Sweet and umami, give your classic afternoon tea a twist.


"At the beginning of 2020, I gave myself permission to have as much cake as I wanted to eat, and I have never regretted that decision," says Olia Hercules.

This is one of the cakes she returned to time and time again. When making it yourself, Hercules says: "Just be mindful of the potency of your miso: some are saltier than others, so try the recipe with less if you feel yours may be extra-flavourful and salty. I often use a reduced-salt version for this cake."

Serves 9

For the cake:

  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 30g reduced-salt miso paste
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 50ml full-fat yogurt
  • 40g broken walnuts

For the syrup:

  • 50g white sugar
  • 50ml water
  • 20g reduced-salt miso paste
  • 40g walnuts, chopped
Brown butter, miso and walnut cake from Home Food (Joe Woodhouse/PA)
Brown butter, miso and walnut cake from Home Food (Joe Woodhouse/PA)


  1. A couple of hours before you bake, put the butter in a small pan and heat until it bubbles gently. Use a whisk to scrape the base and sides of the pan, so the milk solids don't burn.
  2. From the moment all the butter melts it should take three to four minutes over a medium heat. Have a bowl ready, to tip the brown butter into when it is ready. It will start smelling like butterscotch, its colour changing from light gold to amber, and its bubbling sound will quieten. Pour it into the bowl.
  3. Whisk the miso into the warm butter; you should have 225g of butter mix. Put it into a container and leave it to cool and firm up (stir it a couple of times while it sets, to re-emulsify). You want it to be soft, like room-temperature butter.
  4. Preheat the oven to 170°C fan. Line a 20-centimetre square or round cake tin, or a 900-gram loaf tin, with baking parchment.
  5. Put the cooled brown butter-miso mix in a mixing bowl, or the bowl of a food mixer, together with the sugar. Beat for five minutes with electric beaters or the food mixer at a high speed. (If you’re doing it by hand, beat it for a little longer.)
  6. Beat the eggs one at a time into the mixture, scraping down the bowl in between each. Add the self-raising flour and fold it in carefully by hand with a spatula. I know this bit will feel weird – to add yogurt at the end, after the flour – but don’t worry. It works. So mix in the yogurt, again by hand. Spread the batter into the prepared tin, scatter the walnuts over, then push them into the batter slightly.
  7. Bake for 40–50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool.
  8. While it is cooling, in a pan dissolve the sugar in the measured water. Take it off the heat, add the miso and whisk it all together. Add the chopped walnuts and put the pan back over the medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring the whole time. Spread the syrup over the cake, let it cool slightly, then enjoy!

Home Food: Recipes To Comfort And Connect by Olia Hercules is published by Bloomsbury Publishing. Photography by Joe Woodhouse. Available now.