A slice of cake, a cup of tea and someone to share it with are the cornerstones of contentment, says Tilly Pamment in this extract from The Plain Cake Appreciation Society.

There is a special kind of magic about homemade cake. It has little to do with the level of sophistication or perfection of the cake, and everything to do with the forethought and care that went into the baking. The joy that comes from combining simple, everyday ingredients, which with the addition of only a little time and heat turns them into something heart-warming and delicious, will never cease to delight me.

It is for this reason that my heart will forever belong to simple cakes. To the kind of humble cakes that sit on kitchen tables in ordinary houses all around the world. To the kind of generous cakes that are sliced and shared until only crumbs remain and are, somehow, more than the sum of their parts. They are cake-love and connection. They are ‘I love you’, ‘I miss you’ and ‘thank goodness it’s Friday’. They are the ‘I’m sorry’ we can’t seem to say, expressed ever so eloquently through the creaming of butter and sugar, breaking of eggs , and stirring of spoons.

At the end of each recipe you will find a ‘Tea and blooms match’ recommendation. They are what I like to drink and gaze at whilst I eat cake – feel free to substitute, embellish or ignore as you wish.