Cakes and muffins

Spring Sponge Sandwich

I'm celebrating another sponge cake success. Hooray! This Spring Sponge Sandwich is simple, light, and sweet. Nana Ling named this recipe the "3 Minute Sponge Sandwich" but I thought it deserved a more beautiful name. Also, I didn't want to set expectations too high,...

Banana Cake with Lemon Frosting

I have a go-to banana cake recipe that I've been using for about 20 years. When I spotted this Banana Cake with Lemon Frosting recipe in Nana Ling's cookbook, I had a hunch that my go-to recipe was about to be replaced. My feeling came from the state of the Banana...

Chocolate Layer Cake

This Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe is nearly 80 years old, but it makes a perfectly modern semi-naked cake. The caramelised edge makes it much easier to scrape the cream from the sides and top to get that lovely "semi-naked" effect (more tips below on going...

Coffee Cake

    Looking for a coffee hit? This Coffee Cake recipe delivers a hit of coffee along with a little sugar rush! It's also a feast for the eyes, decorated with almonds, coconut, peel and rose petals. Nana Ling recorded this recipe back in November 1941. I tweaked the...

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

    Is there anything better than chocolate cake? Yes, actually, there is.  It's this: Nana Ling's Chocolate Cake with Warm Chocolate Glaze. To make it look lovely, too, we've added some fresh raspberries and chopped pistachios. This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is the...

Eggless Fruit Cake

    Sink your teeth into a slice of this Eggless Fruit Cake and you won't miss the eggs for a second. It's a soft and spicy fruit cake, and doesn't require any fruit soaking beforehand. This Eggless Fruit Cake recipe from Nana Ling's recipe book is dated 28 March...


Monte Carlo Biscuits

We've already made Butternut Cookies and Iced VoVo Biscuits here in the Cooking with Nana Ling kitchen. This recipe is for  another biscuit made famous by Arnott's: the Monte Carlo Biscuit. The Monte Carlo was first manufactured by Arnott's back in 1926....

Butter Ball Cookies

Butter Ball Cookies can be whipped up quite quickly using ingredients you'll likely have on hand: butter, sugar, an egg, coconut and SR flour.  My Butter Ball Cookies ended up with cracks on the top and flattened a little during cooking... so they're not...

Iced VoVo

The Iced VoVo biscuit has been an "Australian icon since 1906" according to Arnott's, the company that's responsible for the mass production of this biscuit. It's certainly been a favourite in my family since I can remember. And Nana Ling marked this Iced VoVo recipe...

Choc Orange Jelly Crystal Cookies

Jelly Crystal Cookies are jelly and cookies wrapped into the one sweet treat – you really can't go wrong here! These Choc Orange Jelly Crystal Cookies are based on Nana Ling's recipe from 1939. The only change I've made is adding the chocolate drizzle, which makes the...

Honey Biscuits

    This recipe for Honey Biscuits is dated January 1942 and the source of the recipe is "Marcella". While the source's name suggests it could possibly be an Italian recipe, traditional honey biscuits are common across much of Europe and throughout the world. After...

Iced Currant Fingers

When I Googled this recipe, I came across images and recipes for what I call finger buns. However, not long after starting to re-create this recipe, dated 1940, I started to suspect I wasn't going to get a lovely, fluffy finger bun with my afternoon cup of...


Apple Crumble

This recipe is an oldie (it's from 1940) but it's definitely a goodie. Nana Ling recorded this Apple Crumble Recipe at the height of its popularity. During the World War II era it was an economical alternative to a true pie with pastry.  Today, of course, we still...

Scotch Pancakes

We're big fans of pancakes in our house, however we hadn't come across a recipe for Scotch Pancakes before. Hubby thought there may have been a drop of Scotch whisky in them, but – no – they're completely kid-friendly. Also known as drop scones, these delicious treats...

Canary Pudding

Canary Pudding is a traditional English steamed pudding. This canary-yellow coloured sweet treat is sure to brighten any dinner menu – it's both comforting and lively. Winter is definitely made more bearable by little comforts like open fires, hot chocolate, and......

