Somali Shaa

A Heady Ginger and Mint Tea with Aromatic Spices 

Mamanushka, it turns out has a penchant for fragrant drinks. We’ve had Saffron  Kahwa from Kashmir, Orange Blossom Date Cooler from Fez, age old Ayurvedic Turmeric Milk , the ever so English Elderflower Cordial, and Home-made Strawberry Syrup shake.  So when my friend Hafsa served us some Somali Shaa at a  get-together, I knew at first sip that I had to share this magic with you.

Nowadays, no girlfriends gathering is complete without a kettle each of Saffron Kehwa and Somali Shaa. Seriously it’s so cute. If teas could be people  these two would be sisters for sure.

Whereas the Saffron Kehwa is a light refreshing tea – The Somali Shaa is darker, with a subtle kick to it.  I like to think of it as Somali Shaa being Kashmiri Kehwa’s older, wiser, more experienced confidante. 

The ginger and mint and cloves, cardamom and cinnamon  combo should be a perfume.  I’ve made this tea countless times and each time I savour the fragrance trying to figure out how I could describe it to you guys because it is a totally delicious blend of warm sugary ginger and aromatic spices.

Evocative of old school tea-houses – you can sit back and imagine you’re right in the middle of a vintage tea house in a bustling souk. It’s just got those vibes which makes it  a perfect festive offering. So go ahead and put this straight on your list of celebratory drinks. Whether you are celebrating Eid or Ramadan or whether you are celebrating a quiet hour while the kids are (finally!) asleep and everything in between!

I’ve been told you can add milk but make sure to try it without first. This is how my friend Hafsa’s mom makes it and trust me, you will love it.


4 and Half Cups of water

4 Cardamom pods (lightly pounded)

2 Cloves
1 Cinnamon stick

1-2 tsp Ginger (fresh or powdered)

Mint leaves – a generous bunch

Honey/Sugar/ for sweetness

Optional ~ Black tea (leaves or one tea bag)



This method is for aproximately 4 servings

Tea should always be brewed with fresh cold water so start by pouring the water into a pot

Add the cloves, cinnamon stick and the green cardimom pods. Bring to a boil on high heat and let it boil for five minutes. After five minutes steep the ginger and mint leaves into the bubbling water and keep on a high/medium heat for approximately eight minutes.

After eight minutes, add your choice of tea, turn the heat up high and continue to let it boil for two more minutes. I have used Earl grey and Assam tea in the past but you can use any tea you like or none at all.

Now is the time to add the sweetness. I know we like to keep the sugar to a minimum but let’s all agree to not skimp on it this time! If you want to avoid white sugar try a natural alternative like honey, agave nectar or coconut sugar. Don’t add less than 4 teaspoons and then test for taste. You might even add a couple more! Oh and if you’re going with honey, turn the heat off and add honey to the tea just before serving. Inhale the aroma. Relax. Enjoy your Somali Shaa.

Thank you so much Hafsa for sharing your mom’s recipe and method. In Love.

Will you be trying this? Let us know !


Guns N’ Kids

Ever have a moment that stops you? You sort of stumble a second or go mute, as your brain attempts to assimilate the intensity of all the various thoughts and feelings which have come, suddenly, crashing together? Well, unrolling this screenprint a few hours ago was one of those moments. || Kids and Guns || School Shootings || Screenprint || Art by Adot Ellison

We bought this nearly a decade ago and put it in storage until we could frame it. We were lucky to buy it direct from the artist and even then, we were drawn to the poignant political message it gave.

At the time, it reminded us of child soldiers – kids who should be drawing and creating instead of warring and killing. Today, I look at this image and see school shootings –  kids who should be learning and connecting instead of raging and dying. Either way, the kids are not alright.

There is nothing I can say here that hasn’t already been said better and by those whom this sadness has touched more directly. But know, for those of us whose children are practising lock down drills in school, for those of us whose children are practising how to talk to a police officer and remain alive, for those us who are fleeing to find a safe haven and for those of us organising for a better way forward – we see your struggle, we feel your panic and we embrace your hope. To raise a child is to change the world and we will do it together.



Original Screenprint by Adam Ellison


The Three Most Romantic Words || The Three Most Romantic Words || Marriage || Love Is Spoken Here

The first time I heard them was as a newlywed. We were meant to be stepping out for a small gathering in our honour and as a new bride, I was more than thrilled to dress up in  a carefully chosen outfit and shimmery make-up. But, despite my best intentions and planning, we were running late… no, I was making us late.

The slippery hijab kept escaping from my fingers, the eyeliner kept smudging and each glance at the clock increased my agitation. My husband, completely ready to leave, would check in – find me still fighting with that hijab and say nothing, eventually taking a seat to wait and in the process making me more anxious still. Finally, I heard his voice from the armchair in the corner,

Don’t stress, it’s okay. Take your time.

In hindsight, it seems like a ridiculous thing for me to have stressed over anyways but in that moment those words were transformative. Take your time. I immediately relaxed. The hijab pins fell into place, my cat eyes flicked upwards at just the right angle and in a matter of moments, I was done. I didn’t know it then, but these three words were destined to be amongst the most romantic I would ever hear. A permanent fixture in our own personal love lexicon.

You see, I was a slow child.

Not academically, nor even athletically but in the everyday rhythm of life, I’ve always functioned at a more ‘relaxed’ pace. Growing up, I was consistently running behind the family schedule – the last to get ready, the last to finish eating, the last to leave, the last to come inside.

My Mama, fastidious in her punctuality, was constantly reminding me of the time. An hour till we have to leave Aiysha. Thirty minutes. Fifteen. Five. We’re leaving!  

And despite my best attempts at starting extra early or organising myself better, I was still always rushing at the end. And I hated it. The countdown. The inner panic. That knowledge that I was holding others back. It was an ever present low level stress. And of course, the more I rushed, the more clumsy and forgetful I became, and the longer I took. It was a sad, seemingly never-ending cycle destined to be repeated in every circumstance of my life, from home to school to work to social engagements and beyond.

Eventually I met my future husband and, since ours was a transatlantic romance, he was, thankfully, saved from my leisurely everyday nature as our courtship avoided having to weave in and out of a daily schedule – being instead a more dramatic, jetsetting type of thing.

That is, until we actually were married and, needed to do things according to schedules and plans. Oh no. As the proverbial weakest link, I knew what this meant for me. I would need to finally overcome my slowness. Which brings us to my  initial frantic getting ready and Husband’s calming words.

In that moment, those words felt supportive, thoughtful and kind. I had rarely, if ever, been encouraged to be slower than I was by taking even more time. But the effect was immediate and I thrived in all they conferred upon me.

It’s a funny thing, romance. We expect it to be big and obvious and you know, sometimes it is! Just like in a novel or a movie. But other times? Well… if you’d asked me, a decade ago, what romance ‘sounded’ like, it definitely wouldn’t be take your time and yet, as the years pass, those magical words reappear and each time, their meaning deepens.

A few years after our wedding would see us busy setting up house as working professionals. Our days felt impossibly full and hurried and I was often scrambling through one prayer and then another – constantly overestimating the time between them during the dark UK winters. Then, one evening, with a hand on my shoulder:

Take your time.

And it meant I love you more than this world and our life in it. In an instant, I was centered. Reminded of first principles – that nothing was more important than remembering the One who created time and that giving this moment it’s due would make the rest of our tasks easy. It was an encouragement without judgement, a suggestion without censure and ultimately a reflection of a love that is Sacred.

Some years later still, we became parents and in addition to all the usual changes, I was dismayed to realise that my new role as a mother had little value in the society in which I became one. And so, as I struggled to feed this new tiny being while still trying to entertain visitors and seem “normal” and “recovered”, I heard it again:

Take your time.

