I haven’t baked for a Brocante lifetime. I gave it up as a bad job in favour of prawn salad and smoked haddock. For the sake of skinny thighs.

But after a night spent on my knees convincing Finley that the "hair in his mouth" was more likely to be a sore throat,  I woke up this morning  desperate for the cosy bliss of baking a brown cake, radiators on high, pink-pinny tied in an extravagant bow and  the Woman's Hour on the Roberts Radio. I’ve been denying my authentic needs for way too long. And plainly what this girl authentically needs is the restoration of my equilibrium, a sprinkling of cinnamon and an intelligent conversation about Virginia Woolfe's claim that all women need is a "room of their own" in order to reach creative ecstasy.

And so I baked a cake. A vintage, cosy "brown" cake. To be served with clementines and clotted cream at three o’clock- the witching hour for every woman who knows what it is like to find yourself beholden to a demanding, daft, three year old, twenty four hours a day…


1 teaspoonful of baking powder.  1/2 lb flour. 3 oz dark brown sugar. 4 oz margarine. 1 teaspoonful of ground cinnamon. 4 oz pint of golden syrup. 2 eggs. 3 tbsp cold strong coffee.


"Beat the sugar and the margerine to a cream. Sift the flour with the ground cinnamon and baking powder. Whisk the eggs, warm the golden syrup and add it, then whisk all together. Gradually stir the flour into the creamed fat, moistening the mixture with the eggs and golden syrup, and lastly the cold coffee.

Beat all together before turning the mixture into a greased baked tin and put it in a moderate oven to bake.

Who needs skinny thighs??