Saturday, October 19, 2019

Mud Cake for Bill's Retirement

Recently, Bill retired after working with our business for nearly 35 years.  Bill was a friendly face around the office who was always up for a pleasant chat.

A few people organised an office morning tea for Bill to wish him all the best in his retirement.  I could not attend the morning tea, but I wanted to make Bill a cake for the morning tea to thank him and to wish him well.  

I saw a mud cake on Instagram from Adelaide Bakes, which I though would be the perfect cake for Bill.  You can find the recipe online here. I made my cake in a 22cm cake tin, so it is not as tall as the one on the source website.

I covered the cake with ganache (using Dorie Greenspan's recommended one is to one ratio of chocolate and cream), and decorated it with fondant shapes made by pressing fondant into silicone moulds.  The plant and leaves allude to the fact that one of Bill's presents was a plant, while the tea pot, cups and cupcakes represent the morning tea.   

Here is Bill cutting his cake, with his plant in the foreground:

Fifty or so people attended Bill's morning tea, which shows what a treasure he is.  We wish you all the best in your retirement Bill, and you will be missed around the office.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Vanilla, Ricotta and Almond Cake with Poached Fruit - Queen Baking Club

One of the loveliest cakes I have eaten in a while was a Vanilla,  Ricotta and Almond Cake with Poached Fruit, a recent Queen Baking Club challenge.  You can find the recipe online here.

This wonderful cake contains ricotta, which makes it smooth and moist; it contains almond meal, to give it a little nuttiness and texture; and lush berries, to give it sweetness and additional moistness.  The underlying cake is complemented by the poached fruit (in my case, pears) and berries on top, which make the cake decorative and add additional flavour.   

This is one of those cakes you have to walk away from so that you don't eat the whole thing.  It is such a moist and luscious cake that it is difficult to stop at just one piece.

This cake would be lovely served with cream, crème fraiche or icecream.  However, I served it just with a drizzle of the pear poaching syrup as suggested by Queen (but be warned, it is very sweet). 

If you like fruity cakes, I highly recommend making this one. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

TWD - Parmesan Galettes

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Parmesan Galettes. These savoury biscuits comprise a simple dough of flour, butter and grated parmesan, blitzed in a food processor into a dough, then rolled into a log and the biscuits are sliced from the log.

You could bake them in a muffin tin so they don't spread and stay round, but I couldn't be bothered and baked them free form.  The biscuits did not stay neatly round, but they still  tasted good - a very strong parmesan flavour, as you can imagine.

To see what the other Dorie bakers made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Lemon Macadamia Shortbread Cake

A friend of mine recently had a Lemon Macadamia Shortbread Cake at a work morning tea.  Everyone seemed to like it, and someone asked for the recipe.  The recipe was then passed on to me as a suggestion for something to bake.

This recipe was out of someone's home recipe file, so it didn't contain a lot of the niceties that one finds in a modern cookbook for the instructions, nor was there a photo so that I had an idea of what the cake would look like.  However, I have been baking for long enough that I was happy to give this recipe a go. 

I was expecting a cookie cake from the name of the cake, but this is what it actually looks like (which I am told is an accurate representation of the original):

This is a lovely cake with a soft, buttery base that you press into the tin, topped with a thin layer of lemon curd, then topped with the same dough as the base but crumbled instead of pressed on.  The whole thing is then topped with macadamia nuts for crunch:

It really is a lovely cake that is easy to make.  If you would like to try it, you will need:


2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
125g butter, softened 

(Double the recipe if you'd like a try bake.


1/2 cup lemon juice
grated zest of one lemon
2 eggs, slightly beaten
125g butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

(Triple the recipe for a tray bake.)

Grease and line a 20cm springform tin (mine was 22cm and it was fine.)  Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

For the base, sift the flour and sugar into a bowl.  Rub the butter in with your finger tips (I recommend grating the butter to help with this), to form crumbs. Add the eggs, and mix until combined but the dough is still slightly crumbly.

Press two thirds of the base mixture into the springform tin, and set the rest aside.

For the filling, melt the butter and the sugar in a small saucepan (do not allow to boil).  Remove the mixture from the heat, then mix in the lemon juice and zest. 

