This recipe for a delicious Byron Bay Love Cake comes from local Chef and owner of Byron Bay Cooking School Samantha Gowing. I like to think of the recipe as a bit of a ‘Byron’ version of that classic teacake – the Persian Love Cake.
When I say that Sam’s recipe is a ‘Byron’ version I mean that her recipe has a few unique features that actually remind me of Byron Bay. Take the ingredients. Sam has cleverly tweaked a couple of the traditional ingredients that feature in the classic version and replaced them with her personal preferences for coconut sugar, vanilla powder and grated cinnamon. We’re a fairly health-conscious bunch here in Byron Bay (most of the time!) and Sam’s ingredient tweaks reflect our region’s wholesome lifestyle image. Adding to that, the spices and warmth of cinnamon and vanilla in Sam’s Byron Bay Love Cake recipe remind me of a big Byron Bay hug. Hugs are given away freely around Byron. Just sit in a local café for a while and you’re certain to see a few examples of the over emphasised and lingering style of embrace that I’m talking about.
Anyway, just like the classic version of the recipe, Sam’s Byron Bay Love Cake starts with a biscuit like crust on the bottom. This is topped with a beautifully moist cake that has a caramel base flavour lifted with a tang of yoghurt and some delicious coconut. I make an Armenian Nutmeg Cake that is very similar in taste, technique and texture, which makes me think that those Middle Eastern kitchens knew what they were doing when it came to developing sweet recipes! The Byron Bay Love Cake is finished with almonds for crunch while mine uses walnuts and the Persian version pistachios.
While you’re here, I want to share with you a bit about Sam and her many hats. For many years Sam worked as an acclaimed Chef and Restaurateur of Gowings Grace Darling Hotel in Collingwood, Melbourne before she decided to follow her passion for food as medicine. She became a Clinical Nutritionist and established her business Gowings Food Health Wealth in 2000 to provide global wellness solutions to companies and individuals around the world. She is a business mentor, a speaker, a consultant to heath resorts and spas as well as a recipe and product developer. She runs Food as Medicine Master classes interstate and abroad sharing her passion as far and wide as she can. Earlier this year she graduated as a Le Cordon Bleu Master.
These days Sam calls Byron Bay home and, when she’s not on the road, she runs the highly successful Byron Bay Cooking School. Take a look at her upcoming program of classes.
What’s most exciting for Sam right now is her new adventure as Chef in Residence and MC at Robina Town Centre’s new foodie playground The Kitchens, which opens next Thursday 3 November. I can’t wait to visit and I wish her every success with this exciting project.
I hope you enjoy Sam’s Byron Bay Love Cake recipe as much as me.
Check out Sam’s website www.foodhealthwealth.com for further recipes and her Byron Bay Cooking School program.
- 3 cups almond meal
- 2 cups coconut sugar
- 120 g unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup shredded coconut
- Pinch salt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 250g Greek-style yoghurt
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
- ¼ cup flaked almonds
- Coconut yoghurt for serving
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
- Lightly butter a 26cm-diameter spring form pan and line with baking paper.
- Combine almond meal, sugar, butter, coconut and salt in a food processor.
- Lightly pulse until coarse crumbs form. Do not overwork.
- Spoon half the mixture into a prepared spring form pan, gently pressing to cover the base evenly.
- Add egg, yoghurt, vanilla powder and nutmeg to remaining crumble mixture.
- Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy.
- Pour over prepared base, smooth top, scatter flaked almonds.
- Bake until golden, 30-35 minutes depending on your oven. Sometimes you may need to bake a little longer, so test with a skewer.
- Cool completely in pan on a wire rack to room temperature, then serve with coconut yoghurt.