Whenever I visit friends at their homes, I like to take a cake. To get to my friend Gill's house for a girls' weekend with our mutual friend George, however, I had to fly, so the cake in question had to be something I could pack as carry on. Nothing fussy with frosting or layers. Something that could easily be stowed in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of me. And, most important of all, (for my own standards) it had to taste amazing. Fortunately, I had just the recipe. I've been making lemon yoghurt cake as long as I've known Gill, since we were film students together, and George and I were working part-time in the same café while sharing a house in a leafy pocket of Brisbane. All these years later, much has changed. For a start, none of us live in Queensland anymore. I'm in Sydney, George in Melbourne and Gill... well, she's just bought a little shack on the Great Ocean Road on the Victorian coastline. But I'm still making lemon yoghurt cake and we all still like hanging out.
...which is lucky, because hanging out with Gill these days means getting up early to check the surf, watching her paddle out into that cold dawn water, then waiting patiently for her to come in for breakfast. But it's no hardship posting to be sitting on a beautiful, almost deserted beach watching the sun come up, or your friend catch a wave all the way in to shore, or to be rewarded afterwards with her house speciality - a doorstop of a bacon sandwich, which wouldn't taste nearly as good if you hadn't been up for hours, breathing in all that sea air. It makes you HUNGRY, I tell you. Which is why that lemon yoghurt cake came in handy.
This is absolutely the best kind of everyday cake: sweet and tangy, the colour of sand and sun, light yet sturdy - perfect for carting on a plane or on a picnic, packing in a lunch box or just tucking into when returning ravenous from a day at the beach, sand between your toes and skin sticky with salt water.