Random header image... Refresh for more!

peonies and a cake

These last few weeks have been my favorite time at Trader Joe’s. Immediately upon entering you see and smell the peonies. At $7.99 a bunch, I can not resist. Even when the petals are falling off, they are the perfect still life. When I went to bed the night before, they looked perfect, when I woke up, this was the vision, still perfection.

Marti, a student in my series at Les Gourmettes, shared the recipe for the cake that I’m sharing with you today. After listening to my constant complaints about baking and my disdain for it, Marti handed me a printout from the January 2019 issue of Costco Connection.

The article is about the book The Gown, by Jennifer Robson. The story takes place during WWII. This one-egg cake recipe is one of Robson’s favorite because she imagines it represents the shortages of war and the community spirit of sharing that prevailed. And I imagine that Marti thought I might enjoy making this cake since it has so few ingredients and is simple and quick to put together.

Could Marti be right in that basic assumption? Let us see… Looks beautiful, doesn’t it? Look at those peonies, gorgeous!  But… what are they hiding?

Surely all is well, nothing to see here, move along. I mean, there is nothing to be suspicious about, peonies are edible after all. According to the Thompson and Morgan Edible Flower Guide, the petals taste lovely in fresh salads. I’m certain they would taste lovely on a slice of cake too.

Fine, I’ll remove the flowers for cutting.

Seriously! Is it any wonder I hate to bake?

I followed the recipe. I did substitute watered down heavy cream for the milk because that’s what I had available and in the spirit of rationing, that seemed a fair way to go. Also, the recipe did not indicate if you were to leave the baked cake in the pan, on a rack, to cool completely or take it out after 10 minutes or any sort of instruction of that step. As such, I have added it to my recipe below. Maybe it would not have fallen apart if I’d let it cool completely. You can give that a try and let me know because I am not making this again, although it did taste quite delicious.

Marti, thank you for having faith in me, sorry to let you down. xoxo

On a side note: I do know a baking rule or two such as, always check the expiration date on your baking powder before you use it. If it’s expired, run out and get another can. As you can see, I can’t blame my failure on that.

One-Egg Cake

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch cake pan, line the bottom with parchment and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and light.

Beat in the egg and vanilla. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions, beating just until blended after each.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the cake is golden and springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool on a rack. Once cake completely cooled, remove from pan and frost, if desired.

Makes one 9” cake

“This recipe originated with Katie Graham, the great-aunt of Jennifer Robson’s family friend Stevie Cameron. The cake tastes even better a day or two after baking.”

There is a very similar and popular recipe in the Rombauer classic Joy of Cooking.

P.S. In the comment section, Lisa tried to share a photo of her peonies from Trader Joe’s. Today we learned that this site does not have that capability, so I’m sharing her photo below.

Print pagePDF pageEmail page
Related Posts with Thumbnails


1 Lisa { 05.30.19 at 7:56 AM }


2 Linda Hopkins { 05.30.19 at 8:40 AM }

Lisa, as you can see the photo you tried to leave in comments did not show up …. so I’m going to post it at the bottom of my post for all to see. Thank you for sharing your gorgeous TJ’s peonies.

3 Lina K. Austin { 05.30.19 at 8:52 AM }

Linda, you are such a good storyteller. I did not know the peonies were edible -thx

4 Sloane Hansen { 05.30.19 at 10:00 AM }

My favorite flower by far!

5 Linda Hopkins { 05.30.19 at 12:31 PM }

Lina, you’re the sweetest! xoxo

6 Ronnie Jaap { 05.30.19 at 1:43 PM }

I feel your pain. I cannot make a cake that doesn’t need a bouquet or two. How are the kitties?

7 Linda Hopkins { 05.30.19 at 6:27 PM }

Kittens are still living under the shed. Don’t see them, but see mama often.

Leave a Comment