• Apple bread with whipped honey butter (Alan Benson)Source: Alan Benson
A good loaf punches high for flavour and texture. *Gently* punches, of course, preferably while seated. That's the thing about a loaf - pausing to enjoy a slice is all part of the ritual.
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20 Jan 2021 - 3:18 PM  UPDATED 21 Jan 2021 - 8:55 AM

The rituals around eating have never been more important than they are right now. Without food to look forward to, how on earth would we break up our days?

Afternoon tea (or if you prefer your break mid-morning) should not be forgotten in your obsessing. Especially when it involves a loaf.

Like name, like nature, the loaf is a simple cake that's just made for pausing over. Denser than a sponge, more flavoursome than your average muffin, and long in the oven so you can fragrance your house with temptation. The key to a loaf is in using a loaf tin, not any other kind of cake pan.

Loaves are naturally very forgiving. Most of these offerings here can practically be mixed in the pan.

Jewish honey cake

Jewish honey cake (lekach)

Traditionally baked by Ashkenazi Jews for Rosh Hashanah, lekach symbolises the hope of a ‘sweet’ and prosperous new year. We need to action this loaf immediately!

Lola Orr’s potato tea loaf

Lola Orr bakes this beautiful potato fruit loaf using her locally grown potatoes, proving just how versatile the humble potato can be.

Romanian sponge cake

Romanian sponge cake (cozonac)

Don't be fooled by the name, cozonac is definitely more loaf than sponge. It's actually quite bread-like, with a chewy, open crumb. You'll need to allow plenty of proving and cooling time to do this traditional Romanian loaf justice.

Castella cake

This honey-scented loaf is a specialty of the Nagasaki area, brought to Japan in the 16th century by Portuguese merchants. There's a trick to getting the bouncy texture just right: don't serve it straight from the oven. You need to wrap it while still warm and put it in the fridge overnight.

Avocado loaf with a raspberry glaze

A loaf need never be boring, as Poh proves with this festive avocado and raspberry version. A stand mixer does most of the work for you and then it's into the oven. The raspberry glaze - which is made from frozen raspberries - would be just the thing served up alongside any of the cakes shown here.

Nana's date nut loaf

If you have a nana /nanna/ granny of your own, she likely has her own recipe for a date nut loaf. It's the kind of loaf that's been passed on through generations because the world's problems are all solved over a slice of thickly-buttered date nut loaf and a strong cuppa.

Cheese, pistachio and prune cake

Savoury cakes are popular in France; they appear in boulangeries and with a side salad on lunch menus in chic cafés, but they’re most likely to appear at a picnic. They're simple to make and can be adapted to use whatever leftovers you have – just follow the basic batter recipe and get creative with the fillings!

Use It All loaf

The quintessential 'throw it in there and see if it works' recipe. Nuts, seeds, chocolate, veggies, fruits, spices - in it all goes and this robust loaf recipe somehow still works.

Choc-orange loaf with chocolate glaze

Choc-orange loaf with chocolate glaze

Most loaves can stand-alone without icing, but we'd never say no to a sweet glaze or topping. Here, the chocolate in the loaf is enhanced by a subtle cream and chocolate. By all means, make this loaf without it and it will still have a big jaffa flavour.

Stem ginger loaf with vanilla frosting

This is a very spicy cake. The frosting is really yummy — save any leftovers to spread on cupcakes or cookies.

Carrot and parsnip picnic loaf

Packing in the veggies is where a loaf really comes into its own, and this carrot loaf recipe is a case in point. The result is a moist cake that can withstand a little battering. Which is why it's perfect for lugging across the fields to your perfect picnic spot.

Yoghurt, blackberry and olive oil loaf cake

Yoghurt, blackberry and olive oil loaf cake

Loaf recipes can often be less sweet and rich than a traditional cake. This Italian yoghurt version is practically a health food. 

Rum and raisin chocolate cake

Cor blimey, if this one doesn't make you rush out to find your loaf tin, you're basically never going to make a loaf. It's got over three shots of rum in the recipe, for a very relaxed afternoon indeed.

