Happy Birthday South Granville Inhabiter

Last year around this time, I joined with two talented friends to start South Granville Inhabiter, a blog about living in our lovely Vancouver  neighbourhood of South Granville. This past week, we marked our one year anniversary, and you know me, I'm never one to pass up an excuse for cake.

Blueberry Victoria Sponge Birthday Cake © 2014 Helena McMurdo

In the next few weeks I'll be sharing some of my favourite images made for South Granville Inhabiter here on Endless Picnic, but for now, I'll revert to my usual subject matter and share the portraits of our birthday cake.

Blueberry Victoria Sponge Birthday Cake © 2014 Helena McMurdo

We chose a classic Victoria Sponge...well maybe not so classic. Rather than strawberry filling I used a mixture of blueberry jam and whole blueberries sandwiched with buttercream between two layers of sponge cake. I think the shot below is my favourite of the lot. It's so luscious and jammy.

Blueberry Jam and fresh blueberry filling for Victoria Sponge Birthday Cake © 2014 Helena McMurdo
Blueberry jam and  whole blueberry filling for Victoria Sponge Birthday Cake © 2014 Helena McMurdo

The finishing touch was provided by our logo dusted in sugar.  For that I had the able assistance of my South Granville Inhabiter colleague and talented illustrator Ženija Esmits who helped me by cutting out a fine template of the logo she had designed for the blog while I carefully went about the dusting.

Blueberry Victoria Sponge Birthday Cake dusted with South Granville Inhabiter Logo © 2014 Helena McMurdo
Blueberry Victoria Sponge Birthday Cake © 2014 Helena McMurdo

Almost too pretty to eat. Almost. 

Caraway Seed Cake


This recipe is inspired by a good friend in Ireland. Actually she was my former boss. I  have to hand it to her in terms of providing excellent office perks. Every day at 10:30 or 11:00 we'd break for tea and she would often bring in some of her own home baking to share.  This was one of my favourites, and something that I had never encountered in North America. Seed Cake is quite popular in England and Ireland and the recipe goes back as far as Mrs. Beeton's original cookbook. If you like caraway you'll love this.

My friend told me to use a simple Madeira recipe and simply add Caraway seeds.  Madeira cake is not something very popular in North America but you can find lots of recipes online.  It's similar to a pound cake, although a bit lighter in texture.  Some recipes call for madeira, some do not. I ended up combining a few versions.

Here's what I did:

6 oz butter

6 oz  granulated sugar

3 eggs

8 oz all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

2 tsp vanilla (this is what I used on this occasion but you could also use zest + juice of one lemon instead for a lemony version)

1 1/2  tsp caraway seeds

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, adding a spoon full of the dry ingredient mixture with each egg.  Add remaining flour mixture and once fully combined add the vanilla (or lemon flavouring) and fold in the caraway seeds.  Bake in a loaf tin at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Perfect with tea at the office or at home. Enjoy!