Tears pricked my eyes. Sitting for an impossibly long time, with a wailing infant while guests waited in the other room, it meant  I will hold this space for you. We are in this together. Your efforts are worthy.  You are enough. The time I was taking was the time I needed to take to nurture this baby. No apologies would ever be necessary.

And these days? Well, as we snuggle up onto our sofa, Husband looks at me over the cups of tea he’s made. Just one minute I say, attempting to speed read my way through the latest book, I’m almost at the end of this chapter.  He always smiles at this explanation,

Take your time.

With those words a deep warmth emanates from my soul – like a hug from within. I hear them and know that they mean everything they have before and also this: That exactly as I am, in this precise space and at this precise moment, there is no place more important and no person more cherished. And truthfully, could anything be more romantic than that? || The Three Most Romantic Words || Marriage || Love || Perspex Art


Ten Times Vogue Had It Covered

Picture Credit : Inez & Vinoodh For Vogue Arabia


Today we have a guest post from my friend Sonia who is a bit of a creative dabbler. I’ve known her since University days, and she always has the best style ideas, with an amazing eye for detail and fun in fashion.  Sonia is the kind of woman who will be sure to notice one  real and special thing about you, and compliment you on it! She  recently bought our attention to a mixed (modern and vintage) compilation of iconic Vogue covers. Read on for  her original take on these images and what inspires her…


Vogue magazine. The rule writer. The institution. The ultimate authority on style and good taste. The magazine I would often pick up in my younger days with mixed feelings of unworthiness, curiosity, admiration and scepticism. Most of the time flicking through it would feel like peeking into the world of rich, white people I had very little in common with.

It was not associated, in my mind anyway, with celebrating culture and modesty along with creativity and design.  In 2017 however, I noticed a more apparent shift in this approach, as did many of us, when the fashion industry finally started giving a tiny bit of official recognition to the modest fashion scene, which had  been steadily growing  for quite some years.

I won’t rehash  the sociopolitical implications of this, as many writers have already done so, and  done it  better than me. Nope. But what I will share is that  these more recent magazine images actually inspired me to delve deeper into the archives of Vogue magazine covers from around the world and uncover (ahem) striking images of women adorned with hats, hoods and head coverings, that resonated with me as an individual, and with my sense of fun, drama and creativity. So here goes gals. In no particular order, ten covers that sparked my interest:


I really feel Vogue outdid themselves with this cover. The December 2017 issue actually halted me in my tracks. Adwoa Aboah looks sublime in a way I have never seen her look before. The colours used for the retro styling and makeup are so well balanced. Despite being so fresh, the image still conveys a very classic film star quality of beauty. Bohemian and beautiful. Love it.


The lovely Halima Aden. The June 2017 cover of Vogue Arabia had a dynamic sense of movement and flow to it. Halima is beautifully styled, but I found myself craving more colour from this cover.  The hoards of women across the Middle East and beyond however, who specifically choose to fashion themselves in mostly black, may disagree with me on that point.


Vogue Deutsch . This January 2012 issue is literally, as blogger Yaelle puts it “scarf heaven”.  The eclectic mix of prints and colours here is fantastic and I like how they combined the sharp tailoring with the Lawrence of Arabia styling for the headwear.


The inimitable Naomi Campbell for Vogue Russia, December 2008.  Another stunning cover. Looking regal and rich in colour, I think Naomi makes a big impact here.  Let’s assume the best that no polar bears were harmed in the production of this cover! Does anyone remember when the supermodels took part in the no fur campaign for PETA dozens of years ago and famously declared that they would rather go naked than wear fur? Naomi has since been caught out on several occasions since then. Hopefully  this wasn’t one of them. 


March 1960. Flower crowns and hair garlands have had a real revival in the last couple of years, but way before Snapchat filters, this vintage Vogue cover was showing ladies how floral headgear was serious business. Love the flowers chosen for this and the bold lipstick. The temptation could have been to go full on girly with this look, but Vogue were mixing it up even back then with some formal tailoring and a strong and clean makeup look.


