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Aunty Molly’s Peach Blossom Cake Recipe

My Great Aunty Molly had one daughter, Valerie. My mother, being one of three girls, was always rather envious of Valerie, who she considered “spoilt”. She was especially envious of Valerie’s birthday parties, the highlight being Aunty Molly’s Peach Blossom Cake, a light, lemony flavored butter cake, colored pink and iced with white lemon frosting and dusted with pink sugar. Sometimes, when my three sisters and I were little, my mother would bake this cake for us as a special treat. Joanna bakes this cake in Dying for Cake for Sophie’s birthday party. Sophie’s party is a disaster but, as Clare later muses, “At least the cake had been good. Better than good…the cake had been perfect.” (p109) 


(150g) 5ozs butter

(225g) 8ozs castor sugar

Finely grated rind of one lemon (or one teaspoon of lemon essence)

(225g) 8ozs self-raising flour sifted with 1tbspn of corn flour (Aunty Molly’s secret ingredient)

120ml milk (about 4 ½ fl oz) – colored with a few drops of cochineal

3 egg whites, beaten up until stiff and snowy


Grease a round cake tin and line with baking paper.

Preset the oven to 150*C (300*F)

Cream the butter, sugar and lemon rind (or essence) until light and fluffy.

Fold in the sifted flour alternately with the milk.

Quickly fold in the beaten egg whites until just combined.

Cook at 300*F for 40 minutes or until cake springs back to touch.

Allow cake to cool for 5 minutes in tin before turning out onto a wire rack.

When cake is cold ice with lemon frosting and dust with pick sugar*.

(*To make pink sugar, add a drop of cochineal to ¼ cup of granulated sugar and stir with a metal spoon.)