The Tivoli Road Baker - Michael James with 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. 

Special thanks to Hardie Grant for sharing the following gorgeous cake with our members today as well as providing three copies of The Tivoli Road Baker in our contest below, opened to members in the US, UK, AU and NZ. 


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 paste)
  • 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 set.

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

The publisher is offering three copies of this book to EYB Members in the US, UK, AU and NZ. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on March 30th, 2018.


  • heyjude  on  2/21/2018 at 11:58 AM

    Morning Buns

  • infotrop  on  2/21/2018 at 12:44 PM

    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  2/21/2018 at 1:12 PM

    Chocolate, rye and walnut brownies.

  • kmn4  on  2/21/2018 at 1:20 PM

    Mince pies

  • Siegal  on  2/21/2018 at 1:25 PM

    I want to make almond croissants

  • lebarron2001  on  2/21/2018 at 1:35 PM

    Pain au chocolat

  • Kittenpants  on  2/21/2018 at 1:37 PM

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

  • LeslieGT  on  2/21/2018 at 1:43 PM

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

  • ravensfan  on  2/21/2018 at 1:49 PM


  • ktwalla  on  2/21/2018 at 3:50 PM

    Seasonal Fruit Danish

  • FrenchCreekBaker  on  2/21/2018 at 4:21 PM

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

  • lpatterson412  on  2/21/2018 at 4:32 PM

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

  • amyz218  on  2/21/2018 at 5:09 PM

    Chicken Curry Pie 😍

  • rchesser  on  2/21/2018 at 5:58 PM

    Coconut blossom palmiers

  • Shelley.b  on  2/21/2018 at 6:45 PM

    Chocolate orange and almond cake

  • lgroom  on  2/21/2018 at 6:49 PM

    Korasan, cheddar and chive biscuits.

  • ebs  on  2/21/2018 at 8:22 PM

    Wholegrain rye and buttermilk loaf!!

  • CMCooks  on  2/21/2018 at 10:13 PM

    Morning buns!

  • jmay42066  on  2/21/2018 at 10:32 PM

    Chocolate orange and almond cake

  • Cati  on  2/21/2018 at 11:18 PM

    The Olive Bread

  • MaryCunningham86  on  2/21/2018 at 11:22 PM

    Wattleseed, macadamia and honey loaf!

  • GillB  on  2/22/2018 at 12:14 AM

    Love to try the Fruit Sourdough

  • AnnaZed  on  2/22/2018 at 12:32 AM

    Wattleseed, macadamia and honey loaf

  • HelenB  on  2/22/2018 at 12:56 AM

    Hot Cross Buns for sure.

  • anniette  on  2/22/2018 at 5:49 AM

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

  • vickster  on  2/22/2018 at 8:34 AM

    Wholegrain Rye and Multigrain Loaf

  • jifar  on  2/22/2018 at 1:00 PM

    Eccles Cakes!

  • cookn  on  2/22/2018 at 2:11 PM

    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  2/22/2018 at 4:25 PM

    Chicken curry pie

  • contest718  on  2/22/2018 at 10:14 PM

    Basic sourdough

  • HungryJamie  on  2/23/2018 at 1:54 AM

    Christmas cake

  • sgump  on  2/23/2018 at 3:00 PM

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

  • mpdeb98  on  2/24/2018 at 7:37 AM

    Spelt and honey loaf

  • mcrimmins  on  2/24/2018 at 11:30 AM

    Morning Buns sound delicious.

  • RoseMGenuine  on  2/24/2018 at 2:23 PM

    Chicken curry pie

  • Puguppy  on  2/25/2018 at 7:51 AM

    Ginger cake

  • sweetchefgirl  on  2/25/2018 at 11:44 AM

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

  • LaurenE  on  2/25/2018 at 2:02 PM

    mince pies

  • sarahawker  on  2/25/2018 at 2:25 PM

    Butter-toasted oat porridge loaf

  • clairew137  on  2/25/2018 at 3:44 PM

    Lamington doughnuts

  • GregH  on  2/25/2018 at 10:32 PM

    Beef cheek, stout and treacle pie

  • jezpurr  on  2/25/2018 at 10:53 PM

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

  • littleminxgirl  on  2/25/2018 at 11:46 PM

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

  • EmilyR  on  2/26/2018 at 4:13 AM

    Pain au chocolat

  • Livia  on  2/26/2018 at 6:29 AM

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

  • gcooks  on  2/26/2018 at 7:04 AM

    Banana, fig and walnut loaf cake looks yummy!

  • lapsapchung  on  2/27/2018 at 8:11 AM

    Roasted pork with Tuscan slaw and crackling

  • HermionieG  on  2/27/2018 at 9:59 AM

    Smoky baba ghanoush with grilled broccolini, sesame and chilli

  • maisietoo  on  2/27/2018 at 11:46 AM

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

  • Aproporpoise  on  2/27/2018 at 3:20 PM

    Rye & walnut brownies!

  • jjankows  on  2/27/2018 at 10:05 PM

    Sultana, buttermilk and lemon zest scones!

  • jemans  on  2/27/2018 at 10:31 PM

    whole grain rye & buttermilk!

  • lhavard  on  2/27/2018 at 11:13 PM

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

  • obbigttam  on  2/27/2018 at 11:35 PM

    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  2/28/2018 at 1:31 AM

    Seasonal fruit Danish

  • matag  on  2/28/2018 at 7:07 AM

    Puff pastry

  • natashatheoharous  on  2/28/2018 at 9:14 AM

    The wattleseed, macadamia and honey loaf sounds incredible

  • lynneskip  on  2/28/2018 at 2:42 PM

    Sprouted Buckwheat Loaf

  • Maria.luiza  on  2/28/2018 at 2:52 PM

    The Oliveira bread

  • luccio  on  2/28/2018 at 3:30 PM

    Tomato Chilli Jam

  • Sfgordon  on  2/28/2018 at 7:13 PM

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

  • Gussiecat  on  2/28/2018 at 9:46 PM

    The butter toasted oat porridge bread, definitely!

  • curls  on  2/28/2018 at 10:02 PM

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

  • clappc  on  3/1/2018 at 2:30 AM

    Khorasan, cheddar and chive scones

  • Cryambers  on  3/1/2018 at 10:18 AM

    Chocolate, orange and almond cake

  • melspot  on  3/1/2018 at 10:20 AM

    Olive Loaf, I love olives and bread!!

  • jd5761  on  3/1/2018 at 5:25 PM

    Pain au chocolat would be lovely

  • AmandaS  on  3/2/2018 at 2:58 AM

    Definitely the Hot Cross Buns at this time of the year

  • annerog  on  3/2/2018 at 7:29 AM

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

  • maggie_moo  on  3/2/2018 at 8:42 AM

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

  • choppergirl  on  3/2/2018 at 8:50 AM

    Morning Buns

  • LobsterloverLisa  on  3/2/2018 at 12:24 PM

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

  • BMeyer  on  3/2/2018 at 9:59 PM

    lamington donuts

  • t.t  on  3/3/2018 at 1:48 AM

    Olive bread

  • jstreubel  on  3/3/2018 at 12:46 PM

    Chicken curry pie and Christmas pudding

  • Ishtar  on  3/4/2018 at 10:05 AM

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

  • RSW  on  3/4/2018 at 10:24 AM

    Olive bread

  • Laura1  on  3/4/2018 at 4:42 PM

    chocolate orange and almond cake

  • Dannausc  on  3/4/2018 at 5:34 PM

    Almond croissant

  • Kimberly78  on  3/5/2018 at 2:34 AM

    Seasonal fruit danish

  • shellee  on  3/5/2018 at 11:03 AM

    Banana, fig and walnut loaf cake

  • kitchenclimbers  on  3/6/2018 at 1:42 PM


  • colcannon  on  3/7/2018 at 2:57 AM

    Hot Cross Buns - Easter is coming - delish

  • Nikapai  on  3/8/2018 at 2:02 AM

    Mmmm...almond croissants!

  • Jenamarie  on  3/8/2018 at 9:13 AM

    Chicken, lemon and sweet potato pie

  • cheftina888  on  3/8/2018 at 11:04 AM

    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  3/9/2018 at 11:08 PM

    Hot cross buns

  • camerashy131  on  3/10/2018 at 9:39 AM

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

  • hc_bailey  on  3/11/2018 at 9:22 PM

    Pork, caramelised apple and fennel sausage roll

  • kbennall  on  3/12/2018 at 1:04 AM

    The cheddar and chive scones!