Vogue October 1956. This vintage cover was interesting to me as I hadn’t seen this style of headwrap or turban sported by women of this era before.  The editors were clearly focused on promoting this accessory as can be seen from their choice to use images of the same model from different angles, wearing different designs of the headwrap. The rest of the clothing has been kept minimalistic and plain in order to highlight the gorgeous brooches they each wear.  The title suggests that this was clearly the manual of the month for how to wear your statement pieces and make impact with your accessories.


April 1991. Although Vogue went for a very clean and elegant aesthetic here, the look makes me nostalgic for my youth, taking me back to when we played dress up as kids, nicking our mums all enveloping dupattas and big spangly earrings. The scarf is also draped in a very South Asian fashion for that time period. Model Karen Mulder would have been around 21 years old here and is almost channelling a young Benazir Bhutto!


January 1960. As per the March 1960 cover this was clearly a big year for big floral hats. And this one is spectacular.


Ok, this one is just out and out fun! Long before google came up with it, Vogue editors were being playful with their trademark font. This 1964 issue fully communicates the light hearted approach the British were now taking to their sense of fashion and style after years and years of propriety. These were the years when bright colours really came into play in the UK street fashion scene.


September 1945. By this time Vogue had increasingly made the transition from stylish fashion illustrations, to colour photography for their covers. This one perfectly balances the new image of ‘girl about town’ with the picture of elegance. For generations, wearing a hat or head covering of some sort was considered the sensible and appropriate thing to do when going out and about in public. The hat completed the look and gave a whole new level of dignity, flourish and style to an otherwise humble outfit. Not to mention the fact that for some women it also framed their faces beautifully. This made me feel that the era when Vogue’s ideas about female fashion were not that far away from my own, were actually, not so very long ago.

And there we have it!, I found the process of enjoying these covers an inclusive experience of shared female heritage and proof of the fact that oftentimes  we have more in common than we think. It seems  such a shame that the fashion journey for many Muslim majority cultures is not so well documented – at least to my knowledge. But if anyone knows of any Arab, Asian, Turkish or Persian (or any other ) equivalent publication that has managed this, then please let me know and let me at those archives!


Thank you so much Sonia, we loved reading your insight ! Especially the part about your mum’s dupattas! Find me a daughter of the sub-continent who didn’t do that! You can find more of Sonia Malik’s  inpirations here as she documents and promotes variety within modest fashion.



A Bestower Of Blessings || A Bestower of Blesssings || Grandmother || Naniama || Dua || Prayers


There is a light in my existence, a comfort I have known, from the earliest moments I could remember till this very day. A comfort I have craved, leaned upon and at times, completely taken for granted. One I knew would be with me wherever I went and whatever I did. Even without conscious appreciation, I knew deep within my being, that I could always depend upon my maternal grandmother, my Naniama and the copious prayers – duas to be precise – that she sent out for me.

We lived nearly half a world away from each other, separated by countries, oceans and time zones. Our physical meetings numbered less than ten, so I sometimes wondered what inspired the fierce love and devotion I was blessed to have.

I always thought it was because I was the favourite granddaughter but have come to realise this is probably not true. I don’t know how she did it, but it seems that all us grandchildren, we each felt the most favourite. Perhaps because she sent her power duas out to all of us and as old age crept up on her, she found more time to make more duas.

It got to be that her and I would have entire conversations which would begin with me saying salam and her responding by making continuous dua after dua for the next fifteen to twenty minutes – for me, my health, my happiness, my spouse, my children, my spiritual state – for just everything. I never wanted to hang up. I never wanted her to stop. I would close my eyes and soak her words in. Imagine them rising like golden orbs from her beautiful, weathered hands up into the sacred realms, where they would then be collected and accepted without question or reserve.

