≡ Menu

Never Fail Batter Cake

Last week I had a baking failure. In fact, I had two of them. I decided to add something to my repertoire so I tried a couple of new recipes. An apricot slice and some fruit biscuits. They were horrible. The slice was heavy and not sweet enough. The biscuits were doughy. Despite large amounts of butter and sugar, they just would not crisp up. Both recipes were from the same cookbook and it has left me wondering, ‘how well tested were the recipes’?

Never Doubt The Never Fail

I was cross about the amount of time I had spent and the quality of ingredients used, for very little return. It was the first time I had cooked out of this book and I’ve decided it was also the last. But, my baking disaster(s) left me with nothing to take to morning tea the next day. I flicked through a few books but in the end, went the path of least resistance and made the batter cake that I always make. It never fails.

slice of blueberry and rapebrry batter cake dusted with icing sugar

The Raspberry & Blueberry Batter Cake that saved me!

I call it a batter cake because the mixture before it is baked is thick, rather than a pouring consistency. I call it ‘never fail’ because no matter how many times I have made it, no matter how many variations I’ve baked, it always turns our perfect. Perfect every time.

Good Old Donna Hay

It was my brother who first alerted me to a version of this recipe in Donna Hay’s ‘Off The Shelf’. It’s the Peach and Raspberry Cake. He had made it for a party and told me that it was very little effort for an impressive result. How right he was. Good old Donna Hay. She never lets me down. Her recipes are tried and true in my kitchen. She’s never given me a baking failure.

a whole blueberry and peach batter cake on a plate

Blueberry & Peach Batter Cake

It is a very forgiving recipe. Since first making it, I have probably baked it upwards of two dozen times. It takes only a few minutes to put together and can be left to its own business in a low oven for an hour. Sometimes I make the batter cake with fresh fruit and at other times, when it’s late at night and I need to make something in a hurry, with frozen berries. I’ve also used sliced pears and hazelnuts on top. On one memorable occasion, I swirled in peanut butter and dotted the top with broken pieces of Snickers. The size of the eggs are neither here nor there. The icing sugar is optional. It’s very rustic but it won’t last long. What’s not to like about a buttery, sugary cake?

Never Fail Batter Cake

blueberry batter cake cake sliced into wedges with knife resting on top


  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
  • 150g blueberries or 150g raspberries
  • 2 pieces of stone fruit such as peaches or nectarines, sliced into 12
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar


  1. Preheat an oven to 160c. Line a 22cm round, square or springform pan.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until light and creamy with all sugar dissolved.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well.
  4. Fold in the self-raising flour until well combined.
  5. Drop batter into the cake tin and smooth down with a spoon (it can be quite stiff).
  6. Place slices of stone fruit (if using) on top of cake in decorative pattern. Fill gaps in batter with blueberries or raspberries.
  7. Dust icing sugar over top of cake and place in oven. Cook for 1 hour.
  8. Dust with extra icing sugar if desired. Remove from tin and serve warm with cream or, cool in tin for easy transporting.

Serves: 6 – 8

Thanks Donna. Thanks for nothing Annabel.

a slice of peach and blueberry batter cake

*Looking for Donna Hay’s original ‘Off The Shelf’ cookbook? Indeed any good cookbook? Check out Dymocks – an Australian family owned bookseller.  This is an affiliate link – I will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) from any purchases made via the link.

12 comments… add one
  • sherry October 20, 2018, 8:32 am

    good to see you blogging again! this sounds like an ideal cake for any occasion. Mmm annabel – ’twill be interesting to see her next week when she is in brisbane. i have had my own problems with the other annabel’s recipes:) Makes you wonder if they try them at all. have a great weekend. cheers sherry

    • Fiona Ryan October 24, 2018, 8:08 pm

      I didn’t want to name and shame but most people in Aus would know who’m I’m talking about, if they read to the bottom. Shame. Thank goodness I have that old standby.

  • Amanda October 20, 2018, 1:35 pm

    That is a shame, but I have to say that I’ve not had the same experience. In fact, if anything, I’ve had my disappointments with Donna in the past, so don’t turn to her much at all.
    Poorly tested recipes are a particular bête noir of mine and I’ve been known to throw out whole cookbooks after disappointing results (I’m looking at you Bourke Street Bakery).

    • Fiona Ryan October 24, 2018, 8:07 pm

      ha ha – I love Bourke Street Bakery’s lamingtons but I’m not too surprised about the book. If Annabel works for you, that’s good. My copy is coming with me to a cookbook swap in a few week.

  • Beck @ Goldenpudding October 21, 2018, 8:02 pm

    How frustrating to have two recipes fail! Thank goodness for Donna Hay, it looks lovely 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan October 24, 2018, 8:06 pm

      Good old Donna! I’ll probably be making this cake for the rest of my days.

  • mae October 22, 2018, 1:52 am

    You really have reason to be annoyed with a cookbook that produces only failures! I love the cake you rely on: I have a similar recipe for summer fruits that can also be made with apples when the season is right.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    • Fiona Ryan October 24, 2018, 8:05 pm

      Thanks Mae. A friend shared a version on FB today with Mango & Blueberries as that’s what she had. It’s been a popular recipe indeed.

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime October 22, 2018, 5:35 pm

    I get so cross when recipes don’t work. And I agree with you, they surely could not have been tested. Love the never fail cake. They are always good to have as a go to recipe.

    • Fiona Ryan October 24, 2018, 8:04 pm

      I’ve had a few people tell me that they have had no problems with the book and in fact, there is a second coming out. Still, I like to think that I can cook. I’m taking it to a book swap in a few weeks!

  • Lisa November 2, 2018, 7:29 am

    A good no fail recipe is worth it’s weight in … ingredients? Tried to think of a cooking analogy. I have a small house and limited storage spaces… books that I can’t count on are always passed on when I find an opportunity. Is that Nim’s book swap you’re talking about?

    • Fiona Ryan November 3, 2018, 9:05 am

      Yes, I’m going. I have a busy weekend but really want to offload some books so I have made the space to go. Are you?

I love comments. What are your thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: