The Tivoli Road Baker – Michael and Pippa James

There are cookbooks that are so beautiful that I am transfixed by the passion reflected in the photographs and stories from the moment I crack open the cover. The Tivoli Road Baker: Recipes and Notes from a Chef Who Chose Baking by Michael and Pippa James is one such book – the couple’s love of great food and community radiates off each page.

The craft of baking has captivated the British born chef who has been called “one of the greatest bakers of his generation”. The goal of this debut cookbook, co-written with his partner in all things, Pippa, is to inspire readers to make nourishing real bread at home and to give them the confidence to adapt it to suit their own tastes. That statement won me over; any cookbook that encourages creativity after nailing down basic techniques is a winner in my estimation.

The Tivoli Road Baker delivers the secrets of the Melbourne bakery’s best-loved creations along with baking basics and the keys to a good larder. Michael’s British heritage is reflected in traditional Cornish pasties, Saffron buns and Eccles cakes shared in the British bakes chapter. Also included in the 80 recipes here are Australian favorites such as Lamington doughnuts, Anzac biscuits and Monte Carlos. The heart of this book beats in the Bread chapter which guides the baker step by step into creating a great loaf of bread to share with those you love.

Readers are also introduced to the beloved growers and suppliers that the couple credit as being so important to the success of their little Melbourne bakery. “What we do isn’t magic, it’s the result of excellent ingredients, years of trial and error, and dedication to an ancient craft,” they state in the Introduction. But they are wrong, they do make magic with their work but where they are different is that they share the secrets of that magic with us. Their infectious spirit will unleash the baker in all of us inspiring us to learn from them and then learn from ourselves

Chocolate, orange and almond cake
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This decadent moist chocolate cake always gets a good response – the rich brown colour and caramelised almond crust on top draws people in. And once they’ve tried it, they always come back for more.

Makes 1 large loaf


Almond topping

  • 50 g (1 3/4 oz) butter, diced
  • 130 g (4 1/2 oz) soft brown sugar
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 40 g (1 1/2 oz) honey
  • 150 g (5 1/2 oz) flaked almonds


  • 170 g (6 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 50 g (1 3/4 oz) cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 225 g (8 oz) butter, soft
  • 340 g (12 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 160 g (5 1/2 oz) buttermilk

Bakery notes: If the almond topping sticks a bit in the tin or falls off when you invert the cake, you can fix it if you act quickly, before the caramel sets. Use a spoon or spatula to stick it back onto the cake, being careful not to touch the caramel directly, to avoid burning your fingers.

It’s best to use a serrated knife to slice this cake, as the top sets quite firm. Gently saw through the almond topping to avoid squashing the cake. It will keep well for a few days in an airtight container.

Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F). Grease a 9 x 22 x 10 cm (3 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 4 in) loaf tin and line it with baking paper.

To prepare the almond topping, melt the butter, sugar, orange zest and honey in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is thick and syrupy. Pour the syrup into your prepared tin, then sprinkle the flaked almonds evenly over the top. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt, then set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla. With the mixer still running on a slow speed, gradually add the egg to the butter mixture a little at a time, ensuring each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next.

Alternate between adding a third of the dry ingredients and a third of the buttermilk to the batter, mixing well between each addition, until all the ingredients have been added and the batter has just come together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that the batter is completely mixed.

Pour the batter into the tin over the almonds and caramel, and bake for 60-70 minutes, until the top is firm to touch and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Leave to cool for a few minutes, then set a wire rack over a tray lined with paper. Invert the still warm cake onto the wire rack then gently lift off the tin, being careful to avoid the caramel, which will still be extremely hot. Leave to cool completely before serving, to allow the almond caramel top to

Recipes excerpted with permission from The Tivoli Road Baker by Michael and Pippa James, published by Hardie Grant Books November 2017, RRP $35.00 hardcover.

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  • heyjude  on  February 21, 2018

    Morning Buns

  • infotrop  on  February 21, 2018

    Rapadura and Brazil nut cookies. note to self: "Rapadura is the pure juice extracted from the sugar cane (using a press), which is then cooked to evaporate off the water, whilst being stirred with paddles. It is then seive ground to produce a grainy sugar."