Nothing really ever felt impossible or hopeless because I knew Naniama was there, making those duas like it was her job. The few times I called to request her prayers for something specific, she would listen but also remind me that I was in her duas always – which to me meant, I was in her heart always. What can I give you she would ask other than dua?  But truly, I sit now and wonder, could there have been anything else?

My strong, magnificent, phenomenal Naniama died today. She went with a calm serenity and a passing that was peaceful and gentle. She has gone back to her Maker, whom she loved so deeply and lived for so completely.  I am not sad for her, but I am sad for us. Who now will hold me in their heart always? Whose blessings will surround us at all moments? Lift us at all times? Our unstoppable dua giver has moved on.

And now it’s time for us to give back: Lovely Naniama, best Bari-Amee, what else can I give you other than dua?




Also: Your Mother, Your Mother, You


That Thing About Snow

What is it about snow that makes people want to ‘announce’ it? Like a surprise visitor, welcome and bursting with the possibility of abundant gifts or a day off from the ordinary… ‘it’s snowing it’s snowing look it’s snowing!’

There is something sweet and special about being the first to see and hence announce the first snowfall of the season.

Like a gift that the whole world can unwrap!

My favourite is the kind that falls slowly in big fluffy flakes as though falling to some deep cosmic rhythm. Profound in its silence.

Then there’s the snow that is faster, more hurried. The flakes meandering here and there and some even rising up instead of falling down as if in their haste they have forgotten the way!

This year snow has come to all my ‘homes’ at the same time. My SM feeds are inundated with snow  pics from friends and family  in Kashmir, England and the USA! Bar a couple of snowy naysayers, it’s brought out the inner child in everyone else and has got me feeling happy vibes. 

My dad was reminiscing about snow times in Kashmir. Nov Sheen (literally ‘New Snow’) was a big deal and as children they would compete to shove a handful of the first snow of the season on to some unsuspecting member of the family! The ‘victim’ would then have to come up with a ‘treat’usually money or candy. I thought that was funny and sweet. 


Phone call.

I know it’s you,




You know how it is.

Going to hear your voice.

All the way from

the country without a post office.

I pick up ~


‘it’s snowing here’

Are the first words you say

I wonder why

‘I love you’

is the first thing I hear

(True story )


Also, That thing about Rain


Unapologetically Happy: Celebrating The Mawlid With Children

When we were first married, my husband and I thought it would be nice to attempt an annual holiday. However, instead of travelling over summer or during the winter break, we decided that we would set off on our journeys in order to celebrate Mawlid in a new place each year. Everyone is always happy during the Mawlid, I remembering saying, I want to spend time around unapologetically happy people.

Ah, Mawlid, more formally known as Mawlid al-Nabi, is the yearly celebration of the birth our beloved Prophet Muhammad – abundant peace and blessings be upon him. On this day, the 12th of Rabi’ al-Awwal, Muslims from all places gather to share food and sweets with each other, remind themselves of his love for us and send blessings upon him and his family. Not only this day, but this entire month is devoted to renewing our love and longing for him and is a cause for joy around the world.

So, with this greater community in mind, Husband and I enthusiastically embarked upon our global Mawlid-hopping and kept to it for a good few years. From Europe to Africa and beyond, we were graced with uplifting and transformative encounters which helped reaffirm our faith, contributed to our own sense of belonging to the ‘Ummah of Muhammad’ and gifted us a deep and abiding joy for this time of year and the Prophet we honour and unite for.

Even after the birth of our eldest we managed a Mawlid trip or two but then, in a story so familiar, the practicalities increased with each new child and we became more… locally focused. Instead of rejoicing with new friends, we began to gather with old ones and placed our efforts into nurturing traditions in our own home, neighbourhood and community. I gladly admit that, much to my surprise, this new effort has been proven more sweet and radiant than I could have ever imagined in our more footloose days.

