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pumpkin and orange spice cake

1 Jul 2024


I borrowed Philip Khoury's new book, A New Way to Bake, from my local library. While I have done a great deal of gluten free baking the last few years, plant based baking is a bit of a mystery to me. I knew Phil had designed the book to be made with easy to access ingredients. I've pored through the recipes and discovered most recipes rely on plant based milks, in particular soy milk which I loathe, but the notes suggested I could just use water.


I went to Dungog for the Kings Birthday weekend and came home with a pumpkin from my brother, Farmer Andrew's garden. I've made a batch of oven roasted pumpkin soup but I still have half the pumpkin left, so the first recipe I made from the book was this pumpkin spice cake. I baked the cake in a bundt tin rather than a loaf tin and decorated the cake with a few pepitas and some candied orange rind made with the remainder of the orange. If you make the candied peel, you'll need to make it ahead of time.




Here's the recipe for you, which you can see Phil make here, which makes a small bundt or loaf tin. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon although most of the ingredients in this recipe are by weight. 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. 


Pumpkin and orange spice cake
Cake
150g pumpkin, peeled and deseeded 
60g brown sugar  
80g caster sugar
40g extra virgin olive oil 
1 tsp grated orange rind 
112g plant-based milk or water, at room temperature 
1 tsp apple cider vinegar  
150g plain flour (gluten-free plain flour will also work) 
1 tsp baking powder 
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp ground cinnamon 
pinch ground nutmeg 
½ tsp ground ginger  
¼ tsp ground cloves 
pinch sea salt flakes
 
Bundt cake icing 
100g icing sugar, sifted
1-2 tbs orange juice 
½ tsp grated orange rind

Loaf cake icing
165g icing sugar
45g orange juice
¼ orange, grated

To decorate
1-2 tbs pepitas or pumpkin seeds
candied orange rind (optional)

Candied orange rind
½ orange, rind removed and finely sliced
40g water
40g caster sugar
Additional caster sugar for coating

Method
Grease and flour a small bundt tin or line a small 600g loaf tin with baking paper and set to one side. 

Cut the pumpkin into 3 cm chunks, add the chunks to a saucepan large enough to just cover them with water and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until a sharp knife meets no resistance when you poke a piece of the pumpkin. Strain the pumpkin, discarding the water. Leave the pumpkin to chill for 30 minutes in the fridge until it has cooled to room temperature. (I used 150g of oven roasted pumpkin).


Preheat the oven to 180°C fan. (I baked the cake at 190°C conventional). Add the cooled pumpkin, sugars, the oil, orange rind, milk and vinegar to a large bowl and blend them with an immersion blender until smooth. You can also do this step in a blender or a food processor.

Add the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda, spices and salt to another large bowl and mix with a whisk. Add the blended ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk until combined. 

Pour the batter into the greased bundt or lined loaf tin and place in the preheated oven on the centre rack. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before inverting the cake and removing from the tin.  If baked in a loaf tin, using the baking paper remove the loaf cake from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack with a rimmed baking sheet underneath.



Bundt cake icing
Combine the icing sugar and grated rind in a small bowl. Add enough orange juice to create a thick but pourable icing. Drizzle over the cake still on the cooling rack or placed on a piece of greaseproof paper. Leave for 30 minutes to set a little before decorating with the pepitas and the candied orange rind, if using.




Loaf cake icing
If making the loaf cake, make a thinner icing. Drizzle over the cake still on the cooling rack or you can use a pastry brush to brush the glaze over the cake. Leave for 30 minutes to set a little before decorating with the pepitas and the candied orange rind, if using.



Candied orange rind
Place the orange rind in a small bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 30 seconds before draining. In a small saucepan combine the water and sugar and bring to the boil. Add the orange rind and lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 10 minutes before removing the pan from the heat and leaving the rind to cool in the syrup. When cool pour the mixture through a fine sieve to drain. Remove the peel and toss through some caster sugar. Place on baking paper and allow to set before storing in an airtight container.



The cake will keep for up to 5 days at room temperature in an airtight container.


I shared the cake with my workmates and didn't tell them it was plant based until after the cake was eaten. The cake disappeared in record time and it was declared delicious. Now I can't wait to bake another recipe from Phil's book.

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

Bye for now,

Jillian
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lemonopita

30 Jun 2024




A few years ago I stayed on the lovely island of Milos in the village of Plaka. I visited the local pastry shop most days, Paleos Pastry, and one day, on their recommendation I came home with a piece of orange cake, which in retrospect, I think may have Portokalopita. It was drenched with syrup, intensely orange flavoured, but I found it to be very, very sweet.


