Weekend Wonderings

The Christmas after I left home my youngest sister had prepared a book containing all of my family’s favourite recipes. I still regularly dip in to it in order to comfort myself with a taste of home cooking. Whether it’s creating a batch of sweets that my mum would make every Christmas, reminiscing of the time our huge dog, Basil, ate the whole lot and spent Christmas day feeling very sorry for himself, or creating a huge vat of leek and potato soup, our family’s version of ‘Jewish Penicillin’ chicken soup. So many recipes that I can share but today I want to talk to you about the humble potato.

Spuds. I love ‘em. Whether mashed, baked, sauteed, made in to chips, or into a garlicky, creamy Dauphinoise, I want them on my plate and I’ll probably want seconds. I’ve always been a fan and when we were younger my parents would make big pots of mashed potato (a cheap but healthy option to fill up a ravenous family of 6 whilst on a tight budget) and, despite our best endeavours, there was often some left over.

My parents were pretty thrifty and throwing food away was Not Allowed in our house. Normally this surplus mash would make it into bubble and squeak or fishcakes. Every so often Ma B would create a dish that, on the face of it, is pretty weird. Weird but oh so right. A sweet mashed potato cake with a lemon icing. I am actually drooling at the memory. Never let it be said I’m not classy. 

Now before you have me carted of to the funny farm for turning the versatile potato in a dessert, I insist you try it. In fact I dare you. Double dare, no returns.



250g plain, cold mashed potato (take it out of the mashed potato pot before you start adding the butter etc. You could also rice the insides of a baked potato should you prefer).

175g softened unsalted butter

200g caster sugar

4 eggs

200g ground almonds

2tsp baking powder

finely grated zest of 3 lemons

For the topping:

Juice of 2 lemons

75g caster sugar


Preheat the oven to 180c. Line a 23cm cake tin (we always used to use a rectangular brownie tin).  Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of the almonds with each egg. Stir the baking powder into the remaining almonds and add to the mixture, folding in the cold potato and lemon zest.

Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Turn out on to a wire rack after 10 minutes cooling in the tin.

Mix the caster sugar and lemon juice together then spoon over the top (before the sugar has had a chance to dissolve completely), letting it drip down the sides.  Let the cake cool completely before slicing.

Stuff your face.

Have a good weekend, AOWers.

Categories: Food, Weekend Wonderings
6 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Vicki T
    Posted August 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Sarah that sound amazing! My mum has also been known to turn potatoes into sweets, her macaroon bars are legendary. I must try this!! Thanks x

    • Steff
      Posted August 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      I had a debate with G a while back about the fact that macaroons were traditionally made from potatoes… on proving myself right (using wikipedia of course) he now claims he was talking about a totally different type of macaroon! Yummy.

  2. Katielase
    Posted August 12, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Must try this. Possibly right now. I have lemons. Would it be weird to make mash specifically to turn into cake?!

    K xx

  3. Posted August 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    This sounds absurdly amazing. And I have some leftover mash in the fridge from yesterday’s roast, Guess who is having this for supper tonight?! Very clever xx

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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