  • annmartina  on  February 21, 2018

    Chocolate, rye and walnut brownies.

  • kmn4  on  February 21, 2018

    Mince pies

  • Siegal  on  February 21, 2018

    I want to make almond croissants

  • lebarron2001  on  February 21, 2018

    Pain au chocolat

  • Kittenpants  on  February 21, 2018

    I would try to make the lamington donuts- they look pretty spectacular.

  • LeslieGT  on  February 21, 2018

    Wholegrain rye and buttermilk loaf: such a delicious sounding bread for us rye lovers

  • ravensfan  on  February 21, 2018


  • ktwalla  on  February 21, 2018

    Seasonal Fruit Danish

  • FrenchCreekBaker  on  February 21, 2018

    Lamington doughnuts…but honestly would try any of these recipes!

  • lpatterson412  on  February 21, 2018

    I would love to try the spelt and honey loaf! And just everything in this wonderful book, baking is my favorite thing!!!

  • amyz218  on  February 21, 2018

    Chicken Curry Pie 😍

  • rchesser  on  February 21, 2018

    Coconut blossom palmiers

  • Shelley.b  on  February 21, 2018

    Chocolate orange and almond cake

  • lgroom  on  February 21, 2018

    Korasan, cheddar and chive biscuits.

  • ebs  on  February 21, 2018

    Wholegrain rye and buttermilk loaf!!

  • CMCooks  on  February 21, 2018

    Morning buns!

  • jmay42066  on  February 21, 2018

    Chocolate orange and almond cake

  • Cati  on  February 21, 2018

    The Olive Bread

  • MaryCunningham86  on  February 21, 2018

    Wattleseed, macadamia and honey loaf!

  • GillB  on  February 22, 2018

    Love to try the Fruit Sourdough

  • AnnaZed  on  February 22, 2018

    Wattleseed, macadamia and honey loaf

  • HelenB  on  February 22, 2018

    Hot Cross Buns for sure.

  • anniette  on  February 22, 2018

    Olive bread (can never resist one), ginger cake, and the lovely sounding Christmas cake. Thank you.

  • vickster  on  February 22, 2018

    Wholegrain Rye and Multigrain Loaf

  • jifar  on  February 22, 2018

    Eccles Cakes!

  • cookn  on  February 22, 2018

    I am going to make the chocolate orange almond bread for my Monday Coffee with the girlfriends. But I am also interested in the Lamingtons.

  • JenJoLa  on  February 22, 2018

    Chicken curry pie

  • contest718  on  February 22, 2018

    Basic sourdough

  • HungryJamie  on  February 23, 2018

    Christmas cake

  • sgump  on  February 23, 2018

    Ooh–hot cross buns: 'tis almost the season!

  • mpdeb98  on  February 24, 2018

    Spelt and honey loaf

  • mcrimmins  on  February 24, 2018

    Morning Buns sound delicious.

  • RoseMGenuine  on  February 24, 2018

    Chicken curry pie

  • Puguppy  on  February 25, 2018

    Ginger cake

  • sweetchefgirl  on  February 25, 2018

    Butter-toasted oat porridge loaf , so many good things to try!

  • LaurenE  on  February 25, 2018

    mince pies

  • sarahawker  on  February 25, 2018

    Butter-toasted oat porridge loaf

  • clairew137  on  February 25, 2018

    Lamington doughnuts

  • GregH  on  February 25, 2018

    Beef cheek, stout and treacle pie

  • jezpurr  on  February 25, 2018

    Hard to choose between, a sweet bread, yummy sandwich, or a pie!!!^_^

  • littleminxgirl  on  February 25, 2018

    Oh gosh.. so many ..pain au chocolate.. the ginger cake.. the rye brownies

  • EmilyR  on  February 26, 2018

    Pain au chocolat

  • Livia  on  February 26, 2018

    One has to start withe the How to make and maintain a starter ! 🙂

  • gcooks  on  February 26, 2018

    Banana, fig and walnut loaf cake looks yummy!

