Tag Archives: cake

thursday night treat

TGIAF – Thank God It’s Almost Friday.

I’ve been very busy at work this week and I’m glad I have a relaxing evening ahead of me before heading back to work tomorrow. In my mind, Friday lunchtime is the start of the weekend and therefore Thursday night it’s time to start thinking about enjoying myself.

To start the night I spent a relaxing half hour sitting on the balcony perusing my latest book purchase from Paumes – Patisseries of Paris. Any moment now my dessert craving will kick in – tonight I am going to make a nice big bowl of vanilla ice cream and lace it with shaved Green & Blacks orange chocolate and some ginger in stem syrup. I love that I never need to share this dessert – S doesn’t quite understand my ginger and dark chocolate obsession.

What are you planning to enjoy as a sweet treat tonight? Even if you haven’t thought of something yet I am sure these pictures from my new book purchase will get you in the mood. There are pastries, macarons and tarts from Stohrer, Pierre Herme, Laduree, Angelina’s and more….

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melbourne cup day and a lemon & passionfruit cake

Melbourne Cup Day today, woohoo! For anybody who doesn’t know what I’m talking about, Melbourne Cup Day is the main race day of the Spring Racing Carnival. Horses come from all over the world as there is big money to win, and people get dressed in suits, cocktail dresses and hats to celebrate ( and to lose a lot of money on bets). Each day of the racing carnival is slightly different but I love Cup Day as it is a public holiday so it is a great chance to catch up with friends and have a bit of a party.

I think the bottles of champagne below would be perfect for a day like today – so many gorgeous colours and patterns. Alas, it would look a little strange if I brought one bottle of champagne decorated as such to my friend’s place today but perhaps I can do it the next time I have an afternoon to play with washi tape before a party at home.

washi tape champagne

Today gentlemen at the track will be wearing yellow roses on their lapels so I decided to make a lemon cake with passionfruit icing to celebrate and add a touch of yellow to the event I am attending. Hopefully it tastes good as I decided to take a risk and bring a cake I have never made before. Hope you all have a lovely day! 

Champagne Image Credit: Merci Tape @ Scout-Holiday

orange yoghurt and polenta cake

Last  night I tried a new recipe from Sophie Dahl’s book “Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights”. I’ve made lots of recipes from this book before – all very simple and mostly healthy. The book is split into recipes suitable for each season and then split again into breakfast, lunch and supper. The most exciting looking bit of the book though is the puddings chapter tucked into the back.

With the change in seasons, the orange tree in the backyard is down to the last few pieces of fruit and I decided that the Orange Yoghurt and Polenta cake would be the perfect way to enjoy the last few oranges. It’s also quite stress free and is simple to whip up using a wooden spoon or whisk – you don’t even need to pull the stand mixer out.

The cake tasted great and had a lovely texture. The little flecks of almond and polenta made it different to a standard flour based cake, but it was still quite light and fluffy. It would be perfect to share this with friends for afternoon tea although if I was making something for a dinner party I would probably choose something a little richer.

(recipe adapted from Sophie Dahl’s Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights)

Ingredients:

  • 100 g butter, softened
  • 1 C caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 C self raising flour
  • 3/4 C polenta
  • 1/2 C ground almonds
  • 1/3 C plain yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp orange juice
  • finely grated zest of 2 oranges

Grease and line the base of a 23cm cake tin and preheat the oven to 160C.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Slowly whisk in the eggs, followed by the flour. Stir in the polenta, almonds, yoghurt, honey and the orange juice and zest.

Pour into the cake tin and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. When the timer buzzes, check if the cake is ready by inserting a skewer into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready, otherwise cook for a few extra minutes.

Let the cake cool on a wire rack. Mix up a quick orange drizzle icing by mixing some orange juice with icing sugar and a little bit of warm water. Slice and enjoy with a cup of earl grey tea.

jamie oliver’s sticky double ginger cake

After a few days of warm spring weather in Melbourne, a storm hit the city yesterday afternoon, bringing lots of cooling rain. It was perfect cake baking weather in my opinion. I couldn’t decide what kind of cake I wanted to make so I flicked through a stack of food magazines. It wasn’t too long before the combination of ginger and golden syrup caught my eye and when I remembered I had a jar of stem ginger in syrup waiting to be opened I decided it was the winner. I found the sticky double ginger cake recipe in Jamie Oliver’s 2009-2010 magazine yearbook (a bargain at $15 for almost 400 recipes), but further searching showed me it was also available online. This cake is really easy to bake, smells amazing and tastes great. I bet it would have looked really good too, but I was too impatient and decided to take it out of the tin before it had even slightly cooled, so the cake formed a few huge cracks and fell apart. My cake didn’t actually sink though, which is what most people on the internet reported as their problem with this recipe.

The cake collapse wasn’t a total disaster, it just meant I spooned my cake into some bowls and ate it like it was a pudding while it was still warm. As a pudding it would have tasted great with some vanilla ice cream, but I didn’t have any at hand – I wasn’t exactly expecting to eat it pudding style. I thought about making a quick syrup to drizzle over it but I took a quick reality check at the amount of sugar already in the cake and thought it was best to avoid doing that!

