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honey cake with caramelised apples

25 Sept 2022


Growing up I loved the honey cake my Grandmother used to make for Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year). She died many years ago and I don't think I've had honey cake since then. This year I had a hankering for some and turned to Honey and Co for the recipe


The type of flour used in the recipe wasn't specified so I used plain flour. The cake when baked had quite a crater, so I remade it using self raising flour. The crater wasn't quite so deep the second time around bu
t it was no big deal because the crater was going to be hidden anyway.

As apple dipped in honey is traditionally served at Rosh Hashana I topped the honey cake with some caramelised apples from an Aran Goyoaga recipe and a few toasted flaked almonds.

Here's the recipe for you, which makes a small loaf. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup, a 20ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20°C.


Honey cake with caramelised apples
Ingredients
75mls boiling water
1 tea bag
175g SR flour
½ tsp bicarb soda
Pinch salt
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
100g caster sugar
170g honey
100ml vegetable oil
1 egg

Caramelised Apples
1 large firm and juicy apple such as a Granny Smith
50g caster sugar
15g unsalted butter
15ml apple cider vinegar
15ml vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
1-2 tbs boiling water, if needed 
 
To serve
1 tbs toasted flaked almonds

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C conventional. Grease and line a small bundt pan with baking paper.

Combine the boiling water and tea bag in a mug and allow to steep for a few minutes before draining the tea bag. Sift the flour, bicarb soda, salt and spices into a small bowl.

Combine the sugar, the honey and the egg in a mixing bowl. Add the oil and stir thoroughly until well combined. Add the flour mixture in thirds alternating with the still warm tea until all ingredients are combined and no lumps remain. 
 
 
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated 180°C conventional oven for 25 minutes before rotating the tin, then bake for a further 20-25 minutes or until the cake feels springy to the touch and a tester inserted into the centre should come out clean.

Let cool 15 minutes before removing from the tin. Slide a knife around the edges to help loosen the cake if necessary and then transfer to a cooling rack while you prepare the apples.

Caramelised apples
Peel, halve and core the apple. Cut each half into slices that are about ¼ inch thick.

Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan and cook until it melts and turns a light amber colour. Carefully stir in the butter, vinegar, vanilla, and spices, as the caramel may splatter.

Add the apple slices and toss to coat with the caramel. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10-15 minutes, turning the apples occasionally. Try not to mush them too much. The apples should be slightly soft and caramel colored. If the caramel thickens too much, add a little boiling water before letting the apples cool in the pan. 
 

To serve, brush 1-2 tbs of the apple caramel over the top of the cake. Top the cake with the caramelized apple slices and then sprinkle over the almond flakes.

 
The honey cake tasted just as I remembered and was a hit with the neighbours. The caramelised apples were simply delicious and I can see I'll be making them again. As for the second cake I made, there is only 1 slice left and I admit to eating at least 3/4 of the loaf. 
 
See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.
 
Bye for now,
 
Jillian

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julia's double ginger cake with lemon cream cheese icing

18 Sept 2022

I love Julia Busuttil Nishimura's recipes because they're simple to make a packed full of flavour. I also love ginger so as soon as I saw a picture of this double ginger cake on Instagram, I knew I had to make it. I have a copy of Julia's new book 'Around the Table' in my bedroom waiting to be wrapped and given to a friend for her birthday. This double ginger cake is adapted from a recipe in the book but not wanting to spoil the book with greasy hands, I found the recipe online.


The cake is oil based so it takes no time to put together and grating the fresh ginger was probably the most time consuming part of preparing the cake. As ginger pairs so well with lemon, I topped the cake with my old faithful cream cheese icing flavoured with lemon rind.



Here’s the recipe for you which makes a 17cm cake. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Julia’s double ginger cake with lemon cream cheese icing - 17cm version
Ingredients
2 eggs
65g raw sugar
100g golden syrup
100ml light olive or vegetable oil
30ml full cream milk
40g fresh ginger, grated
165g self-raising flour
pinch salt
3 tsp ground ginger
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
pinch freshly ground cloves
pinch black pepper

Lemon cream cheese icing

30g unsalted butter, softened
60g full fat cream cheese, room temperature
1½ tsp grated lemon rind
1 cup icing sugar, sifted with a pinch of salt
1 tbs cream or milk
Roughly chopped pistachios, to serve

Method
Preheat the oven to 
180°C, conventional. Grease and flour a 17cm cake tin, then line the base with baking paper. 


Whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl until pale and well incorporated. Pour in the golden syrup, oil, milk and ginger and continue to whisk until smooth. Gently whisk in the remaining dry ingredients until just incorporated. 


Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. A few crumbs on the skewer are fine too. Allow to cool for ten minutes in the tin then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.


Icing
Beat the room temperature butter and cream cheese together with the lemon rind in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until smooth. Add the sugar and continue to whisk on a medium setting until all combined and light, around 3 minutes. If the icing is a little thick then loosen it with a little cream or milk. Spread the icing onto the cooled cake then top with pistachios before serving.



