orange tea cake with Greek yoghurt frosting

orange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

Pass me a cup of Earl Grey and a slice of this orange tea cake and i’m as happy as Larry. I adore all citrus fruit and have been munching on an excessive amount of Clementines and Navel oranges recently. Granny dearest is also a big fan of the old citrus family but an even bigger fan of the cake family. She requested something to accompany her cup of tea and voilà this orange tea cake happened!

orange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

I returned from the shops with some bits and bobs for cake making and suddenly realised i’d been so focussed on the cake itself i’d completely forgotten about any form of icing. The cake is rich, sweet and incredibly moist so it needed something that wouldn’t overpower the delicious sponge and it’s zesty flavour. I also wanted a white icing for aesthetic purposes and found myself digging in the fridge for cream. No cream was discovered but the Greek yoghurt looked at me and said, “Hey- I’m creamy and smooth and delicious. Give me a shot at this.”

orange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

To top off the Greek yoghurt frosting I candied some orange slices in a thyme infused syrup. The smell in your kitchen is reason enough to make this cake with haste. Thyme goes so well with sweet baked goods as well as cocktails. I love adding herbs to desserts and drinks for a kick of flavour, a boost in scent and some colour.

orange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

I made two cakes pictured here as I wanted to layer them but this recipe makes a single layer cake which is all you really need for a cake like this. You can always go back for a second slice. Obvs. And keep an eye on the orange slices when simmering away in syrup. You want them very tender but not disintegrated! Now get baking and tea making. I can smell the Bergamot orange and happiness in the air.

orange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

Orange tea cake with Greek yoghurt frosting

makes 1 single layer cake


  • 2 oranges, zested & juiced
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 65ml milk
  • 200g flour
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Candied orange slices:

  • 2 oranges, cut into slices
  • 200g sugar
  • 250ml water
  • bunch of fresh thyme


  • 125ml Greek yoghurt
  • 70g icing sugar
  • 1 orange, zested


Preheat oven to 180˚C. Line and grease a 20cm cake tin.

Cream the butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix. Pour in the milk, orange juice and orange zest. Mix well.

Finally sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and fold in well without overworking the batter.

Pour into prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cake thoroughly on a cooling rack before icing.

To make the candied orange slices bring the sugar and water to the boil in a small pot. Add the thyme and orange slices and turn down to a simmer for 15 minutes. Using tongs flip the orange slices and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes. Drain and place on some baking paper and in the fridge to firm up.

To make the icing beat all the ingredients together until smooth.

Drizzle the icing over the cake and place in the fridge for the icing to set.

Invite some friends over for an orange infused tea party! You can even keep the theme going and all dress up as Donald Trump!

orange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Beeorange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Bee




chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes

chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes | The Secret Life of Bee

I’ve been Casper the invisible blogger lately but alas sometimes real work has to happen to pay the very real bills! I’ve also been a rather useless wife serving the husband some fairly boring dinners lately so it was time to make up for it. Enter chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes. Yes please.

chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes | The Secret Life of Bee

These pockets of joy are truly one of the yummiest and most satisfying meals i’ve ever had. The rich and spicy chili con carne pairs so well with the sweet, smooth flesh of these orange sweet potatoes. You can of course use the white ones as well- I just find them a tad more starchy so tend to use them for creamy bakes or cottage pie like toppings. Either way they are a delicious little nest for the meaty goodness that is a patiently made pot of chili.

chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes | The Secret Life of Bee

When making the chili and any dish using mince all I can say is never ever crowd the pan. Use a really large pot and brown your mince in batches. If you put too much in at the same time the meat sweats and boils and goes grey. No bueno. As for the rest of the dish you can really make it your own. Go as heavy or light on the spices and of course the chilli powder as your heart desires. I used rather large heaped teaspoons of all the spices! This recipe makes a really fragrant, spicy dish that gets even better the next day. I had some left overs with a fried egg on top for breakfast and it was sublime!

Chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes

serves 8


  • 8 sweet potatoes, washed and dried
  • 2 red onions, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed into a paste
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 large sticks of celery, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp dried origanum
  • 1 kg best quality mince
  • 2 x 400g tin Italian chopped/crushed tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g tin red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • olive oil

To serve: sour cream, tomato & onion salsa, fresh coriander


Heat oven to 180˚C. Rub sweet potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil. Prick with a fork or small knife, season with a little salt and roast until soft for 40 minutes depending on their size.

In a very large pot brown the mince in batches and remove from the pot. Add a fresh glug of olive oil and sauté the onions, carrots, celery, red pepper and garlic. Add the spices and cook until the veg had softened slightly, got some colour and the spices are fragrant.

Add the two tins of chopped tomatoes. Rinse the residual tomato out of each tin with a splash of water and pour into the pot. Bring to the boil and allow the tomatoes to reduce until thick.

Add the mince and kidney beans, season well and simmer for about 1 hour.

To serve- slice the sweet potatoes down the centre and stuff with a generous spoonful of the chili mix. I topped ours with sour cream, tomato & onion salsa, fresh coriander and even a dollop of guacamole.


chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes | The Secret Life of Bee

To be perfectly honest I didn’t even wait for the husband to come home from work before I started tucking in.

chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes | The Secret Life of Bee

brandy snap biscuits

brandy snap biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

The humble brandy snap biscuit. To your rescue when you have dinner guests arriving in 5 minutes and you haven’t prepped dessert. Brandy snaps are quick to make, delicious to eat and super entertaining for your guests to watch you burn your finger tips on. 

brandy snap biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

I used to think I was so fancy when I was little. I would make brandy snap baskets and serve sorbet in them for family dinners. They’re so versatile. Sorbet and ice cream is a treat served in their crunchy clutches. Filling them with whipped cream and berries is my other favourite as done here because sometimes the simplest desserts are the best. 

brandy snap biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

Shape wise you can really play around. Moulding them into cylinders works great for fillings. Moulding them around a small glass will create a little basket shape to put things in. Of course you can also always leave them to harden as is in disk form and top a dessert with them for some great textural crunch. 

brandy snap biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

I’m not going to lie. You’ve got to put your big girl/boy pants on and just deal with the heat. There’s a sweet spot temperature wise when they are perfect for moulding. You have to let them cool ever so slightly once out of the oven or they will be too soft and you cannot let them cool too much or they become brittle and break. So aim for somewhere in between the two. I use a very skinny rolling pin to make the cylinders but you can use whatever random utensil or handle you have in the kitchen. Give it a light spritz with some spray & cook and you’re all set. 

Brandy snap biscuits

makes about 10


  • 50g butter
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 50g brown sugar 
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp brandy
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

whipped cream & berries to serve


Preheat oven to 180˚C. Line a baking tray with a silicon mat or baking paper.

Mix butter, golden syrup and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Melt slowly over low-medium heat until the sugar is fully dissolved.

Whisk the ground ginger, salt and flour together to mix well. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the liquid butter/sugar/syrup mix. Stir together to form a stiff batter. Finally add the brandy and lemon juice. Mix well.

Spoon two tablespoons of mixture onto the silicon mat fairly far apart. I do two at a time as they spread a lot and this gives you enough time to mould them before hardening.

Cook the two brandy snaps for about 8 minutes until bubbling and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Mould them around a handle making sure to press the two end together so they stick together and close the cylinder. Let cool until hard.

Pipe them full of whipped cream spiked with plenty of brandy and sweetened with a touch of icing sugar. Serve with fresh berries and enjoy!

brandy snap biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

brandy snap biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee