I’ve made some mention already of the beautiful new book Sunday’s Kitchen.  A wonderful combination of social history and recipe book, it documents food and lifestyle at Heide, the home of influential art patrons John and Sunday Reed.  Sunday was a talented, intuitive cook interested in european styles of cookery before they were widely popular in Australia, and made an art of growing and preparing food and keeping house, along with fostering and feeding some of the greatest Australian modernist artists.

I was lucky enough to take part in the test kitchen for the book, and through good timing, MY cake appears in the book on the desserts chapter heading and on the back cover!!  The recipe is Von’s Heide Fruit Cake, by Evonne Harris, wife of poet and John Reed’s publishing partner Max Harris.  Von  made this cake to bring on the train from Adelaide to visit Heide.  I used Evonne’s actual recipe, which has since been somewhat standardised in the book.  It was fun to interpret and recreate.  It is an unusual light fruit cake with ground almonds and cherries, and is topped with marzipan (which I have never made before).  Von’s final instruction (which doesn’t make it into the book) was “Paint an artwork on the top”, with her daughters note that Von always drew a face.

Well, in the interests of historical accuracy, I had to comply – and what better than a face from an iconic Heide-associated artist?

Lovely Mr. Foxy-Woxy

Born Melbourne, 1959

(After Gethsemane by Joy Hester)  2009

brush and blue food colouring on marzipan

22 cm. diam.

(since devoured by the artist, cake-maker and staff of Heide Museum of Modern Art)

Well, Mr Foxy said he was better at drawing than I (which is probably true), and that he should do it.  It did look fabulous, and was a great hit with the staff at Heide.  The cake itself was also enjoyed, with many who don’t normally like fruit cake saying that they liked it.  The painted top is not included in the book, but I love that you can just see an intriguing touch of blue in the photographs.

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