I've never made Portokalopita before but a few years ago I bookmarked a recipe and it was high on my list of things to make. Portokalopita is made with filo pastry not flour and after it comes out of the oven, it's doused with cold citrus flavoured syrup. thought if I made a lemon flavoured version, Lemonopita, it might not be so sweet. I had half a packet of filo left over from a savoury pie I made a few weeks ago and as I always have lemons, olive oil and yoghurt on hand I decided to make a lemon version. Always one to gild the lily I candied a few lemon slices to decorate the cake once it had cooled down.


Here's the recipe for you, adapted from here, which makes a 17cm round or square cake. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon although most of the ingredients in this recipe are weighed. 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. 


Lemonopita
Ingredients
190g fresh filo pastry
½ cup (110g) caster sugar
2 eggs
3 tsp finely grated lemon zest, from 1 medium lemon 
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extraxt
1/2 cup (125ml) extra virgin olive oil
125g Greek yoghurt
1 tsp baking powder

Lemon syrup
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
150g granulated sugar
¾ cup water
¼ cup lemon juice
the peel of one lemon

To serve
candied lemon slices (optional)
1 cup (250 mls) cream, softly whipped 

Method
Preheat the oven to 100°C, conventional. Lay out the pastry and loosely scrunch up each sheet and place bunched next to each other on a baking tray. Dry in the oven for 1 hour. Carefully turn over the sheets and bake for a further 20 minutes or until completely dry. Break the shards of crisp pastry into small pieces into a bowl and set aside. You can also leave the pastry shards to dry out on the bench top.


Place the sugar and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whisk for 7-9 minutes until pale and doubled in size. Add the zest, vanilla, olive oil, yoghurt and baking powder, and whisk until well combined. Fold through the broken pastry until well combined then rest the mixture for 30 minutes, stirring every so often to prevent the pastry from clumping. 



To prepare the syrup, place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan over high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes or until thickened slightly. Pass through a seive, then set aside to cool completely.
 
Preheat the oven to 180°C conventional. Lightly grease the base and side of a 17cm round springform cake pan and line the base with baking paper. Place the tin onto a large piece of foil and scrunch the foil around the tin to create a seal. Spoon mixture into the prepared pan. Bake on the centre rack of the preheated  oven for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.


Remove the cake from the oven. Pierce holes into the cake with a skewer and pour over half the syrup. Set aside for 1 hour to absorb. Serve the cake with cream, the remaining syrup and a few candied lemon slice if desired.


I made this cake in stages. I dried out the filo sheets last weekend and stored them in an airtight container. I also made the lemon syrup in advance which I kept in the fridge until I was ready to make the cake. The cake came together very easily and topped with lemon syrup and cream, it was a delight to eat as well. It's 
cold, grey and wet in Sydney and despite that, I almost felt transported back to summer in Milos. One can dream

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

Bye for now,

Jillian

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Cinnamon tea cake topped with pears and plums

17 Jun 2024


As we're firmly in winter here in Sydney, think driving rain and frosty mornings, I'm hungry all the time. There is nothing like a slice of cake and a cup of tea when the hangries strike.



When I saw this Helen Goh recipe I knew I had to make it but I decided to change it up just a little. I had a few plums stashed in my freezer but not enough to cover the cake so I went for a pear/plum combination for the topping then browned the butter, because everything tastes better with browned butter.



Here's the recipe for you, adapted from here 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. If you'd like to make a larger cake, refer to the original recipe.


Cinnamon tea cake topped with pears and plums
Ingredients
90g unsalted butter
135g caster sugar
finely grated rind of 1 large lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
70g sunflower (or other flavourless) oil
75ml milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
75g almond meal 
120g plain flour
1¼ tsp baking powder
pinch fine sea salt
freshly whipped cream, to serve

Topping
1 medium ripe pear, peeled and halved
1 plum, halved, pitted then thinly sliced
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp caster sugar

Method
Put the butter into a small pan and cook over a low heat until the butter becomes brown and smells nutty. Immediately transfer the browned butter from the pan to a heatproof bowl then set aside to cool until tepid. You should have 75g of butter. If you don’t, then add a little cold water until it weighs 75g. 

Preheat the oven to 190°C conventional and line the base and sides of a
17cm cake tin (preferably with removable base) with baking paper.


Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl and rub together firmly between your thumb and fingers until the sugar is very fragrant and tinged yellow. Add the eggs and whisk together until combined, then add the oil. Whisk until smooth, then add the milk and vanilla, whisking until combined. Add the almond meal and sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the mix. Stir gently with the whisk until just incorporated into the batter, then dribble in the butter around the perimeter of the bowl, stirring gently. Scrape the batter into the lined cake tin.