  • lapsapchung  on  February 27, 2018

    Roasted pork with Tuscan slaw and crackling

  • HermionieG  on  February 27, 2018

    Smoky baba ghanoush with grilled broccolini, sesame and chilli

  • maisietoo  on  February 27, 2018

    I'd try the chocolate orange and almond cake lovely combination.

  • Aproporpoise  on  February 27, 2018

    Rye & walnut brownies!

  • jjankows  on  February 27, 2018

    Sultana, buttermilk and lemon zest scones!

  • jemans  on  February 27, 2018

    whole grain rye & buttermilk!

  • lhavard  on  February 27, 2018

    Blood plum and bay leaf jam. I love using bay leaves with fruit. Yum!

  • obbigttam  on  February 27, 2018

    Smoky baba ghanoush with grilled broccolini, sesame and chilli. Could change up the chillis each time you cook it for differing flavours/heat too 🙂

  • Njpadget  on  February 28, 2018

    Seasonal fruit Danish

  • matag  on  February 28, 2018

    Puff pastry

  • natashatheoharous  on  February 28, 2018

    The wattleseed, macadamia and honey loaf sounds incredible

  • lynneskip  on  February 28, 2018

    Sprouted Buckwheat Loaf

  • Maria.luiza  on  February 28, 2018

    The Oliveira bread

  • luccio  on  February 28, 2018

    Tomato Chilli Jam

  • Sfgordon  on  February 28, 2018

    Definitely want to try heirloom tomatoes on sourdough with stracciatella and lemon verbena!

  • Gussiecat  on  February 28, 2018

    The butter toasted oat porridge bread, definitely!

  • curls  on  February 28, 2018

    I would start with the recipes for the ginger cake and the Potato, mushroom and Taleggio pie.

  • clappc  on  March 1, 2018

    Khorasan, cheddar and chive scones

  • Cryambers  on  March 1, 2018

    Chocolate, orange and almond cake

  • melspot  on  March 1, 2018

    Olive Loaf, I love olives and bread!!

  • jd5761  on  March 1, 2018

    Pain au chocolat would be lovely

  • AmandaS  on  March 2, 2018

    Definitely the Hot Cross Buns at this time of the year

  • annerog  on  March 2, 2018

    I'd make the Escargot, because it sounds intriguing.

  • maggie_moo  on  March 2, 2018

    Pork, caramelised apple and fennel sausage roll sounds great – what could go wrong with pork, apple and fennel?

  • choppergirl  on  March 2, 2018

    Morning Buns

  • LobsterloverLisa  on  March 2, 2018

    You had me at hello with the Chocolate, Orange and Almond Cake. Can’t wait to bake it.

  • BMeyer  on  March 2, 2018

    lamington donuts

  • t.t  on  March 3, 2018

    Olive bread

  • jstreubel  on  March 3, 2018

    Chicken curry pie and Christmas pudding

  • Ishtar  on  March 4, 2018

    Smoky baba ghanoush with grilled broccolini, sesame and chilli. Tasty!

  • RSW  on  March 4, 2018

    Olive bread

  • Laura1  on  March 4, 2018

    chocolate orange and almond cake

  • Dannausc  on  March 4, 2018

    Almond croissant

  • Kimberly78  on  March 5, 2018

    Seasonal fruit danish

  • shellee  on  March 5, 2018

    Banana, fig and walnut loaf cake

  • kitchenclimbers  on  March 6, 2018


  • colcannon  on  March 7, 2018

    Hot Cross Buns – Easter is coming – delish

  • Nikapai  on  March 8, 2018

    Mmmm…almond croissants!

  • Jenamarie  on  March 8, 2018

    Chicken, lemon and sweet potato pie

  • cheftina888  on  March 8, 2018

    for a savory dish, I'd go for the curried chicken pie. for a sweet one, I'd love to make the choco late, orange and almond loaf. Yum

  • Coffeebean  on  March 9, 2018

    Hot cross buns

  • camerashy131  on  March 10, 2018

    I really would like to master "Basic sourdough" so this would be the recipe of my choice

  • hc_bailey  on  March 11, 2018

    Pork, caramelised apple and fennel sausage roll

  • kbennall  on  March 12, 2018

    The cheddar and chive scones!

