Catherine and John Pawson’s colour coordinated cake
Colour theory meets baking excellence in the pages of the Pawsons' new book, Home Farm Cooking
What would you bake for Catherine and John Pawson? His work is pretty much the opposite of the sugary, wedding-cake style of architecture. Over the past four decades, John has focused on ways of approaching the fundamental problems of space, proportion, light, and material, creating a series of private homes, art galleries, chapels, stores and museums around the world, which combine minimalism with tasteful restraint. Catherine, meanwhile, studied at the Inchbald School of Design in London and worked at Colefax & Fowler, before embarking on a fruitful long term partnership with fellow interiors specialist Juliet Byrne.
Though they are based in London, they also own a place in the country, called Home Farm, just on the edge of the Cotswolds. John finished developing this ancient farmhouse and its surrounding outbuildings in 2019, imbuing them with his signature kind of pared-back perfection.
The couple maintain a lively social life in the capital, but Home Farm has enabled them to socialise in quite a different way. In their new book, Home Farm Cooking, Catherine Pawson writes that “one of the many ways in which the place has changed my life is that I now cook and entertain regularly; it has presented me with an opportunity to extend my previously narrow culinary repertoire.”
One of those extensions takes in this beautiful lemon and almond cake with pomegranates and pistachios. Catherine bakes this with polenta, or cornmeal, rather than conventional, wheat flour, which means its gluten free. However, the dish’s true brilliance lies on top, where Catherine likes to arrange two, perfectly coordinated, decorative toppings.
"The bright ruby hues of the pomegranate seeds and the vivid green of the crushed pistachios bring some welcome colour to an overcast day” she writes. “I like to serve this as a dessert, but a slice also makes an indulgent afternoon treat with a little crème fraiche.”
Whichever way you choose, you’ll end up with a treat that is both wonderfully indulgent, yet beautifully restrained. To get the full recipe, as well as many more tips on tasteful cooking and entertaining, order a copy of Home Farm Cooking here.