For all the ingredient quantities and cooking directions, check out the recipe on Jamie’s site but I promise it is seriously easy. You basically throw all the ingredients in either a stand mixer or food processor and bring it all together, and then you pour it into a pan, sprinkle a little sugar on the top and pop it in the oven. The most difficult step is probably just bashing the stem ginger into a puree. Actually, come to think of it, the most difficult part is avoiding the temptation to take the cake out of the tin too early!

sydney’s food

Don’t worry we didn’t just drink in Sydney, we also ate – ALOT! I love living in Melbourne (a true “foodie” city) but it was good to see and taste what Sydney had on offer. Here are my favourite spots from the weekend…

Stop 1 – Bills (Crown Street Surry Hills)

Bills is owned by the loveable home taught cook Bill Granger and yes, it kills me that the name of his store is missing an apostrophe. Bill is famous around the world for his breakfasts and his ability to create simple meals that taste great. I’ve made a few of his recipes before and they were a huge success, so we thought we would head to one of his restaurants to see what it was like.

The store has a sleek industrial look – there is light bouncing off the white surfaces, metal accents, and just enough wood to warm the look up. We sat nestled in the corner drinking café lattes while perusing the menu.

I always find it difficult to resist the idea of dessert for breakfast so I chose ricotta hotcakes (do they always call pancakes this in Sydney?) with banana, maple syrup and honeycomb butter. The pancakes were light and fluffy, and the ricotta provided just enough of a tart taste to offset the fact that I was drenching them in syrup. S chose the corn fritters with avocado salsa, spinach, roast tomato and bacon. I stole some of his breakfast which was also really yummy, however, I’ve made the fritters and salsa from one of Bill’s books before and we both decided that my version was even better than the restaurant version – yay!

Stop 2 – Bourke Street Bakery (Bourke Street Surry Hills)

I first heard of this bakery when I saw its book in store (my mum owns the book and although we have never made anything from it, I do look longingly at the bread, tarts and muffins within on occasion) and I had decided it was a must visit.

The bakery had rustic looking bread on old wooden shelves and a steady crowd of regulars walking through the door for the favourite treat. You could tell how dedicated this crowd was – all the outdoor seats were full, even though it was a struggle to hear anything with a jackhammer tearing the road up only a couple of metres away.

We chose a few items to take away and eat in a quieter street – they were definitely worth the wait. We munched our way through a pear and rhubarb muffin (it was almost as light as a cupcake), a tart filled with fresh raspberries and silky chocolate mousse and a golden ginger brulee tart with jewel like pistachios scattered on the top. I loved the ginger tart and I think it would have worked perfectly with a big cup of chai latte.

Stop 3 – Cafe Viva (Darling Street Balmain)

Burritos and a mojito for brunch? I know it sounds a bit odd, but it was late morning, the sun was beating down and the mojito didn’t actually have any alcohol in it. We stumbled across a little café and we were really glad to grab a seat in the warm shade outdoors.

S had a fairly traditional breakfast – poached eggs and baked beans on toast with a banana smoothie – but I loved the idea of having something typically unbreakfasty. I ordered a vegetarian breakfast burrito, which was filled with black beans and cheese and came with diced tomato, red onion, guacamole and jalapenos to sprinkle all over the top. I washed it all down with a huge glass of lime, mint and sweet icy water. My breakfast filled me right up and made me feel really fresh and zingy!

Stop 4 – Adriano Zumbo Patisserie (Darling Street Balmain)

I was expecting a giant queue out the door so I was pleasantly surprised to see that the queue was contained within the store. The window display was full of standard (and not so standard) viennoiserie, but the counters within the store were heaving with brightly coloured and oddly shaped tarts, cakes and macarons. As the queue creeped through the store I decided on my order -and was shocked when a woman actually pushed in front of me and ordered when it was obvious I was before her. Luckily I had a huge box of sugar to make me feel better!

S and I wandered down to the local park to get started on our box of goodies but it took us a whole day of sugar highs and lows to work our way through it. The cakes and tarts were definitely the highlight but we also bought a pepito (a pastry filled with chocolate and cinnamon) and two macarons (passionfruit yoghurt and rice pudding) which were scrumptious!

The most creative cake was the cherry can of cola (“Escape from a Colombia Rainforest”) – a chocolate mousse covered with tangy cherry dust. When we opened the chocolate “ringpull” we discovered it was filled with a gooey cherry cola jam.

‘Ed Rocks the Cradle’ was another crazy dessert that somehow didn’t collapse (I have no idea how!). It was a chocolate biscuit base filled with a chocolate/coffee mousse and topped with caramel and Italian meringue.

‘Charlie Brown’ looked a bit plainer but was the best tasting dessert – a tart base filled with layers of caramelised nuts and chocolate mousse, it was topped with a thin sheet of peanut brittle. I adore peanuts and chocolates together and the caramelised sugar managed to further improve it.

After eating so much food we were definitely glad we walked around the city instead of catching a bus or train!

(image credits where not mine: bills restaurant; bill granger’s food; bourke street bakery cookbook)

nigel slater’s apple and courgette cake

I just finished baking  the most delicious apple and courgette cake (a courgette is a zucchini for those looking a bit puzzled). It’s from Nigel Slater’s latest book Tender Volume II, a huge book filled with amazing looking recipes, gorgeous typography and stunning photography. It is full of recipes inspired from Slater’s own “kitchen garden” which is really an entire backyard that has been segregrated with the use of box hedges to create areas for  huge array of fruit and vegetables.  I’m super jealous. I hope to post a proper review of this book (and Tender Volume I which features vegetables) at a later date but for now I am simply going to enjoy my cake with a cup of tea.