Generations & Cultures on Cake with a Pudding Cake Recipe

Generations & Cultures on Cake with a Pudding Cake Recipe

If my memory serves me correctly, the smell of sweet cake floated from the kitchen right to the door to greet each visit to my grandmother’s. We’d pass through the breakfast nook and stop for a chat, just for her to offer me something sweet from her collection. She’d cut through cake that smelled of nutmeg and gently place slices on plates with flowers that danced while birds fell in love--and that was mine, the plate with the two love birds. She called me Lover Bird.  

A grandmother’s handwritten cake recipe with her grandson’s little hands

A grandmother’s handwritten cake recipe with her grandson’s little hands

But, she doesn’t remember.  I try each day to pick her thoughts, but it seems the memories have sailed away—the plate and the sweet name she gave me all news to her.  She hesitates much the same way she does when you ask her the most treasured recipe of her childhood or how she learned to make such good cake. Now and again she calls me down to sift through note cards and recipe journals and when the stars align in my favor, I find handwritten notes stained with time leading me to the memories of my childhood.

Much like this recipe that fell from heaven into my lap while flipping through books and chatting about lace curtains and the merits of freezing fresh lemon juice into the ice cubes just like her mother used to do. And, although I’ve taken it and made it my own, it still smells like grandma’s hands, and rich butter, eggs and spice.  So, here is my version of a pudding cake worth remembering, for the sake of memories. It’s an everyday cake with a bit of ceremony. It comes together quickly, especially if you have a serving or two of rich custard sitting around, which I prefer over pudding. And if you’re not in the habit of making custard, well I think this is the sort of cake that would inspire you to do so.

Memories Shared by Readers

“Jam-filled—I use a recipe from the 1940s” — @isabellegraceco

“Lime, olive oil, & yoghurt cake” — @glassandsnacks

“Literally any cake is my favorite cake” — @frakturfolk & “Any cake! Except it has to be gluten- and dairy-free because of my Celiac” — @documentr

“Carrot!” — @samanthapaigek, @siobhanthedreamer, & @aamalymag

“My absolute favourite above else is the Peach Kirscha my mum used to make” — @melissawilsonshaw

“How do we pick one cake?! Made-up-on-the-spot cake! Also this traditional naked Cassata Siciliana cake made with ricotta cheese and Chocolate cake with Italian merengue buttercream. Oh but also torta alle mondorle e limoni, a Sicilian almond & lemon cake” — @vyana.novus, who takes the cake!

A Pudding Cake to Remember


  • 2 ¼ cup of whole wheat pastry flour or cassava flour

  • 3 ½ tsp of baking powder

  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg

  • ½ tsp of unrefined sea salt

  • 1 cup of organic sugar or coconut sugar

  • ¾ cup of fruity olive oil

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 T vanilla extract

  • Juice from one orange diluted with water, if necessary, to make ¾ cup of liquid

  • 1 cup of custard, see recipe below


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt into a large mixing bowl and sift with a whisk until combined.

  2. Add sugar, olive oil, eggs, vanilla, and orange juice to a bowl and mix until well combined. Pour in custard and mix until smooth.

  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.  Pour batter into an 8 or 9 inch springform pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 45 - 50 minutes or until the smell of the cake takes over the kitchen and it springs back to touch.

Vanilla Custard for Now & Later


  • 4 large egg yolks, preferably pasture-raised or organic

  • 4 TB raw honey

  • A pinch of salt

  • 2 cups of milk, plant-based or grass-fed whole milk

  • 1 tablespoon of butter or ghee, preferably pasture-raised or organic

  • 1 tsp of vanilla


Make sure to dip fingers in the bowl for a taste

Make sure to dip fingers in the bowl for a taste

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk 4 yolks until they lighten in color slightly.  Drizzle in honey and add a pinch of salt, whisking until combined.

  2. Heat milk and butter in a saucepan until bubbles form around.  Slowly pour into yolk mixture, whisking as you pour. Return this mixture to the pot and continue to heat over medium low heat, stirring gently with a rubber spatula taking care to scrape sides of the pot.  

  3. Once the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove the pan from the heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour into a glass measuring cup and let it cool at room temperature--stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.  Set aside one cup for the cake and save the remaining custard for pouring on berries, serving up in bowls with whipped cream, making pudding pops or eating straight from the spoon.

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