I’m mildly excited. The old, old, old oven in our New Zealand house finally gave up the ghost. It belonged to the previous owners and had seen better days even then I reckon. So we had to bite the bullet and get a new cooktop and stove. We decided to go with induction technology. And this also meant throwing out pots and pans and buying ones that can be used with an induction cooker. Fortunately, Briscoes had a 60% off sale so we managed to get some Hampton & Mason stuff, plus some Scanlon cookware from Farmers (sadly, not on sale).

I say I’m mildly excited because an induction cooktop has no horrid electrical coils and cooking is much faster and more energy-efficient. As you know dear reader, I’ve only recently discovered the room in the house known as a kitchen (after years of working in organisations). And besides, I’ve never really been much of a whiz in the kitchen.

But this induction business is so super-fast and easy, I had to whip up a tea cake. Tea cakes seem to have gone out of fashion. I well remember growing up with afternoon soirées filled with tea cakes and cucumber sandwiches (courtesy of my mother who was quite the entertainer in her younger years). The tea cakes were always lightly dusted with cinnamon and sugar. And I loved them.

The old oven, however, used to give me grief. Without fail, it would burn the outside edges of cakes and was one of those hideous “hot ovens” (an oven that just seems to have one temperature, hot). But with induction technology, I got the perfect tea cake first go. The recipe is from my mother’s handwritten recipe book and is from the 1940s (it was actually my grandmother’s recipe but my mother made it regularly).

1 tablespoon butter

2 eggs, well-beaten

1/2 cup sugar

1 heaped cup self-raising flour (sifted)

almost 1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon melted butter

Pre-heat oven to 180C/356F. Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs, milk, vanilla, salt and then the sifted flour. You end up with a mixture that looks a bit like the consistency of whipped cream. Whack mixture into a cake tin – round or square – and bake for 30 minutes. Whilst tea cake is still hot, brush melted butter across top of cake and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Serve with a piping hot cup of wonderfully made tea.

New induction cooktop and oven - teacake is baking inside.

My mother's handwritten recipe.

Tea cake - fresh out of the oven, brushed with melted butter and dusted with sugar and cinnamon.

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