Whisk in the beaten eggs, then return the saucepan to the heat and stir constantly until the mixture thickens (it will coat the back of a spoon).  Don't panic if some of your egg scrambles in the mixture - just strain it out once the curd has cooked.

Pour the curd over the base in the springform tin.  Top with the reserved base dough, sprinkling it over in little blobs to cover the curd.  Finally, sprinkle over the macadamia nuts.

Bake the cake for 40 minutes until golden on top, then remove it from the oven and cool it in the tin on a wire rack.

Release the cooled cake from the springform tin, and dust with icing sugar to serve, if desired.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

TWD - Cream Cheese and Toast Tartlets

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Cream Cheese and Toast Tartlets.  At first, I was a little skeptical as to what this recipe would be like, especially as it included a toasted bread topping (which seemed a little weird to me).

I needn't have worried - these little tarts were good.  I quartered the dough and topping recipe and halved the filling recipe (after realising that I could get two tart shells out of my dough instead of just one), and ended up with two tartlets. 

These little tarts are pretty and elegant.  The easiest tartlet tins for me to find were some heart-shaped ones that someone gave to me recently (I don't often use tartlet tins), which explains the shape (ie no deliberate decision to make heart-shaped tartlets).

I was worried that the filling would not set as only a miniscule amount of gelatine was involved as the setting agent, but the tartlets set beautifully.  

The filling of these tarts is smooth and silky, and the topping on top adds a nice contrast crunch.

To see what everyone else made this week and what they though of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

TWD - White Chocolate and Poppy Seed Cookies

For Tuesday with Dorie this week, the recipe is for White Chocolate and Poppy Seed Cookies.

These cookies take Dorie's basic good for almost anything cookie dough, and combine it with white chocolate chunks and poppy seeds.  After baking, the cookies are topped with more white chocolate and poppy seeds.

These are rather attractive cookies which taste quite good.  Perfect for the white chocolate or poppy seed lover.

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.  

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Salted Caramel and Pretzel Cheesecake

Are you a fan of cheesecake?  I find that people sit firmly in one of two camps - they either love cheesecake or they loathe it.  I sit in the former camp, and adore cheesecake in all of its forms, whether baked or unbaked.  The only thing that makes me sad is when someone has turned a cheesecake recipe into a cloggy dense mess, instead of a smooth and silky thing of wonder.  

Another one of my favourite things is caramel, so when I saw the photo of a salted caramel and pretzel cheesecake on the cover of the September issue of Delicious magazine, I was sold.  Is this not a thing of beauty:

Even better, I already had all of the ingredients needed to make it, accumulated from random purchases and leftovers from other recipes.

I am so glad that I ventured to make this indulgent cheesecake - it was everything I'd hoped for.  Sweet, salty, smooth, luscious and altogether a treat to be savoured.  The pretzels are incorporated into the crust, and the caramel flavoured cheesecake is topped with a layer of store bought dulce de leche to up the ante on the caramel flavour.

To make this cheesecake, you will need:

200g crushed salted pretzels
200g digestive biscuits
350g butter, melted and cooled
400g brown sugar
450ml thickened cream
3 titanium strength gelatine leaves
450g cream cheese, softened
250g store bought dulce de leche

Grease and line a 22cm wide, 5cm deep springform pan.

Put the pretzels in a food processor and finely chop.  Add the biscuits and process until fine crumbs form.  Add 250g of the melted butter and process to combine.  Press the mixture into the base and up the sides of the springform pan, and chill until needed.

Put the remaining melted butter into a saucepan with the brown sugar over medium heat, and stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Add the cream and simmer for 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens.  

In the meantime, soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes.  Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine and stir the gelatine into the hot cream until dissolved.  Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Put the cream cheese into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk until smooth.  Gradually whisk in the cooled cream mixture until smooth, then pour into the chilled biscuit base.  Refrigerate the cheesecake for 6 hours or until set.

To serve the cheesecake, spread the dulce de leche evenly over the top of the set cheesecake.  Slice and serve.  Devine!

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Roasted Miso Ginger Chicken

Roast chicken is such a comforting dish.  It reminds me of being ten years old, and when I came home from Sunday school, Mum would have a fabulous roast chicken lunch put together.  The wonderful smell as the chicken finished roasting made me impatient for lunch to be served, so I would try and quell my impatience by watching Barbara Woodhouse train dogs and their owners on TV.  Hey, it worked for a would-be vet! 