This year, we decided to arrange a Mawlid Tree in the house and add something to it everyday which reminds us of our beloved Prophet Muhammad. It has been a beautiful way to remind ourselves of his example and revisit some of our favourite stories from his life.

I found this wool wrapped wire tree second hand and as we were unwrapping it, we spoke about how it reminded us of the tree which cried and how our Prophet was a tree hugger. || Mawlid Tree || Muslim Festival || Muslim Celebration || Prophet Muhammad || Islamic Craft


My two eldest then decided to make these paper hearts, in order to symbolise the Prophet’s love for us. || Mawlid Tree || Muslim Festival || Muslim Celebration || Prophet Muhammad || Islamic Craft


Over the next few days we made and added lanterns to represent the verse of light, which was revealed him. || Mawlid Tree || Muslim Festival || Muslim Celebration || Prophet Muhammad || Islamic Craft || Lanterns


And then a bird with its nest, in honour of the bird which helped cover the Prophet’s hiding cave during the hijra. || Mawlid Tree || Muslim Festival || Muslim Celebration || Prophet Muhammad || Islamic Craft


Today, we are busy making and decorating these shapes, which in parts of the Muslim world, are taken to represent those who were amongst the most loved by our Prophet: Hazret Fatima, Hazret ‘Ali, Hazret Hassan and Hazret Hussain. || Mawlid Tree || Muslim Festival || Muslim Celebration || Prophet Muhammad || Islamic Craft || Hand of Fatima

We have many more things to add, and as the month goes on, we will share them on our instagram – so follow us there, if you haven’t already. All suggestions for what would make a good addition to our Mawlid Tree are most welcome and we would love to know how you make Mawlid special in your lives and homes. May we continue to come together in gratitude and be unreservedly, unapologetically, happy.

“God and His angels bless the Prophet – so, you who believe, bless him too and  give him greetings of peace.”
– Qur’an 33:56


Also On Promising My Children The Moon and A Childhood Treasure of Prophetic Wisdom


When Sleep Overs Won’t Do

It’s Friday and the Kids are so excited about having a sleep under today. Do you know what a Sleep-Under is? I didn’t either until my friend suggested it for our annual kid’s-get-together-that’s-not-really- a-Halloween-replacement-thing (but really it kind of is) .

A ‘Sleep-Under’ is a genius idea. Here’s what happens:

Kids come in their pajamas, watch movies, eat popcorn, drink hot chocolate (with halal marshmallows of course) maybe play some board games and then…. go home! Simples. Oh and don’t forget your ‘stuffey anamal’!

I know sleepovers can be fraught with anxiety for many parents and children too, so this can be a sweet middle way. Would you do a sleep-under? 

We hope you have a blessed and joyful Friday.  Jummah Mubarak!


Also How to have fifty-two eids a year 


Picture Credit : ‘Dino in Pajamas’ Art by mininushka Ismail age 7



Smallest Bit Of Sparkle

Tiny Gold Earrings

I was recently flipping through photographer Mihaela Noroc’s new book ‘The Atlas of Beauty’ when this photo caught me unawares –  

The caption read ;

Among the most graceful women I encountered, this Tibetan mother of two in a rural village looked like this the moment she opened the door to me; she had been cleaning her house, and yet was wearing her jewellery. I found that Tibetan women display this kind of style in every moment of their lives.

This stunning lady reminded me of my grandmothers and aunts in Kashmir who even in their plainest of home clothes would always have on the smallest bit of sparkle. Oftentimes  in the form of gold earrings or a Ladakhi* pearl necklace much like the one shown in the photo. My favourite and most coveted piece of jewellery on these women of my childhood was a pomegranate necklace! Not really made of pomegranate seeds but each tiny red crystal-like bead looking exactly like pomegranate seeds on a string.

Wedding rings although exchanged at some point during ceremonies were never a huge cultural must have. In fact I have never seen my grandmothers, aunts and even my mum wear a specific ‘wedding ring’. However, my Mother still wears the same six gold bangles on her wrists, the same ones I’ve seen ever since I’ve needed to hold her hand to cross a road!