Old Fashioned Homemade Ice Cream

Ice cream must be the world's favourite frozen treat. We're absolutely spoilt for choice these days, of course, with an extensive range of flavours available even in the aisles of our local supermarket. But visiting the local supermarket isn't as much fun...


Just a few important notes about this easy homemade doughnuts recipe before you start: Get the right equipment – you'll need a doughnut cutter (find one for under $5 at your local supermarket or kitchenware store). Plan ahead – you'll need to stand the...

Chocolate Ripple Cake

  This Chocolate Ripple Cake Recipe is perfect for those who want to impress with minimum effort. There's absolutely no baking involved! And provided you plan ahead a little (it needs at least 6 hours standing time in the fridge) this is a simple, versatile and...

Savoury and snacks

Cheese Biscuits (with savoury filling)

These Cheese Biscuits with savoury filling can be served as a little something to enjoy with a drink or as a welcome addition to any finger food platter. The recipe is from 1938 – a year before Nana Ling started writing hundreds of recipes onto the pages of the...

Mock Chicken

  This old fashioned Mock Chicken recipe is a firm family favourite. All of my aunts and cousins will think of just one person when Mock Chicken is mentioned: our Nan MacDonald, Nana Ling's daughter. Nan Mac, as we all called her, would turn up at our family...


Who doesn't love pikelets? They're a great all-rounder, perfect as an after-school snack, lunch box treat, quick and easy morning tea or sneaky midnight snack. Eat them plain, with a generous swipe of butter and jam or drizzled with honey. I was keen to try this...

Pies and tarts

Crushed Pineapple Tart

Tinned pineapple isn't the most glamorous of ingredients, but in this recipe for Crushed Pineapple Tart it is completely transformed. The pineapple filling is out of this world – a little bit custardy, a little bit tropical, a little bit old-fashioned and...

Condiments and conserves

Blood Orange Marmalade

There's something very decadent about blood oranges, with their pretty crimson-infused flesh and the berry-like flavour which swirls through the citrus tang. They're certainly lovely to eat on their own, and are just as wonderful as an ingredient in...

Simple Strawberry Jam

I've been in search of a simple Strawberry Jam recipe for a while, after fluking a great batch and then following that up with a disaster (yes, you can burn jam and, yes, it is messy). This recipe is the product of my experimentation with Nana Ling's Mandarin Jam...

Easy Lemon Curd

    This easy lemon curd recipe uses just one lemon and takes about 15 minutes to put together. For that 15 minutes of effort you get a medium jar of lemon curd which can last for a week or two when stored in the fridge (though I guarantee it won't last that long once...

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About the blog

Nana Ling portrait

From 1939 to 1943 Nana Ling carefully recorded her recipes in a notebook.

She noted the date, the source, the ingredients and the method.

She recorded hundreds of wonderful recipes, from classic sweets that we still love today to forgotten gems.

That notebook eventually found its way to me, Libby, her great granddaughter


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embossed small rolling pin

Small Embossing Rolling Pin

Make your cookies extra special with a high quality beech wood embossing rolling pin. Measures 23.5 cm in length.
wooden recipe box

Personalised Wooden Recipe Box

A personalised recipe box is the ultimate way to store recipes. A great gift idea, this box and comes with five wooden dividers and recipe cards that have been pressed by hand using a vintage card press.
stand mixer earrings

Stand Mixer Earrings

Cute silver drop earrings for the home baking addict.
serving board

Serving Board

Serve your kitchen creations on this rectangular serving board made from fast-growing acacia wood. Measures 36x28x2cm.
gold cake stand

Gold Cake Stand

This stylish cake stand has an electroplated gold finish and not only looks good but is super-easy to clean.
cake stand and dome

Canton Footed Cake Plate and Dome

This classic glass cake stand with dome will make your cakes even more lovely - and it reverses to become a punch bowl!



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