The cake packs a ginger wallop. I shared the cake with my neighbours and it was a big hit. Thanks for the recipe Julia.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,

Jillian
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glazed blood orange olive oil cake

12 Sept 2022


It's spring in Sydney - too early for stone fruit but citrus aplenty in the fruit shop. I just love blood oranges so when I saw some in the fruit shop last week I bought half a dozen. 
I was going to make a blood orange butter cake but at the last minute I decided to make a blood orange olive oil cake. 
 
 
I used Aran Goyoaga's glazed lemon oil cake recipe, swapping blood orange rind for the lemon rind and used blood orange juice in the icing. Aran's lemon olive oil cake is really good so I had high hopes for the blood orange version.
 
 
I already had some oven dried blood orange slices which I used for decoration but you could just top the cake with some orange zest or a few toasted flaked almonds. 

Here's the recipe for you which makes a small loaf cake. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.
 


Glazed Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake – adapted from an Aran Goyoaga recipe

Cake
cup (135g) caster sugar
finely grated rind of 1 blood orange
cup (100g) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
cup (65g) almond meal
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
cup (80g) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
Scant ⅓ cup (75g) whole-milk yoghurt
 
Glaze
15g butter, melted
120g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbs freshly squeezed blood orange juice
1 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
 
To decorate (optional)
Blood orange segments/candied blood orange slices or some grated orange rind
 
Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C, conventional. Grease and line a small loaf pan with baking paper.
 
In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and the orange rind. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl. Stir through the almond meal and set to one side. Add the vanilla and eggs to the sugar mix, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Whisk until the mixture thickens. Whisk in the dry ingredients in thirds (alternating with the yoghurt) and mix until the batter is smooth.
 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the centre rack for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack removing the baking paper. Let the cake cool completely before icing.
 


 
Glaze
In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, icing sugar and enough juice to form a thick but pourable glaze. Put a tray or baking sheet under the wire rack and pour the glaze all over the cake, letting it run over the edges. Wait a few minutes for the glaze to set before decorating with some blood orange segments/candied orange slices or some grated orange rind. The cake will keep at room temperature for 3 days. 
 

 

As expected the cake was absolutely delicious. With a few blood oranges left in the fruit bowl I'll be making that blood orange butter cake very soon.
 
See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.
 
Bye for now,
 
Jillian

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amalfi lemon cake

5 Sept 2022

 

A few weeks ago I saw a video of Jamie Oliver and Gennaro Contaldo making an Amalfi lemon cake. I knew I already had an Amalfi lemon cake recipe bookmarked, so I dug it out and realised the recipes were very similar. I combined the 2 recipes together to come up with this gluten free Amalfi lemon cake.

As the cake is oil based, it doesn't take long to put the cake together. The most time consuming part is cooking the lemon. You're supposed to boil the lemon before pureeing it, but I pierce the lemon a few times before microwaving it for a few minutes which achieves the same effect in way less time. Once the cook has cooled, it's decorated with lashings of whipped cream, some lemon syrup and a few toasted almond flakes.


 

Here's the recipe for which makes an 8 inch/20 cm cake. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60 g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20°C. 
 


Amalfi Lemon Cake - adapted from Delicious magazine 
Ingredients
1 large lemon (preferably seedless)
1 cup (250ml) extra virgin olive oil 

250g almond meal
100g superfine polenta flour, sifted or plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
 
4 eggs
250g caster sugar  

Lemon syrup
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
Juice of 2 lemons 
 
To decorate
300mls cream, whisked to stiff peaks 
2 tbs toasted flaked almonds

Method 
Place lemon in a deep saucepan, cover with cold water and place a small plate on top to keep lemon submerged. Bring to a rapid simmer over medium heat. Cook for 20 minutes or until lemon is just soft, topping up water if needed, or microwave the lemon with 1 tbs water in a covered bowl for 3-4 minutes, then drain and cool completely. Cut into quarters and remove seeds. Place in a blender with oil and whiz until smooth and emulsified. Set aside. 

Preheat the oven to 170°C, conventional. Grease and flour a 20cm-round cake pan and line the base with baking paper. Mix together the almond meal, flour, baking powder and salt. Place eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine, then whisk in lemon puree and the almond meal.
 

Spread into the prepared pan and bake for 55-65 minutes until the top is just firm and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in pan for 1 hour, then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely. 

Lemon syrup
Combine sugar and juice of 1 1/2 lemons in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook for 4-6 minutes until thickened and starting to caramelise. Cool syrup, then mix in remaining juice of 1/2 lemon until combined. Cool completely to room temperature. 
 

To serve 
Top the cake with cream, drizzle with syrup and decorate with a few flaked almonds.
 
 
I made the cake last weekend and took it to a friends place for dessert and it was a roaring success so I made it a second time to share with my neighbours for Father's Day.
 