  • kelliwinter  on  3/12/2018 at 6:56 PM

    Butter-toasted oat porridge loaf

  • Radley  on  3/13/2018 at 2:20 PM

    Olive Bread

  • cake17uk  on  3/15/2018 at 1:34 AM

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

  • StaceyR  on  3/15/2018 at 7:05 PM

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

  • v.t  on  3/15/2018 at 7:11 PM

    Roasted pork with Tuscan slaw and crackling

  • FireRunner2379  on  3/16/2018 at 5:21 PM

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

  • Dmartin997  on  3/16/2018 at 5:41 PM

    Fruit sourdough looks interesting

  • goldenpudding  on  3/16/2018 at 5:54 PM

    wattleseed macadamia and honey loaf

  • PeavineBlues  on  3/16/2018 at 6:10 PM


  • Julia  on  3/16/2018 at 6:19 PM

    Banana, fig and walnut loaf cake

  • pclisa40  on  3/16/2018 at 6:34 PM

    Chocolate Orange and Almond Cake

  • BMeyer  on  3/16/2018 at 7:24 PM

    lamington donuts

  • Juli  on  3/17/2018 at 12:11 AM

    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 😊.

  • sequoia55  on  3/17/2018 at 12:33 AM

    mince pies

  • nicolacowburn  on  3/17/2018 at 6:54 AM

    Olive bread looks yummy

  • Curlyfatkins  on  3/17/2018 at 7:17 AM

    Mince pies

  • Poppyjoey  on  3/17/2018 at 7:51 AM

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

  • dbrhs  on  3/17/2018 at 10:31 AM

    Pan au chocolate

  • chasteph  on  3/17/2018 at 11:43 AM

    I would make the starter and then the Fruit sourdough.

  • verorenee  on  3/17/2018 at 6:43 PM

    butter toasted oat loaf

  • Karla123  on  3/17/2018 at 6:59 PM

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

  • kerrin1976  on  3/18/2018 at 5:37 AM

    Fruit Sourdough

  • TanyaD  on  3/18/2018 at 5:57 PM

    Khorasan, cheddar and chive scones

  • Caypron  on  3/18/2018 at 8:40 PM

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

  • HomespunHouse  on  3/18/2018 at 10:06 PM

    Chocolate, orange and almond cake.

  • Singleta417  on  3/18/2018 at 11:06 PM

    Khorasan, cheddar and chive scones

  • chimpbob  on  3/20/2018 at 9:33 AM

    Hot Cross Buns

  • ktwalla  on  3/20/2018 at 1:22 PM

    Roasted Pork with Tuscan Slaw and Cracklins

  • rosalee  on  3/22/2018 at 9:16 PM

    The Khorasan, cheddar and chive scones!

  • RickPearson54  on  3/23/2018 at 9:21 AM

    Olive bread

  • sugo  on  3/24/2018 at 1:49 AM

    Seasonal fruit Danish

  • Thermomixr  on  3/24/2018 at 6:16 AM

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

  • leilx  on  3/24/2018 at 10:01 AM

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

  • MusicCityMissy  on  3/25/2018 at 11:42 AM

    Pork, caramelised apple and fennel sausage roll

  • Uhmandanicole  on  3/26/2018 at 4:31 AM

    Lamington Donuts!

  • Foodycat  on  3/26/2018 at 8:03 AM

    Pork, caramelised onion and fennel sausage rolls

  • orchidlady01  on  3/27/2018 at 2:08 AM

    Roasted pork with Tuscan slaw and crackling

  • smartie101  on  3/27/2018 at 6:29 PM

    Olive Bread

  • shaz4  on  3/28/2018 at 5:55 PM

    Hot cross buns, just perfect for Easter

  • Cathy55  on  3/28/2018 at 10:19 PM

    Almond croissants - my weakness!

  • Jostlori  on  3/29/2018 at 12:05 AM

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

  • sequoia55  on  4/28/2018 at 1:41 AM

    Mince pies

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