Bank Holiday Monday found me very low in mood and doubled down with a horrible migraine. I’m not sure why the two arrived at the same time. Maybe hormones or maybe a critical mass of minor life events. In any case I could not persuade my mind or my body that I needed to open the curtains or get out of bed. It wasn’t until I got a call from my mother telling me she was close to my house that I found the energy to move, put on clothes and make it downstairs.

It was as ever lovely to see my mum. She’d trekked across town to where I now live (which I lovingly call ‘the middle of nowhere’) to see if she could make the journey using public transport. Turns out that perhaps a Bank Holiday Monday was not the best time to do that but somehow through the kindness of strangers she made it.

I had not really prepared anything for her to eat, although there was plenty of food in the house. So I was feeling a little bit like a bad hostess, not helping my mood or my migraine. So I thought the least I could do was make a cake.

So I did.

I’d been looking through Sabrina Ghayour’s recipe book Bazaar earlier this week, wanting to find some inspiration for dinner. It was a fruitful exercise. I found a number of manageable recipes – mains, snacks and desserts and I’ve kept a digital note of them. This ras el hanout loaf cake jumped out at me because I was intrigued by a recipe that would put spices in a cake. Ras el hanout is a fairly new spice to my palate , I’ve only really started using it, more recently in a chickpea and cous cous recipe form Honey and Co which is now my go to recipe when guests come round. This thought of it a cake, was mind bending.

It was an easy enough recipe to make but seems that cooking with a migraine is perhaps a little distracting for me and I missed out an egg from the recipe. Only when I’d put the mixture in the oven and was wiping down the counters, did I notice the single egg, sad and alone in the ceramic blue egg holder. For a moment I did think of taking out the mixture from oven, cracking the egg into it and putting it back again. I think common sense prevailed and I carried on tidying up.

The finished product seemed just fine one egg down, in my opinion, lovely soft, moist texture. What I did struggle with in the end was the intense taste of the rose icing. I keep forgetting that a little goes a long way. And this went far, overwhelming in many ways. But somehow just OK with this particular cake with spice. And how was cake with spice? Very nice. Very nice. It was warm and comforting. Just the thing with a cup of tea to lift my mood and the migraine. I could feel the dark clouds rolling away for more cake I ate and tea I sipped. My mum liked the cake, which was a bonus. Between us we finished half the cake over the course of the evening.

So I’m quite pleased with this. It will make for a nice breakfast tomorrow morning. I’ll make it again, maybe titrate the rose icing a bit to suit my palate but it’s a winner for me.


  • unsalted butter 150g, melted, plus extra for the tin
  • eggs 3
  • caster sugar 175g
  • vanilla extract 1 tsp
  • plain flour 175g
  • baking powder 1 tsp
  • ras el hanout 1 heaped tbsp
  • buttermilk 150ml


  • icing sugar 75g, sifted
  • rosewater 2-3 tsp
  • dried edible rose petals to decorate (optional)


  1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 and butter and line a 900g loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. Put the eggs and sugar into a large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to beat together until smooth. Beat in the vanilla, flour, melted butter, baking powder and ras el hanout, and mix until smooth. Add the buttermilk and combine well.
  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50-55 minutes or until cooked through and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.
  4. To make the icing, put the sugar in a small bowl and gradually add the rosewater until smooth and drizzle-able. Once the cake has cooled, smooth the icing over the top. Sprinkle over the rose petals, to serve, if you like.

Recipe taken from Sabrina Ghayour, Bazaar: Vibrant-vegetarian-plant-based-recipes

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