  • kelliwinter  on  March 12, 2018

    Butter-toasted oat porridge loaf

  • Radley  on  March 13, 2018

    Olive Bread

  • cake17uk  on  March 15, 2018

    The Chicken, lemon and sweet potato pie sounds so good! would try that first

  • StaceyR  on  March 15, 2018

    I think I would try the pasties first. It has been a long time since I have made any.

  • v.t  on  March 15, 2018

    Roasted pork with Tuscan slaw and crackling

  • FireRunner2379  on  March 16, 2018

    I'd like to make the Pain au Chocolat and the Lamington Doughnuts.

  • Dmartin997  on  March 16, 2018

    Fruit sourdough looks interesting

  • goldenpudding  on  March 16, 2018

    wattleseed macadamia and honey loaf

  • PeavineBlues  on  March 16, 2018


  • Julia  on  March 16, 2018

    Banana, fig and walnut loaf cake

  • pclisa40  on  March 16, 2018

    Chocolate Orange and Almond Cake

  • Juli  on  March 17, 2018

    Likely to try the whole grain rye and buttermilk loaf recipe first, and would try lots of the other recipes in quick succession, very difficult to choose 😊.

  • nicolacowburn  on  March 17, 2018

    Olive bread looks yummy

  • Curlyfatkins  on  March 17, 2018

    Mince pies

  • Poppyjoey  on  March 17, 2018

    I enjoy olive bread so I'd like to have a bash at making that

  • dbrhs  on  March 17, 2018

    Pan au chocolate

  • chasteph  on  March 17, 2018

    I would make the starter and then the Fruit sourdough.

  • verorenee  on  March 17, 2018

    butter toasted oat loaf

  • Karla123  on  March 17, 2018

    Olive bread…this bread is welcome on my table anytime.

  • kerrin1976  on  March 18, 2018

    Fruit Sourdough

  • TanyaD  on  March 18, 2018

    Khorasan, cheddar and chive scones

  • Caypron  on  March 18, 2018

    All the bakery items sound fabulous but I’d like to try the broccolini and pearl barley with zucchini yoghurt dressing.

  • HomespunHouse  on  March 18, 2018

    Chocolate, orange and almond cake.

  • Singleta417  on  March 18, 2018

    Khorasan, cheddar and chive scones

  • chimpbob  on  March 20, 2018

    Hot Cross Buns

  • ktwalla  on  March 20, 2018

    Roasted Pork with Tuscan Slaw and Cracklins

  • rosalee  on  March 22, 2018

    The Khorasan, cheddar and chive scones!

  • RickPearson54  on  March 23, 2018

    Olive bread

  • sugo  on  March 24, 2018

    Seasonal fruit Danish

  • Thermomixr  on  March 24, 2018

    Have to try his Traditional Cornish pasty, since he is from there they should be good.

  • leilx  on  March 24, 2018

    Pistachio and sour cherry nougat—I’ve been looking for a good nougat

  • MusicCityMissy  on  March 25, 2018

    Pork, caramelised apple and fennel sausage roll

  • Uhmandanicole  on  March 26, 2018

    Lamington Donuts!

  • Foodycat  on  March 26, 2018

    Pork, caramelised onion and fennel sausage rolls

  • orchidlady01  on  March 27, 2018

    Roasted pork with Tuscan slaw and crackling

  • smartie101  on  March 27, 2018

    Olive Bread

  • shaz4  on  March 28, 2018

    Hot cross buns, just perfect for Easter

  • Cathy55  on  March 28, 2018

    Almond croissants – my weakness!

  • Jostlori  on  March 29, 2018

    Oh, the Chicken Curry Pie would be first, for sure!

  • sequoia55  on  April 28, 2018

    Mince pies

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