• Publisher Weekly Review

    Thank you Publisher's Weekly. I love you.  

    Simple Cake: All You Need To Keep Your Friends and Family in Cake 

    Odette Williams. Ten Speed, $23 (192p) ISBN 978-0-39958-142-7 

    In this wonderfully uncomplicated collection of cake recipes, Williams, founder of kitchen apron manufacturer OW Brooklyn, conveys why she believes “cake matters.” Williams’s inviting tone permeates this essential collection of basic cake recipes (“The only ones you’ll ever really need”), and she explains that it was looking at photos after her father died that inspired this cookbook. (One photo showed a cake that her newly divorced, 30-year-old father baked for a birthday party for the young Williams.) Thirty cakes are broken down into five categories, including TLC cakes (there’s a vanilla and coconut Bundt cake for comforting a new parent) and Vacation Cakes (Summertime S’Mores and Fall Apple Skillet). Standouts include the Over the Moon Cake—a large milk-and-honey cake crescent accompanied by stars and topped with caramel sauce and vanilla whipped cream—and a company-worthy “Dining-in Cake,” composed of chocolate cake, with tres leches spooned over, and finished with a condensed-milk whipped cream and shaved chocolate. A poem, a child’s handwritten recipe, vintage photos, and “advice from this home baker to another” add intimacy to this slim collection. Thoughtful and inspiring, this fresh take on cakes should find an enthusiastic audience. (Mar.) 

  • This one is for you Australia.

    Hello from freezing Brooklyn!

    Tomorrow, January 26th is Australia Day. It's the July 4th of Down Under. So I'm sending this cake to you my beloved island, and it's peoples, who are no doubt already celebrating. This is my version of the 'Lammo' aka Lamington. It's got coconut, chocolate, raspberries, and whipped cream, and is meant to be eaten straight from the dish with old friends. You'll find the recipe in Simple Cake in the Travel Cakes chapter.

    I'm going to bake and courier one to Aussie ex-pat and legend, Laura Brown. If you haven't seen what Laura has been doing at Instyle, check it out! She is fun, hilarious, irreverent and moving the dial on how women are perceived in the media and fashion. So I think my Australian sista deserves my Lazy Lamington. 

    photo: Nicole Franzen  #simplecakebook

  • Get cake ready

    Hello ! How was your week?

    While the world seems to be falling apart, it's good to know we still have cake and bookstores!

    My beloved local bookstore, Books Are Magic just sent out their newsletter with the up and coming cookbook events. I'm very excited to share that I'll be there talking all things Simple Cake with Alison Roman April 12. If you're in New York you must come. It should be a hoot! (If you don't have Alison's book Dining In, run and grab a copy pronto.) And while you've got your calendars out, mark April 10. My friend and fellow Aussie, Hetty McKinnon launches her new fabulous book Family

    My Chocolatey Chocolate Cake awaits you this weekend.

    With love and oven mitts, as Books Are Magic signed off.


    photo: Hallie Burton

  • #mondaymorninginspiration

    Illustration: Alessandra Olanow @aolanow


  • Bowl or Beater ?

    Hello and Happy Friday!

    I had a funny exchange with an old friend this week. We debated a question as old as time; do you go for the beater or the bowl? Personally, I think it comes down to how vigilant the baker has been with the spatula as to how I make this decision. How about yourself?

    Speaking of all things cake, I've been busy working on a script and storyboard to shoot a promotion video for Simple Cake. Maybe that acting degree from my twenties might pay off after all? It's been really exciting trying to workout how I can translate and teach what's in the book to screen. I may, or may not, have to have stiff drink before they call action!

    While I contemplate my academy award winning performance this weekend, I might just be brave and take on Cliodhna Prendergast's Lemon Soufflé. Make my husband happy by cooking something meaty and delicious from the awesomely masculine Matty Matheson's Cookbook. But tonight, I'm going to be lazy and go to our local, Franks.

    Have a great weekend!



    Photos: Nicole Franzen #SimpleCakeBook

  • Chocolate Cake Detox

    Hello and Happy New Year! How were your holidays? 

    I'm super excited about 2019, the year of CAKE, with the release of my book Simple Cake! In preparation, I've decided to go on a cake detox this January. I'm starting with my Chocolatey Chocolate Cake. So if you've been been drinking juice all week, or running everyday with Nike's Coach Bennett and Headspace and are in need of a hit of sugar, join me this weekend, and feel better :)

     Photo: Hallie Burton


    Chocolatey Chocolate Cake

    This cake is pure celebration and my chocolate go- to. Not too rich but ridiculously moist, it is decadent without being overly sweet. It’s almost impossible to mess up and so easy to make; it gives Betty Crocker a run for her money. If you have a whisk and two large bowls, you can pull this off. Since the batter is very runny, avoid using a springform pan, which can leak. This cake is a slight adaptation of my dear friend Simon’s recipe. He effortlessly cooks for thirty people without breaking a sweat, and everything he makes tastes delicious— including this cake. There’s also an added bonus: the final product has some serious shelf life— it will keep fresh for days, and it freezes well if you would like to bake it ahead of time. 

    Makes: 10 x 3-inch round cake
    Preparation: 20 minutes



    1 ¾ cups (225g) all- purpose flour
    ½ cup (45g) unsweetened Dutch- processed cocoa powder
    1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
    1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1 ½ cups (300g) granulated sugar
    2 eggs, at room temperature
    1 cup (240ml) whole milk
    ½ cup (120ml) grapeseed oil or any mild- flavored oil
    ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 cup (240ml) boiling water




    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10 by 3- inch round pan with butter, line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper, and grease the paper. (I’ll let you just grease, line the bottom of the pan, and lightly flour the sides if you’re feeling lazy.)

    Place a large sifter or a sieve in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and sift.

    Add the sugar and whisk until combined.

    In another large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla together.

    Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until there are no lumps and the batter is smooth.

    Carefully pour in the boiling water and stir until combined. (Watch the little ones with the hot water!)

    Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the center of the oven for approximately 50 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, and the cake bounces back when lightly pressed.



    In Simple Cake I give many topping suggestions for how to top this cake, but the simplest is a generous dusting of confectioners sugar when the cake has completely cooled, served with a dollop of whipped cream, or ice cream.Or sign up to my newsletter to receive my delicious Chocolate Mascarpone Buttercream recipe!

    Try these other pan options

    Two 8- or 9- inch round pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

    12 by 8- inch or 13 by 9- inch rectangular pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. 

    10 to 12 individual ramekins (grease and fill halfway). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. 

    24 cupcakes  (fill liners no more than halfway). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.