One of the most delicious roast chicken dinners that I have made in recent times comes from the New Zealand version of Cuisine magazine.  It is a Roasted Miso and Ginger Chicken.  A miso, garlic and ginger butter is sld under the skin of the chicken before roasting, and the chicken is served with roasted spring onions and broccolini.  It is really good, especially if you are a fan of Asian flavours.

If this sounds like a recipe that would tickle your tastebuds, you will need:

1 tablespoon white miso
50g softened butter
2 minced cloves garlic
5cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons rice wine
1 chicken
250ml chicken stock
1 bunch spring onions cut into 5cm lengths
1 bunch broccolini, trimmed
2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds   

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Combine the miso, butter, garlic, ginger and 1 tablespoon of rice wine in a bowl.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towel, loosen the skin from the flesh on the breast, and smear half of the miso butter under the skin of the breast of the chicken.  Smear the rest of the miso butter into the chicken's cavity and over the outside of the chicken.

Put the chicken breast side down into a roasting tray.  Season the chicken with salt.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes, then turn it breast side up in the roasting tray.  Add the chicken stock and the remaining tablespoon of rice wine, and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Add the spring onions and broccoli to the roasting dish, return the chicken to the oven, and roast for a further 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken   from the oven and rest for 10 minutes before scattering it with the sesame seeds and carving to serve.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

TWD - Fall Market Galette

This month's last Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Fall Market Galette - except that in my part of the world, it is actually spring, so mine is technically a spring market galette.

To make this galette, Dorie's galette dough (made flexible for easy folding) is filled with grapes, figs and plums.  However, I can't get figs and plums at this time of year, so I substituted peaches (US imports) and pears in my galette.

The dough bakes up all flaky and crisp, and the juicy fruit and walnuts are the stars of the galette:  

This galette was absolutely delicious, and matched the devine smell as it baked.  I served my galette with a little vanilla icecream.

My galette is reposing on a tea towel from the Margaret River region o Western Australia, where I recently took a short vacation.  You can just see Cape Leeuwin peeking out from under the galette - this is the most south-western point in Australia, and has a lighthouse that was manned until the early 1990s.  It is also the point where the Southern Ocean and the Indian Ocean meet.  It is windy and cool up there, but worth a visit.

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website

Monday, September 23, 2019

C Restaurant in the Sky, Perth

On a recent holiday to Perth, Western Australia, my family and I visited C Restaurant in the Sky, the city's only revolving restaurant.  It is located on the 33rd floor of St Martins Tower in St Georges Terrace, a main street in the Perth CBD.  

We were seated next to a window, where we were greeted with various magnificent sweeping views of the Perth skyline as we slowly rotated around the circular tower:

It takes just over an hour to make a round trip around the restaurant.

For a mid-week visit, you are required to order three courses (entrée, main and dessert) for $99, if you are not ordering the five course degustation.

My first course was a double-baked blue cheese soufflé with quince gel, roasted hazelnuts, frisee salad and champagne sorbet:

This dish was light and fluffy and tasted just as good as it looked.  The champagne sorbet was a little strange with the warm soufflé, but delicious all the same.

My next course was barramundi with confit potatoes and leeks, grilled prawns,  lemon and garlic puree, buttermilk veloute and shellfish oil:

The lattice was purely decorative and did not have much flavour.  The fish was flaky and soft with  crisp, salty skin.  The lemon and garlic puree was a revelation and made the dish with its zingy citrus flavour.

Our main course was followed with a palate cleanser of lime and raspberry sorbet, which my brother mistook for dessert:

Finally, my dessert was a raspberry mousse, sitting atop a vanilla pastry base, with raspberry sponge and tuile and raspberry sorbet:

This dessert was as pretty as a picture and was devine - smooth and not too sweet, and set off admirably by the fresh fruit garnish.  The sponge pieces were a little dry, but this was easily remedied with a little raspberry coulis and raspberry sorbet.  I could easily have gone for seconds of this.

One of us had a birthday, so they were served with a teeny tiny piece of mud cake topped with a sparkler, reposing on a plate with a greeting in dessert sauce: 

So cute!!

All the while, the restaurant kept revolving, and Perth delighted us with its twinkly night sky:

The service was very friendly and efficient.  Our waiter had only been there for two weeks, but you would never know - he was an absolute pro.  

