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Turkish cuisine provides healthy, hearty, delicious food for family and friends.
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Cakes and Desserts

Apricot Cake – Kayisili Kek

Apricot is one of Turkey’s most prolific fruit. Because of their abundance, some of the yearly harvest is allowed to dry in the hot summer sun in order to be enjoyed all year round. Malatya, a city in southeast Turkey, is particularly famous for excellent dried apricots which are exported throughout the world.

Apricots are great snacks; being packed with fiber and antioxidants, very healthy too. We love to eat them fresh, dried as well as in cakes and desserts in Turkey. Afternoon tea is a great ritual at home, where ladies prepare lovely cakes and pastries for friends and family, enjoyed over a glass of cay – tea – (this ritual still keeps going strong in our home in England and very popular with my children!). This apricot cake has been inspired by the artisan bakery Popina’s lovely plum tart; it is light, tasty and great with coffee and tea!

Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes

100 gr/3.5 ounces/1/2 cup golden caster sugar
1 egg
40 ml/1 1/3 lf oz groundnut oil (or any vegetable oil)
60 ml/2 lf oz whole milk
140 gr/ 5 ounce plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
A few drops of vanilla extract
100 gr/3.5 ounce dried apricots, halved
1 1/2 tablespoon apricot jam to glaze

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F/ Gas 4

Put the sugar and egg in a mixing bowl and mix with an electric whisk. Add the oil, milk, flour, baking powder and vanilla, mix well until thoroughly combined.

Transfer to a greased cake tin and spread evenly. Place the apricot halves cut side up, over the mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until deep golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes.

In the meantime, put the apricot jam in a small saucepan and heat gently until melted and runny. Brush the jam all over the tart with a pastry brush and leave for a few minutes before serving.

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Yoghurt and Walnut Cake – Yogurtlu Cevizli Kek

Turks love yoghurt and it appears in sweet and savory dishes regularly, thanks to our Nomadic past. This cake, rich in yoghurt and walnuts with no oil/butter, makes a healthy option too. There are many versions of this cake at home; some of which are soaked in syrup and served as dessert, accompanied by our thick clotted cream of Buffalos, kaymak. My version includes muscovado (or brown) sugar and wholemeal self raising flour. Addition of the orange marmalade brings a lovely moist texture. This light, wholesome cake goes very well with tea and coffee. Very popular with the children too!

Serves 6 – 8

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 – 50 minutes

3 eggs
230 gr / 8 oz / 1 cup Muscovado (or brown sugar)
115 gr / 4 oz self raising flour
400 gr / 14 oz plain (preferably) wholemilk yoghurt
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
60 gr / 2 oz walnuts, finely chopped

Desiccated coconut to garnish
Double cream or mascarpone cheese by the side – optional-

Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F/ Gas mark 4

Grease a cake tin or a baking dish (8 in x 8 in or 20 cm x 20 cm) lightly with a little oil or butter.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until light and creamy. Beat in the flour, then the yoghurt, lemon zest and the marmalade. Add the walnuts and mix well.

Spoon the mixture to the prepared dish and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Once cooled down, cut the cakes into squares, transfer into a serving dish and sprinkle with desiccated coconut. You can serve the cake with some double cream or mascarpone cheese by the side if you would like.

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