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Sunday Reed’s Chocolate Cake

Above left: Sunday Reed, outside Heide, her cottage haven on the floodplains of the Yarra River / Above right: Slicing the chocolate cake I made using Sunday’s recipe. Perfect for afternoon tea.

With so many of us feeling the ‘flatness’ of lockdown I thought I would share a recipe which will give you some escapism.

This recipe is one of Sunday Reed’s, the iconic and passionate supporter of the Australian arts. I have always been fascinated by her and her husband John and their lifestyle at Heide, their property on the Yarra River floodplains in Melbourne.

Heide was a haven for artists in the 1940s. Throughout this decade their home formed a background for some of Australia’s most avant-garde artists. The close knit circle included a number of Australia’s best known modernist painters, including the likes of  Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, Mirka Mora and Arthur Boyd, with a few love triangles thrown in there.

Above left: It’s a nostalgic cake, chewy and lightly sprinkled with chocolate shavings throughout. I used one of my olive napkins to make it feel extra nostaglic/ Above right: The recipe card to Sunday Reed’s cake.

I would have loved to have been invited to their cottage for conversations. Afternoon tea at Heide was often an occasion for lively discussions on art, music and literature, and this cake would have graced the kitchen table.

This cake is not the sort of chocolate cake we are used to now 80 years later. I would say this chocolate cake is a nostalgic cake and has restraint, perhaps in ways which shows the era of the 1940s. It’s sprinkled with chocolate, not drowning in it.

I personally baked it to transport me to another era, an era of halcyon days and artistic freedom.

Bake it for afternoon tea and imagine yourself there with a warm cup of tea.

Better still, google Sunday Reed and absorb her colourful and bohemian lifestyle. Hers is the type of lifestyle that only old family money from another era could provide.


Kara x



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2 Comments to “Sunday Reed’s Chocolate Cake”

  1. Oh Kara you have done it again ! I loved your story about Sunday Reed – growing up in Melbourne I went to a school that put art up on a pedestal while other schools shunned it as non academic! We had a seperate art history teacher to our practical work she was passionate about The antipodean Manifest – made up of the said artists and the Angry Penguins ( the poets of this group). We were taken often to Heidi ( before it was turned into the big Gallery it is today) , to immerse ourselves in and around the property – these days were sublime – no wonder I have forged a career being creative. I’m so glad you know about this era so many people don’t – it is my favourite too – I might make Sunday’s chocolate cake today xx jo

    • Hi Jo;

      What an experience you had! I love the sound of your school. It’s so fascinating how all those steps are the making of us and our careers and what we love to do…. Adore this era so much and

      I’m so pleased you enjoyed this post as much as I did!
      Kara xxx

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