The hardest part was finding our way out at the end, as we were slightly disorientated after revolving around.

I highly recommend a visit to C Restaurant if you ever find yourself in Perth - the atmosphere, service and food are top notch.

Level 33/44 St Georges Terrace
Perth WA 6000

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

TWD - Sweet or Savoury Cream Cheese- Honey-Nut Wafers

This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Sweet or Savoury Cream Cheese-Honey Nut Wafers. These biscuits comprise a cream cheese dough base, topped with either jam or blue cheese (depending on whether they are sweet or savoury), then topped again with a delicious walnut-honey mixture.

I made the sweet version and used up some quince and ginger jam on four of myy biscuits. For the rest, I straddled sweet and savoury by using fig and port chutney.  Both versions were delicious - I could not really tell which were which. 

To see what the other Dorie bakers made this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

TWD - Caramel Topped Rice Pudding Cake

For Tuesday with Dorie this week, I have made Caramel Topped Rice Pudding Cake.  When I was growing up, rice pudding was a regular dessert in our household.  Mum's rice pudding was thick, creamy and topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon. 

Fast forward to Dorie's recipe for Caramel Topped Rice Pudding Cake, and I will say that while cinnamon is good on top of rice pudding, citrus-tinged caramel trumps it.

Rice pudding cake involves making a rice pudding, then adding eggs and vanilla and baking it in the oven in a tin that has been lined with caramel.  It is rice pudding in slice and serve form - yum!

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Toffee Apple Cake with Maple Apple Caramel

I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it's gonna take
A million dreams for the world we're gonna make
Hugh Jackman, A Million Dreams 

The words above are from a song featured in The Greatest Showman, a movie about PT Barnam and the founding of the Barnam and Bailey Circus.  It is a hopeful and uplifting song, which we are currently singing in the community choir that I have joined.  After a hard day, it makes me believe that being together with the people that I love, the world can be a better place.

When I was little, going to the Show or going to the circus always meant that Mum would buy me a toffee apple.  I think at the time I underappreciated the toffee apple because underneath it all, it was just fruit, but as a grown up, I rather enjoy the crunch of the toffee apple and the contrast of the sweet toffee with the tartness of the apple.

Going back a little while, I made a Toffee Apple Cake with Maple Apple Caramel from the May 2019 edition of Delicious magazine.  This cake reminded me fondly of the toffee apples of my childhood, so I had to make it.  My cake is not as grand as the original (which you can see here), as I only made one layer of cake and had one apple on top (although I made three).  Frankly, for a day to day cake, that was enough - a grand cake like the one in the magazine would perhaps be good for a special occasion, but was too OTT for me to make just for fun.

The cake itself is moist as it contains grated apple and buttermilk: 

Here is the finished product - one single layer made from a half recipe of cake, with a single (imperfect) toffee apple adorning the top:

I thought the cake was pretty good, and could be readily made without the fuss of the toffee apples if desired:

Oooh, and do make the maple apple caramel sauce - it is delicious and adds additional moistness to the cake: 

To make the cake my way, you will need:

350g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
250g butter
300g sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
125ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk
2 apples, peeled and coarsely grated

For the maple apple caramel

125ml apple juice
125ml maple syrup

For the toffee apples + praline

3 small red apples 
1 cup sugar
30g almonds

For the icing

250g cream cheese, softened
92g butter, softened
70g icing sugar, sifted
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease and line one 23cm cake tin.

 Sift the flour, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla.

Add the flour and mix in on low.  Fold in the grated apple with a rubber spatula.

Scrape the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for one and a half hours or until cooked through.  Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin.

For the icing, beat all of the ingredients together in a stand mixer until smooth.

For the maple apple caramel, put the apple juice and maple syrup into a small saucepan and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by a third.

For the toffee apples, line 2 baking trays with alfoil, grease the trays, and place a greased wire rack over the top of one tray.

Melt the sugar in a saucepan and wait until the sugar turns golden brown  before using tongs to dip each apple into the toffee, and swirling to coat completely (work quickly as the toffee sets hard quickly).  Place each apple onto the greased wire rack to cool completely.

Pour the rest of the caramel over the foil lined tray and scatter over the almonds.  Once the toffee has set, finely grind up the almond mixture in a food processor.

To assemble, ice the cooled cake with the cream cheese icing, sprinkle the top of the cake with the almond praline, and top with one or more toffee apples. 

Serve the cake in slices drizzled with maple apple caramel.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

TWD - Cocoa Almond "Uglies" (Brutti ma Buoni)

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Cocoa Almond "Uglies" or "brutta ma buoni" (ugly but good).  These biscuits are really easy to make with icing sugar, almond meal, egg whites, cocoa, slivered almonds (or in my case, flaked almonds) and chocolate.  I used a part of a Ferrero Rocher Easter Egg as my chocolate.

You mix everything together then place heaped mounds on a baking sheet, et voila, delicious cookies.  They don't spread much and are super delicious.  These are my kind of biscuits.

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Pork, Caramelised Apple and Caraway Sausage Rolls

Today is Father's Day in Australia.  If you want to help your meat-loving Dad celebrate with some food treats, you can't go past the Pork, Caramelised Apple and Fennel Sausage Rolls in the Tivoli Road Baker book. 

These sausage rolls have an absolutely delicious filling, and go down a treat with a dipper of tomato sauce.

Me being me, I substituted the fennel seeds for caraway seeds (because that is what I had), and on top of the sausage rolls, I used a mixture of sesame seeds and poppy seeds that I had from another project (again in substitution for fennel seeds). 

I highly recommend giving these sausage rolls a go if you are a meat lover.  To make them, you will need (as modified by me):

2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 brown onions, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
20g butter
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1.2kg pork mince
65g fresh breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1 lightly beaten egg
5 sheets Pampas frozen puff pastry
sesame seeds for sprinkling on top

Toast the caraway seeds in a small dry frypan until fragrant.  Crush in a mortar and pestle, and set aside.

 In a large frying pan, heat the vegetable oil.  sweat off the garlic and onions until lightly caramelised.  Add the caraway seeds, rosemary and thyme, cook for a minute, then set aside to cool.

Wipe out the large frypan and melt the butter in it.  Cook the apples in the butter for 2 minutes, then add the sugar to the pan.  Cook until the sugar is caramelised, then deglaze the pan with the vinegar, and set the apples aside to cool.  

Combine the mince, apples, breadcrumbs and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Using your hands, mix through the onion and garlic mixture until all ingredients are evenly distributed.

Cut each sheet of puff pastry in half.  Divide the sausage mixture evenly between each half piece of pastry (10 batches in all), and place the mince along a long edge of each piece of pastry, forming into a sausage shape with your hands which is the length of the pastry.  Brush the other long edge of the pastry with the beaten egg, then roll the pastry from the meat side to the beaten egg side, with the sealed edge on the bottom.  Place each roll on a baking tray, then brush the top of the sausage rolls with beaten egg, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Lightly prick the top of each roll with a fork.  Refrigerate the rolls for half an hour.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Bake the sausage rolls for 40 minutes or until golden on top and cooked through.

Serve warm with tomato sauce on the side.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

TWD - Tiramisu Tart

This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Tiramisu Tart. I had been looking forward to making this, but ultimately, it did not delight me as I had hoped it would.

The concept of Tiramisu Tart is exactly as the name says - tiramisu in a tart form. A fully baked tart shell is lined with coffee and rum soaked savoiardi, and smothered in marscapone cream, then topped with chocolate.

Things did not go well for me with this tart from the get go.  I had a lot of trouble buying savoiardi. I know they used to sell them in the supermarket, but because I wanted them, I could not find them. Eventually, after a hot, grumpy walk up the main shopping street in the next suburb, I located them on the top shelf of a gourmet store. I needed someone to come and get them down for me, and they were not cheap. However, it’s not Tiramisu without savoiardi so I sucked it up.

My next problem was that I made a chocolate tart shell, which for unknown reasons had cracks open up in it as it cooled. That will teach me for trying to be fancy.

To top it all off, my filling did not set very well. I froze the tart to try and set it, and I hope that it doesn’t disintegrate into a puddle when it thaws.

So you see, my photos of this tart are all smoke and mirrors, as they feature the frozen tart.