See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.
 
Bye for now,
 
Jillian 

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Chocolate dipped salted peanut butter cookies

27 Aug 2022


A few years ago I heard that you could make a batch of peanut butter cookies using just peanut butter, eggs and sugar. I found that hard to believe but when Edd Kimber featured that very cookie on the front cover of his new book, Small Batch Bakes, I was intrigued.
 
I tracked down the original Ovenly recipe, made a half batch and tried a plain cookie which was absolutely delicious but decided to dip the rest of the batch in dark chocolate. I used a tablespoon to make small cookies but as I found the cookies very rich I couldn't imagine getting my way through an Ovenly cookie which is 4 times larger!


Here's the recipe for Chocolate dipped salted peanut butter cookies, adapted from an Ovenly recipe, which makes 12-16 small cookies. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup, a 20ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20°C. 
 
Chocolate dipped salted peanut butter cookies
Ingredients
165g light brown sugar
1 egg at room temperature
¼ tsp vanilla extract 
225g smooth peanut butter 
sea salt flakes
75-100g dark chocolate, finely chopped
 
 
Method
Preheat oven to 180°C, conventional. Line a tray with baking paper or a baking mat. Position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. 
 
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and egg until smooth. Mix in the vanilla, then the peanut butter and continue to whisk until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated and no streaks of peanut butter remain. 
 
Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes before scooping the dough into tablespoon size balls. If you use a 20ml tablespoon you should be able to make 12 cookies. If you use a 15ml tablespoon you’ll make 16 cookies. Place the cookies, about 2 inches apart, on the prepared baking tray. Sprinkle the tops with some sea salt flakes. 
 
 
Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking time. The cookies will be golden at the edges when done. Let the cookies cool on the tray for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Reuse the same tray to bake the remaining cookies. Let cool completely before dipping. 
 
 
Line a cooling rack with baking paper. Place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl or mug with an opening large enough to dip the cookies. Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval, until only a few small pieces of chocolate remain. Continue stirring until the chocolate is smooth and completely melted. 
 
Partially dip each cookie into the melted chocolate letting any excess drip back into the bowl, then place on the baking paper lined cooling rack. Sprinkle with a few more salt flakes if desired. Once all of the cookies have been dipped, place them in the refrigerator for a few minutes until the chocolate is set. Once set, store the cookies in an airtight container. 
 
 

These cookies are very easy to make and pack a punch of flavour. I don't know why it took me so long to make them.

 

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,

Jillian

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pistachio and rose shortbreads

22 Aug 2022


I saw a picture of some almond cookies decorated with rose petals and pistachios in 'A Year of Simple Family Food' by Julia Busuttil Nishimura. They looked so pretty they inspired me to make these pistachio and rose shortbreads.
 

I'm quite fond of Mexican wedding cakes, little morsels of nutty shortbread enrobed in icing sugar, usually made with pecans. 
I went to my standby recipe from Caroline Velik, changed the nuts, added a dash of rosewater, rolled the mixture into balls, pinched the decoration idea from Julia and voila, I had a batch of pistachio and rose shortbreads. 
 

The recipe can be made entirely in a food processor. I
f you don't have a food processor then chop the nuts very finely rather than using nut meal as you want the crunch from the nuts. I was a bit hesitant about the rosewater so I erred on the side of caution so you may want to increase the quantity in your shortbreads.
 

Here's the recipe for you which makes 36 shortbread cookies. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60 g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20°C.
 
Rose and pistachio shortbreads – inspired by Julia Busutill Nishimura
Ingredients 
60g toasted natural almonds 
60g raw pistachios 
90g caster sugar 
Pinch salt 
250g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed 
300g plain flour 
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste 
½ tsp rosewater 
125g sifted icing sugar 
Optional - A few slivered pistachios and rose petals for decoration
 
Method 
Put the nuts, sugar and a pinch of fine sea salt in a food processor and whiz until the nuts are ground, but not too fine – it should be about the texture of coarse sand. Add the butter and continue to whiz until the mixture is well combined. Add the flour, rosewater and vanilla seeds/paste and pulse until everything just comes together, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go if needed. The mixture should be soft but not sticky – add a little more flour if necessary. Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes to allow the dough to firm a little. 
 
Preheat oven to 170ºC (conventional) and line 2 trays with baking paper. Roll the mixture into 20g balls then arrange the biscuits on the prepared trays, allowing room for them to spread a little as they cook. 
 
Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until lightly coloured. Remove from oven and rest on the tray for about 10 minutes then roll the shortbreads in icing sugar while still warm. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. 
 

Just before serving, dust the tea cakes with more icing sugar. If you like, you can decorate the top of the biscuits with a few pistachio pieces and some rose petals.


These shortbread are just delicious. The 
shortbread is buttery, heavy on the vanilla, crunchy from the nuts and sweet from the icing sugar. 
 
See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.
 
Bye for now,
 
Jillian
 
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