We put the homemade cakestand to work at a double-birthday, bearing one of a pair angel cakes to a crowd of finger-puppet-making children. I threw the cakestand on the wheel in England last spring. With pleasure.

handmade cakestand

First I threw a large plate onto a wooden bat, which is stuck to the wheel with clay. The plate is wired off but left on the bat to dry to leather-hard. I cut and played with the edges to scallop them, I love it! Then I centered the plate upside-down on the wheel. I scored a circle, and made a coil of new clay to fit, then threw the pedestal up off the plate with that clay. If you use too much water the plate will turn to mush, so it is a tricky business.

hand-thrown cakestand

I ought to have let the piece dry upside down as well; it fell somewhat, but is still charming.

scalloped cakestand

The children and I made spelt angel cakes, using my grandmother’s trusty sifter to get it as light as possible. I couldn’t find any icing sugar that was certain to be pure, so we decided to use whipped cream, sweetened with stevia to ice it. I coloured some of the cream pink with a bit of juice from raspberries. This is my first rather squishy experiment with a cake-decorating tool. Rosettes, how nice!

homemade cake & cakestand

My grandmother’s old cake stand carried one cake, and mine the other. I’m quite pleased with how the stands act like a plinth to a sculpture, adding a bit of ceremony to match such a treat as a birthday cake. Served with homemade raspberry lemonade in my grandmother’s extraordinarily fancy collection of china, it was a proper tea-party!


p>(Update:Now you can special order a cakestand from appleturnover’s lakeside studio – just write me a note!)

chocolate torte

Early Spring turns my mind to chocolate and eggs, so a flourless chocolate torte fulfills some seasonal cravings. Oh I admit it, I drift away on thoughts of rich, dark chocolate, at any time of year. At least in spring I have an excuse for my fixation, and this cake is entirely justified.

For the torte that I mixed up in my quintessential mixing bowl, weigh 200 grams each of dark chocolate, sugar, butter; then separate four eggs.


Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler, or a bowl over simmering water.


Stir half of the sugar into the separated yolks, then fold in the melted butter-chocolate.


Beat the eggwhites til frothy, then slowly add the remaining sugar until you’ve got lovely soft peaks. Fold this gently into the rest, and fill a two-piece cake tin, greased and lined with parchment. Bake til a toothpick comes out cleanly, about 35 minutes. Turn it out to cool.


At River Cottage we made a gorgeous chocolate torte using pear purée. I’m still waiting for that recipe! Until then this one suits us very well.