To see how everyone else fared with their Tuesday with Dorie recipe this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Postscript: The freezing of the tart had the desired effect of setting it. It is still fairly soft, but it is no longer an oozing puddle.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Chester Squares (Gur Cake)

When I was growing up, a trip to the local bake shop with my old man always led to him buying a Chester Square.  Initially, being a typical kid, I recoiled in horror from the Chester Square, with its dense, black centre.  However, when I was finally persuaded to try one, I really liked it!  The Chester Square of my memory was made with stale cake and some mystery ingredients sandwiched between two slabs of pastry, and topped with a bright pink buttercream.

Chester Squares are no longer standard bakery fare.  However, I had a slab of fruit cake left over from Christmas, and was determined to turn it into Chester Squares.

It turns out that it is not that easy to find a recipe that reproduces the Chester Squares of my childhood.  The closest recipe that I found came from The Daily Spud, being a recipe for Gur Cake (which is apparently the traditional name for the Chester Square).  My research uncovered that Chester Squares originated in Dublin, Ireland, and were called Gur Cake because boys wagging school would often stop off at the bakery to buy some, it being one of the cheapest things available.

The use of treacle in the filling gave me the familiar black centre that I was looking for.  The Daily Spud did not ice their Gur Cake, but I did because that is the Chester  Square of my memory.

Proportions of ingredients below are approximate, as I used The Daily Spud recipe as inspiration for the filling rather than following it.  

To make your own Chester Squares, you will need:


250g plain flour
125g cold butter, cubed
3 tablespoons water


450g spicy fruit cake
1/4 cup brewed tea
2 tablespoons treacle
2 tablespoons golden syrup

Line a 27cm x 18cm rectangular slice tin with baking paper.

For the pastry, in a large bowl, rub the butter into the flour to form crumbs, then bind together by mixing in the water (more or less as required).  Or just blitz it all together in a food processor, which is what I did.

Divide the pastry in half, and roll out each half between two pieces of baking paper into a rectangle that is large enough to fit your slice tin. Chill for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, make your filling.  Crumble the cake coarsely between your fingers into a large bowl.  Stir in the treacle and golden syrup, then add just enough tea so that the mixture binds together but will be soft enough to press into your slice tin.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Remove the pastry from the fridge.  Line the base of your prepared cake tin with one of the pastry rectangles, cutting off any excess so that the pastry neatly fits into the base of the tin.  Press the filling on top of the pastry.  Take the other pastry rectangle and lay it over the top of the filling, smoothing it down to cover the filling, and trim off any excess.  Prick the top of the pastry with a fork, brush the top of the pastry with a little milk to help it brown, and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and cooked through.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin on a wire rack.  Slather the top of the cooled cake with bright pink buttercream if desired before slicing into squares.


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Fresh Strawberry Bundt Cake

Strawberries sing to me of summer.  They are refreshing and juicy and colourful.  Recently, I spied a recipe on Instagram from the NY Times for a Fresh Strawberry Bundt Cake, and could not resist making it.  It may be still winter here, but there are fresh strawberries around, and this delightful cake transported me to the warm and carefree summer days which are hopefully just around the corner.

To make this cake, you will need:

170g butter 
3 cups plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
finely grated zest from 1 lemon
3 large eggs
300ml natural yoghurt
60ml fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
410g fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped into 1/2" pieces


40g hulled strawberries
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Centre a rack in your oven and preheat it to 180 degrees Celsius.  Spray a 16 cup bundt pan with spray oil, and dust it with flour.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a small bowl, rub the lemon zest into the sugar until the sugar is fragrant.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter and lemon sugar together until light and creamy. 

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the yoghurt, lemon juice and vanilla.  Add the flour mixture and beat the batter on low until the flour is just incorporated.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold the mixture to ensure that all of the flour is combined. Remove 1/2 cup of the batter and drop tablespoons of  it into the bottom of the bundt pan.

Fold the chopped strawberries through the remaining batter until the strawberries are evenly distributed, then scrape the batter into the bundt pan.  Tap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles.  

Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 70 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through when tested with a skewer.  Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then carefully turn it out of the pan onto the wire rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze, mash the 40g of strawberries with a fork, then whisk in the icing sugar and lemon juice to form a pouring consistency (adjust the icing with icing sugar or lemon juice if too thin or too thick). Pour the glaze evenly over the top of the cooled cake.  

Once the glaze has set, slice and serve the cake.