Prepare the topping

Remove the core and stem from the pear with a small metal spoon or paring knife, then slice the pear halves into 0.5cm pieces, keeping them together. Now fan out the pieces so that they’re slightly overlapping and, using a small spatula, lift portions of the overlapping pear slices and place them gently on top of the cake batter. Do the same with the plum slices and continue until all the slices have been used and the top of the cake is entirely covered. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the fruit.


Place the cake in a preheated oven and bake for 60-70 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before removing it from the tin. Serve with freshly whipped cream.


This is a very lovely cake and as it's a melt and mix number, is very easy to make as well. I can see I'll be making any number of fruit topped versions of this cake in my future.

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

Bye for now,

Jillian
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lemon moon cake

12 Jun 2024


Whilst looking through a back copy of Delicious Magazine I spied a Scandinavian baking feature. Everything looked delicious but w
hen I saw a photo of the Lemon Moon Cake I knew I had to make it.



I looked online and found many recipes for Lemon Moon Cake and in the end cobbled together two recipes to come up with a recipe that I think captured the lemony essence of the cake. Marzipan is a key ingredient in this cake, but it's hard to find in Sydney, so instead I deconstructed the marzipan into its constituent elements (almond meal, sugar and water or in this case lemon juice) so you won't need to track it down. 

Here's the recipe for you, adapted from here and here 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. If you'd like to make a larger cake, refer to the original recipe.


Lemon Moon Cake
115g caster sugar
Grated rind of one lemon
100g room temperature unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
100g plain flour
¾ tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
55g almond meal
50g lemon marmalade (pureed)
1-2 tsp lemon juice, if needed

Icing
100g icing sugar, sifted
½ tsp vanilla paste
½ lemon, juiced

To decorate
Shredded zest of ½ lemon (I used some candied lemon rind)
Toasted chopped blanched almonds

Method
Grease, flour and line the base of a 17cm diameter spring-form pan with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 170°C, conventional.

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the caster sugar with the lemon zest and rub together with your fingers until the sugar is fragrant. Add the butter and vanilla and using the paddle, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, ensuring you incorporate fully between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary.



Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a small bowl and stir through the almond meal. Stir the flour mixture into the cake mixture and fold with a spatula until combined. Add the pureed lemon marmalade and if needed, a tsp or so of lemon juice.


Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, level the top of the cake and bake on the centre rack at 
170°C, conventional for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If the top of the cake is browning too quickly, cover the top of the cake with some foil. Let the cake cool in the tin for ten minutes before turning the cake out onto a wire rack. Leave to cool completely before decorating.


Icing
Place the icing sugar in a bowl. Add the vanilla paste and sufficient lemon juice until you have a mixture with the consistency of runny honey. If it's a bit thick add a little boiling water. Spoon the icing over the top of the cake and allow to set before decorating the top of the cake with the chopped almonds and the lemon zest.


The cake proved to be a pretty popular one and was devoured by my workmates in record time.

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

Bye for now,

Jillian


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swedish chocolate cinnamon buns

4 Jun 2024


I don't know what came over me but with incessant rain last Saturday and 
inspired by a recipe in an old Delicious magazine, I suddenly decided that I needed to make a batch of chocolate cinnamon buns. They're supposed to be Swedish chocolate cardamom buns, but I do not like cardamom at all, so all traces of cardamom were removed from the recipe.

As I'm more than happy with my own sweet bun recipe, I used the filling recipe and the glaze from the magazine article then set to work. Consistency of shaping the buns is not my forte and I will never be employed in a Swedish bakery but wonky as they are, they were delicious.



Here's the recipe for you, inspired from herewhich makes 9 buns. 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.


Swedish chocolate cinnamon buns – makes 9
Dough
1¼ tsp yeast
150 mls lukewarm milk
30g brown sugar
1 room temperature egg 
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (300g) plain flour 
½ tsp salt
60g room temperature unsalted butter, cut into small piece

To coat
1-2 tbs cream or melted butter

Filling
85g unsalted butter, softened
85g brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
17g Dutch process cocoa
Pinch salt 

Glaze
70g (1/3 cup) brown sugar
40 mls (2 tbs) water
Pearl sugar, (from specialty stores, optional), to sprinkle

Dough
Grease a large plastic container and set to one side. Combine the yeast, milk and brown sugar in a large liquid measuring cup and rest for 5 minutes or until foamy then stir in the egg and the vanilla. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour and salt and stir on low to combine. Add the egg mixture and mix on low to combine. With the mixer on low, add the butter, one piece at a time. When all the butter has been incorporated (about 10 minutes) increase the speed to medium and beat the butter into the dough, until all the little butter pieces are incorporated, and the dough comes away from the side of the bowl. 