Before the kids were born I was huge on statement earrings. Like a funky pair of shoes – earrings were my way of effortlessly transform any outfit. So the thought of wearing the same pair on a daily basis seemed pointless.

Until now. Now, with a baby and morning drop off routines for two other kids, it sounds positively appealing. Seeing this photo and it’s caption brought back some kind of nostalgia. It made me crave a bit of that style and make it my own. So I went looking in my cupboard for just the right pair of earrings for my new understated everyday glamours look!

I wanted something tiny but more than just studs, and when I saw the backs of these ones I was sold.

The back ‘clicks’ into place so there is no chance of snagging on a sweater. I remember when my Mother in Law gave me these – on the birth of my daughter, not for me but for her (yes the baby). Even though she knew that her grand-baby may not have her ears pierced for years – the gifting of her first tiny gold earrings was symbolic. A future gift, never losing its value to be cherished  and use later in life (or to be ‘borrowed’ by her mother!)

It’s surprising what a difference a little sparkle makes. The gold is so warming and just seeing them  when I catch my reflection in the mirror makes me feel a bit more put together.

Do you wear jewellery everyday?


Also ~  ‘Pherans’ a Kashmiri Style Inspo


*(Ladakh is a region of Indian Occupied Kashmir that shares one of its borders with Tibet)

Top Image Credit Photograph by Mihaela Noroc from her book ‘The Atlas Of Beauty’ (Sichuan Province, China)



Best Apple Cake

From Tree To Table in 60 Minutes || Best Apple Cake Recipe || No Mixer || Quick || Easy || Delicious

We are up in Scotland this week, spending part of our half-term holidays visiting family. When we arrived, the children’s Dadima (my mother-in-law) excitedly told her grandchildren about how the apple tree in the back yard was filled with tasty apples, some of which she had ‘saved’ for them to pick themselves. The kids were so excited and ran out to pick and munch their apples almost immediately.

Now, this apple tree, planted a few short years ago, is not like the towering orchard trees of my Canadian youth, nor is it a regal English specimen. In fact, the most gracious way I can think to describe this tree would be as a sapling which is doing its best. It stands in the corner of the garden, beside a concrete shed, staked and supported. At times, it looks as though it may snap under the weight of the very fruit it bears. || Best Apple Cake Recipe || No Mixer || Quick || Easy || Delicious || Apple Tree

But oh, what lovely fruit it is! Perfectly red skinned apples with a tangy crunch and the most gorgeously tinged pink insides – almost too lovely to put into a cake. But my children had other plans for them. After eating their fill, they insisted we should make our apple cake with these beauties. Our most delicious, best apple cake! To share! I think they felt that the sharing aspect would tip the scales in their favour and… it did.  Because this is a cake made for sharing. It comes together easily with ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard and is very forgiving of changes and substitutions and little hands putting in a pinch more of this or a tablespoon more of that. You don’t even need a mixer and did I mention it’s delicious? || Best Apple Cake Recipe || No Mixer || Quick || Easy || Delicious || Apple Tree

But the other thing I always remember about this cake is that it was a recipe shared with me and one that I am continually grateful for. First found on a late-night internet search well over seven years ago, it was posted on a personal blog and attributed to the author’s mum. It was a keeper from the first try – so easy and tasty, the kind of old fashioned cake you could have on the table for unexpected guests or bake for neighbours in no time at all.