Moist chocolate and brown sugar loaf

"This is THE most lovely, moist and versatile chocolate cake I’ve ever come across. The brown sugar imparts a lovely dimension. To add variety, you could throw in some spices like cinnamon and cardamom for echoes of chai. If you like the idea of turning the it into a more traditional cake with a black forest-esque finish, bake it in a 20 cm round cake tin. After cooling, slice into 3 layers and brush with Kirsch or Frangelico and fill with whipped cream and sour cherries." Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co.

Sweet Mexican corn cake

This is nothing like an American-style cornbread. Rather, it's loaded with corn and... condensed milk. An unusual combination that works a treat. The resulting sweet loaf has a creamy texture, not dissimilar to bread pudding, and if you're really lucky, a layer of silky custard will form at the bottom.

Apple bread with whipped honey butter

Around here, we're suckers for anything with apple in it. Throw them into a loaf and we're in heaven. 

Easy banana bread

Put banana front and centre on your next loaf by slicing a banana lengthwise and pressing lightly into the top of the batter before baking. You can also make a chocolate version by adding some chopped chocolate and/or a cocoa powder swirl.

Coconut-banana bread

A further example of the loaf taking fruit and veg to someplace special. This coconut-banana bread gets more delicious over time, but you'll have Buckleys saving a piece or two from the hoards. Do try, though, as it's perfection for breakfast with a slathering of the honey butter from the apple bread recipe above! 

Loaf it up
Barmbrack

This recipe makes a really beautiful, moist loaf, packed with flavour from the mixed spice and dried fruit, which has sat overnight in cold tea and whiskey to soak up all the goodness.

 

French savoury loaf

This pull-apart loaf is rich with cheese and herbs. 

Seeded banana & pear loaf

This is a great way to use up bananas that are past their best. 

Pull-apart loaf

Here’s a fun idea for a picnic or Sunday lunch - a loaf you don't need to slice! Simply pull sections apart to serve. The secret is in the way the uncooked dough is cut, coiled then placed into the tin - it’s actually simple to do. You can vary the filling ingredients too if you like, by adding slices of salami or prosciutto, using chopped sundried tomatoes instead of olives, or substituting basil leaves for the oregano.

Flourless orange, hazelnut and poppy seed loaf

We take the classic flavour combination of orange and poppy seeds and put a flourless spin on it. Using hazelnut and almond meal means your end product will be moist and dense, without being heavy.

Chopped apple cake

My great grandmother referred to this as apple bread. I love that about her. I also love that nearly ninety per cent of her recipes in her box are for baked goods. This cake is wonderfully simple and takes no more time to make than it does your oven to pre-heat. In the future, I plan to experiment with some other flours and sugar, but this morning I wanted this cake just as Grandma enjoyed it.

Mulberry tea cake

If there's one thing I've always coveted since moving to Tasmania, it's a glut from my very own garden. You know, so much fruit that you don't know what to do with it all. You make jam, you preserve some, you eat some and you give some away, and yet there's still loads of fruit left over. Now, I can finally cross that wish off my list.

Our mulberry tree, which is six years old now, is positively groaning with dark purple fruit. Often, we hang around the tree and talk when visitors drop in, snacking away as we chat, our hands stained an inky purple. The children’s arms become splattered with ‘blood’ as they let the juice trickle down their skin and the grass below littered with purple berries. So far I've made jam, frozen some and made a cake: a mulberry tea cake, which reveals purple splotches when you cut a slice.

Carrot, hazelnut and beetroot loaf cake

This cake is super simple and pretty quick to knock up. We make a version of this at Pinbone on Sundays so I always manage to snaffle away the leftovers as they keep nicely for a couple of days. It’s perfect to pack for a picnic and if you want to go a little fancy, a simple cream cheese icing would look great on top.

Simmone Logue's zucchini cake with zesty lemon icing

Simmone Logue's zucchini cake with zesty lemon icing