Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Lamington Cake for Australia Day

It is Australia Day today, and a public holiday Australia-wide. It is a divisive day on the calendar, which many of you will be aware of.

I am marking the day with a Lamington Cake made from a quarter of this recipe, baked in a 6” tin.

 I used a half recipe for the icing and the cream, because I have found that a quarter recipe is not enough for a quarter sized cake.

I used cherry and black pepper jam in the filling - it waa great to have that pepper hit against  the sweetness.

To make this cake (full size), you will need:

250g butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 eggs

3 teaspoons vanilla

2 1/2 cups plain flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2/3 cups milk


2 cups icing sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup boiling water

20g butter

1 cup dessicated coconut


2-3 tablespoons raspberry jam

300ml cream, whipped with 1 tablespoon icing sugar

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease and line 2 x 20cm cake tins.

Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer. Beat in the eggs, one by one, then the vanilla.

Sift the flour and baking powder together, and fold into the batter alternately with the milk.

Divide the batter evenly between the 2 tins and bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until cooked through. Cool in the tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes before unmoulding and cooling completely.  Chill the cooled cakes in the refrigerator until ready to ice.

For the icing, sift the cocoa and icing sugar together into a bowl and put the butter in a well in the middle of it. Pour in the boiling water  and mix until smooth.

Ice the sides of one cake and the top and sides of the other. Sprinkle all over the icing with coconut. Allow the icing to set.

Spread the bottom cake (just iced on the sides) with the jam, then spread the cream over the top. Put the other cake on top of the cream.

Serve and enjoy.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Nigella’s Basque Burnt Cheesecake with Licorice Syrup

Nigella Lawson’s latest TV series, Cook, Eat, Repeat, is currently gracing our screens on Sunday nights.  I have long been a fan of Nigella, and I enjoy watching her shows even when the recipes are not to my taste.

One of the most recent recipes from  Cook, Eat, Repeat is for a Basque Burnt Cheesecake with Licorice Sauce. It was not the cheesecake which caused angst among some viewers, but the fact that Nigella doused it in licorice sauce.

Nigella has previously let her love of licorice be known, so it came as no surprise to me that she has a licorice box. The Sardinian licorice pellets from this box were used to make the licorice  sauce for the cheesecake.

 Now I adore cheesecake and licorice, so this combination was fine with me. However, some viewers were up in arms because, not being lovers of licorice, they were upset that Nigella had sullied the cheesecake with the licorice sauce.

I can say that I loved this combination of cheesecake and lucorice. I made a quarter of the recipe in a 6” cake tin. My cheesecake refused to look “burnt” long after it ceased to be jiggly in the middle, so I gave up. It still tastes good, although being far from the burnished chestnut colour referred to by Nigella.

For the sauce, I was not in possession of Sardinian licorice pellets, nor was I going to pay $15 to buy them in Australia. Instead, i took Nigella’s proportions (halved) of sugar and water, added half a teaspoon of licorice powder that I already had from making Nigella’s famed licorice and blackcurrant cake, and a single knob of Darrell Lea soft eating licorice, and boiled that up for 20 minutes or so. I then strained out the licorice knob (which did not dissolve), and added a couple of drops of black food colouring for effect. And hey, it tasted good, even though not the same as Nigella’s sauce.

If you are a licorice lover, do yourself a favour and make this lovely cheesecake and the accompanying licorice sauce. It’s delicious!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

TWD - Friendship Cookies

 This week’s Tuesday with Dorie (Dorie’s Cookies) recipe is Friendship Cookies - actually rugelach. Dorie renamed them as she is never quote sure how to pronounce the name.

I have made rugelach a number of times while baking through Dorie’s books, and my conclusion is that I suck at making these. In fact, this batch of rugelach is my ugliest yet.

However, despite their appearance, these cookies are delicious - a cream cheese dough encasing fruit, nuts and chocolate, with a layer of jam to stick the filling on. How can you go wrong!

I used marmalade and cranberries with pecan nuts and chocolate in the filling.

Like a Picnic chocolate bar, these cookies are “deliciously ugly”.

To see what everyone else made this week and their verdict, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Salted Pineapple and Brown Sugar Cake

 Be like a pineapple. Stand tall, wear a crown, and be sweet on the inside. Katherine Gaskin

It is going to be a scorching summer day today, our hottest in 12 months. It is a good day to stay in the shade relaxing with a long tall icy drink.

Summer always makes me think of tropical and stone fruits, and among the royalty of summer fruit is the pineapple, with its spiny crown and sweet, golden, juicy insides.

Before the heat of the day set in yesterday, I baked some beautiful pineapple adorned mini cakes to Helen Goh’s recipe for Salted Pineapple and Brown Sugar Cake.

Instead of making one big loaf cake, I halved the recipe and made 4 mini loaves. Instead of using ground fennel seeds, I used ground licorice powder. I also subbed Greek yoghurt for sour cream.

These cakes turned out perfectly golden and lovely:

To make these cakes, you will need:


10g butter, softened

40g brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground licorice powder

Pinch of salt

1 medium pineapple


90g plain flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking sofa

50g butter

40g sugar

20g brown sugar

Zest of 1/2 orange

1 egg

75g sour cream or Greek yoghurt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Take an 8 hole mini loaf tin, and line 4 holes with baking paper. Smear butter over the base and sides of the holes that are lined.

Preheat your oven to 195 degrees Celsius.

Mix the brown sugar, licorice powder and salt for the topping on a plate.

Remove the top and bottom from the pineapple, peel it and slice it  in half vertically. Cut the eyes out of the pineapple with a paring knife.

Slice one half of the pineapple into 2cm thick slices, and cut out the core from each piece.

Ensure that when each piece of pineapple is placed standing up into the hole of the loaf tin (core side facing up), it does not protrude above the edge of the hole - trim if necessary.

Roll 4 pieces of pineapple in the sugar mixture and place core side up, standing up, in the middle of each buttered loaf tin hole.

Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda together into a small bowl.

Place the butter, sugars and orange zest into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until light and creamy. Add the egg and beat to incorporate. Alternately beat in the flour mixture and sour cream or yoghurt in two batches. Beat in the vanilla.

Spoon the mixture carefully on each side of the pineapple into each of the four mini loaf tin holes.

Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or until cooked through.  Cool the cakes on a rack in the tin for 10 minutes before unmoulding and allowing to cool completely.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

TWD - Chocolate-Cranberry and Almond Cookies

 Welcome to the first Tuesday with Dorie (Dorie’s Cookies) for 2021. Today’s recipe is Chocolate-Cranberry and Almond Cookies.

These cookies are made using Dorie’s Good for Almost Anything Chocolate Cookie Dough, into which plumped up cranberries are mixed. Once cut out, the cookies are then topped with flaked almonds rolled in egg white.

These cookies are quite good. I may have rolled mine a bit more thinly than I was supposed to, but they are still good. The tartness and juiciness of the cranberries really make these cookies.

To see what everyone else made this week and their views on it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Helen Goh's Pear Cake with Rye and Ginger

Happy New Year one and all!  

I have been delving through my draft posts and found this magnificent Helen Goh recipe from Good Weekend for Pear Cake with Rye and Ginger.  It looks so good that I think it deserves to see the light of day.

The highlight flavours of this cake are treacle and stem ginger.  I just happened to have a jar of stem ginger that I had bought on speck from the South Melbourne Market, so this cake was begging for mew to make it.

Just look how moist and lush this cake is inside: 

It is a perfect winter cake, though I would be happy to eat it all year round (including now, in Australia's summer).

To make this cake, you will need:

160g butter, cubed
220g brown sugar
150g black treacle
100g ginger syrup drained from a jar of stem ginger
200ml milk
60ml vegetable oil
2 eggs
100g stem ginger, chopped
150g dark rye flour
100g plain flour
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
3 ripe pears, peeled  and cored; chop half of the pears into 1/2 cm cubes and the rest into thin slices to decorate the top of the cake

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius and grease and line a 23cm cake tin.

Put the butter, ginger syrup treacle and brown sugar into a medium saucepan over low heat and stir until the butter and sugar have melted and the ingredients are well combined.  Remove the pan from the heat.
Whisk in the milk and oil, and then the eggs.  Fold in the stem ginger and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the flours, bicarbonate of soda and spices, then pour over the wet ingredients and combine with a rubber spatula.  Fold through the cubed pears.

Scrape the batter into the prepared cake tin and arrange the sliced pears in a pattern on top of the cake.   Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 60-80 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool on the rack in the tin for around 15 minutes before unmoulding it from the tin and allowing it to cool completely before serving.