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EAT IN BED: Chamomile Maple Syrup Cake with Hayley McKee

Words by Elisha Kennedy

Images by Tasha Tylee

I got my hands on a copy of Hayley McKee’s cookbook, Sticky Fingers, Green Thumb only recently, and it’s already been well exercised in my kitchen. Full of recipes that are as good-looking as they are resourceful, Hayley’s kind of baking – that is, the kind that relies on picking and foraging for edible flowers and herbs – is a complete sensory joy to engage in. Her baking is a celebration of the garden, and so it seemed apt that at this time of year, in Australian mid-summer, when the garden is bursting, that Hayley should give us a tour of her kitchen and community garden, and share something sweet with us from her book.



 

“I’ve had my garden plot for about two years now” she tells us. “It’s 2x2m planter that me and my 2 year old son tend to. There’s communal compost, chickens and a food wall which is a vertical garden where we’re encouraged to grow flowering edibles to help attract bees and bugs to the garden. I’m there once or twice a week and right now I have cornflowers, scented geraniums, flowering thyme, sweet peas, basil, Mexican tarragon, a curry plant, baby black tomatoes, parsley, sage and spring onions.”

“I grow as many herbs and edible flowers as I can. I have planters around my apartment and across the road at my community garden.”

“I grow as many herbs and edible flowers as I can. I have planters around my apartment and across the road at my community garden.”

“I also buy a lot from Asian grocery stores, my local fresh produce market and middle eastern spice and nut shops – those are my other regular pit stops.”


 

 

Using herbs and flowers from her garden, Hayley prepares a favourite cake from her cookbook.

The Recipe

Chamomile Maple Syrup Cake

“This is a very easy recipe so I like to zone out and play some good music while I infuse the butter and stir in the creamy yoghurt and nuggets of white chocolate (I tune into either Hope Street Radio, NTS and Chances With Wolves).I prefer eating the cake slightly warm straight from the oven with just a dash of maple syrup and cream on the side. If the cake is for someone special then the cream cheese icing is my go to. I also recommend decorating it with edible flowers and chunks of salty shortbread crumble!

I like eating this cake slightly warm straight from the oven with just a dash of maple syrup and cream on the side.”



 

“I like eating this cake slightly warm straight from the oven with just a dash of maple syrup and cream on the side.”

Ingredients

SERVES 10–12

1/4 cup chamomile petals, dried*
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
110 g raw (demerara) sugar
2 eggs
140 ml maple syrup, plus extra for serving
280 g unsalted butter
170 g Greek-style yoghurt
250 g plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
150 g white chocolate chips

*Look for a good quality chamomile tea

Mustard Tablecloth, tea towel and Full apron by IN BED.

Hayley wears a full length apron in French Blue.

Mustard Tablecloth, tea towel and Full apron by IN BED.

Hayley shares a slice of cake over our mustard tablecloth, and an IN BED tea towel.

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 175°C (345°F). Lightly grease and line a 22cm (9 in) round cake tin with baking paper.

Melt butter with chamomile petals. Strain. Beat the eggs together in a large bowl using a hand-held mixer, or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, until frothy. Add the maple syrup, melted butter, yoghurt, vanilla and sugar and beat again to combine. Fold in the flour, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven, turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool slightly. Serve warm with a drizzle of maple syrup.

instagram.com/stickyfingersbakery
Stickyfingersbakery.com.au


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