Transfer the dough to the prepared container. Cover the container with a lid or with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Place your fingers or a spatula underneath the dough and gently pull the dough up and fold it back over itself. Turn the container and repeat this folding again. Continue 6 to 8 more times, until all the dough has been folded over on itself. Re-cover the container and let rise for 30 minutes. Repeat this series of folding 3 more times, for a rise time of 2 hours and a total of 4 foldings. Replace the lid or tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 72 hours.

Filling
Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.


Shape the dough
Flour a work surface and knead the dough 10 to 12 times to activate the gluten. Shape the dough into a ball, cover the top lightly with flour, and cover with a tea towel and let come to room temperature. 


Grease and line a 26cm pan with baking paper and set to one side. Roll the dough out to a 30cm x 40 cm rectangle on a lightly floured bench. Spread chocolate filling over the dough, then fold in half to form a 15cm x 40cm rectangle. Gently roll the dough out to a 20cm x 40cm rectangle (this will help enclose the filling). Cut into 9 strips. Gently twist the strip, then wrap the dough around itself into a knot, tucking the ends underneath. Place on prepared trays and repeat with remaining dough. Brush each bun with some cream or melted butter, then cover the buns loosely with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for an hour or until risen by half.


Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C, conventional. Once the buns have risen, remove the plastic wrap and bake for 20-25 minutes, swapping the trays around halfway, until golden and cooked through.


The glaze
While the buns are baking, place the brown sugar and the water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly syrupy. Brush over the warm buns, and sprinkle with pearl sugar, if using. Place the buns on a cooling rack and allow to cool a little before serving. The buns are best served on the day they're baked but freeze well.



I shared these with the neighbours, and they went down a treat. 

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

Bye for now,

Jillian


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walnut coffee cake

30 May 2024


I have a confession to make, I've never had a slice of walnut coffee cake before, mainly because I do not like the flavour of coffee. However when I saw a photo of Benjamina Ebuehi's walnut coffee cake from her new book, I'll Bring Dessert, it looked so nice I decided to give it a go.  


Rather than a single cake, I decided to make a layer cake which was sandwiched and topped with my new favourite fluffy cream cheese icing.


Here's the recipe for you, adapted from 
here which makes a 17cm layer 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. If you'd like to make a larger cake, refer to the original recipe.


Walnut Coffee Cake 
Ingredients
75g walnuts
2 eggs
150g light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
125ml (110g) vegetable oil 
60ml brewed coffee, coooled
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch fine sea salt
45g plain yoghurt

Coffee Cream Cheese Icing
1 tsp espresso powder, dissolved in 2 tsp boiling water
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g cream cheese, softened
125g unsalted butter, softened
40g dried milk powder
Pinch salt
125g icing sugar

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C, conventional (160°C fan). Grease and flour two 17cm round cake pans and line the bases with baking paper.

Add the walnuts to a baking tray and cook for 7-8 minutes until toasty. Let the walnuts cool and set a few aside, 
about 25g, to top the cake. Add the rest (50g) to a food processor and blitz until you have a coarse texture. You don’t want a fine powder here.

Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil to a bowl and whisk briefly to combine. Stir in the coffee. Add the flour and walnuts, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt and fold gently to combine.



Stir in the yoghurt and pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes until the cakes are deeply golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cut around the edges of the cakes and let the cakes cool completely before removing from the tins. While the cakes cool, make the icing.

Coffee Cream Cheese Icing
Place the espresso, vanilla, cream cheese, butter, milk powder and salt in the bowl of electric stand mixer. Sift the icing sugar over the top. Beat with the paddle attachment for 10 minutes on speed 4 (below low) until pale, and fluffy. You can use the icing straight away but otherwise it can be stored covered in the fridge until needed. If refrigerated, rewarm in the microwave in 20-second bursts until softened before using.



To finish
Trim the tops of the cakes if peaked. Place one cake on a serving dish and spoon just over 1/3 icing over the first layer. Top with the second layer and spoon the rest of the icing over the top of the cake using the back of a spoon to smooth it out. J
ust before serving, top with the leftover walnuts.



Make ahead
The cake can be made up to 2 days in advance but ice the cake on the day you want to serve.


Despite my concerns, the cake tasted more walnut than coffee and as expected, the mildly coffee flavoured fluffy cream cheese icing was a triumph.



I took the cake into work and shared it with my workmakes, who declared it was some of my best work. High praise indeed.

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

Bye for now,

Jillian



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