweaked to make it perfect for you, adapt my recipe or look for variations online that might please you more.
I have made this for every blessingway, baby shower, and meal-share for new families since this cake was first shared with me. Every time it has been a huge hit and also sending out the recipe to friends who are eager to make it themselves.
When I am making this cake, especially for mothers-to-be and new mothers, I know they are nurturing their bodies with it, as well as their baby's, so I like to first get myself centered before I begin the recipe. I settle into washing my hands and tying my apron, keeping the mother of honor in my mind and wishing her a blessed good birth and a joyful, healing postpartum. I send up a prayer that this cake will nourish her and her baby and serve their bellies well. I put on uplifting music or sing myself while I prepare the ingredients. Like the recipe, make this ritual your own, with your prayers and wishes and meditation as you feel drawn to do. Allow your heart's goodness to fill you and carry over to all who will share in the cake.