Not much for printing things out, I would look up the bookmarked recipe every time I needed it. That is, until one day when I went to pull it up only to find that the entire blog had been wiped away. I couldn’t understand it. Where had it gone?! It had even disappeared from the internet archives.  I looked up the author’s name and finally came across a note saying that she would be removing her blog. I felt so despondent. The best apple cake that ever was and now out of my reach forever. In a last ditch attempt to recover this beloved recipe I searched for a contact form or email and wrote the blog author a desperate note about her mother’s apple cake and if there was anyway she would be willing to send me the recipe. And, then, a few days later, to my complete surprise, came a response with a PDF copy of the very blog post I always referenced. Yes, the lovely blog author had sent me the recipe along with a gracious note about appreciating my love for the best apple cake. The best kind of sharing – with nothing held back. || Best Apple Cake Recipe || No Mixer || Quick || Easy || Delicious || Apple Picking

So it is with great pleasure, and in the spirit of which it was given to me, that I pass this recipe on. I’ve made a few modifications over the years but it’s major components remain the same and obviously, it’s not necessary to pick the apples off the tree yourself, that part’s just a bonus. The true joy is in the making – and the eating!

Best Apple Cake
(shared and adapted from Jen Leheny)

2 to 3 Apples, peeled and chopped Use absolutely any kind of apples you have or wish to use.
1 cup (200g) Granulated Sugar We used unrefined cane sugar, but any kind is fine. You may want cut the sugar down to 3/4cups (150g) if using sweeter apples, like Royal Gala etc.
1/2 cup (113g) Butter, melted
1 Large Egg
1 1/2 cups (192g) Flour Almost any kind of flour will work. This time I used half wholemeal spelt and half plain all-purpose flour. The spelt gave a delicious nuttiness to the cake.
1 teaspoon Baking Soda (bicarbonate of soda)
1/2 teaspoon Ground Allspice optional
1 teaspoon – 1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
Pinch of Salt
2 tablespoons Sour Cream OR Yoghurt OR Buttermilk Choose one (not all three!), essentially whatever you have on hand || Best Apple Cake Recipe || No Mixer || Quick || Easy || Delicious || Ingredients


Butter and flour any dish or tin you wish to bake this cake in. I’ve baked it in 8 inch square pyrex dishes, cast iron pans, in oval casseroles or, as in this case, a 23cm springform tin- the only thing to remember is that it won’t do well as a loaf cake, so don’t use the loaf tin.

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C)

Wash, peel and chop the apples and add them to a large mixing bowl. || Best Apple Cake Recipe || No Mixer || Quick || Easy || Delicious || Chopped Apples


Add the sugar to the same mixing bowl and stir together with the chopped apples. || Best Apple Cake Recipe || No Mixer || Quick || Easy || Delicious || Chopped Apples


Gently melt the butter and crack the egg into it. Whisk together quickly to combine. || Best Apple Cake Recipe || No Mixer || Quick || Easy || Delicious || Butter Egg


Add the melted butter and egg mixture into the bowl with sugar and apples and mix well. || Best Apple Cake Recipe || No Mixer || Quick || Easy || Delicious || Apple Mixture


Place the flour, baking soda and spices in a sieve and sift over the apple mixture. If you don’t have a sieve, then simply whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl before adding them to the apples. || Best Apple Cake Recipe || No Mixer || Quick || Easy || Delicious || Sifting


Stir just enough to mix together. || Best Apple Cake Recipe || No Mixer || Quick || Easy || Delicious || Stirring


Add the sour cream OR yoghurt OR buttermilk and gently mix through the batter. It won’t matter if you can still see some white streaks as long as most of it is combined together. Do not overmix. || Best Apple Cake Recipe || No Mixer || Quick || Easy || Delicious || Stirring


Spoon into prepared tin and bake for 45 – 60 minute or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean or when it springs back when lightly pressed. || Best Apple Cake Recipe || No Mixer || Quick || Easy || Delicious || Ready To Bake || Best Apple Cake Recipe || No Mixer || Quick || Easy || Delicious || Baked


Dust with icing sugar when cool, cut and share!  Although to be honest, you don’t need to wait for it to cool completely, just enough that it doesn’t crumble apart when cut. || Best Apple Cake Recipe || No Mixer || Quick || Easy || Delicious || Decorated



Also Homemade Bread In An Hour (we do seem to love things that are done in an hour!)