chocolate raspberry and buttermilk cake

26 Nov 2018

I waited with bated breath for my signed copy of the Flour and Stone cookbook to arrive and it's a lovely thing. The most recent item I baked from the book was this chocolate raspberry and buttermilk cake and you can find the original recipe here.

I've baked a few items from the book and I've found the temperature and baking times given in the book just don't work in my gas oven. The recipes were tested in a fan forced oven and even when I increase my oven temperature by 20°C, everything takes forever to bake. I've had to use my baking knowledge and my sense of smell with the recipes to work out the right time and temperatures. So far so good.

The suggested bake time for this chocolate raspberry and buttermilk cake is 1 hour 15 minutes but as I have to bake my cake at a higher temperature, it was ready after 45 minutes. Just to make sure it was cooked through I left the cake in the turned off oven for a further 15 minutes. When cut it was squidgy and delicious. I've made the cake a second time and this time the cake took about an hour to make.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17cm cake with my adjusted bake time. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, 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.

Chocolate, raspberry and buttermilk cake - adapted from a Nadine Ingram recipe

110 g good-quality dark chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
55 g unsalted butter, cut into large cubes 
2 eggs 
45 g light brown sugar 
35 g almond meal 
15 ml buttermilk
100 g frozen raspberries
1-2 tbs warmed raspberry jam

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a 17 cm cm springform cake tin with baking paper and dust with cocoa.

Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water to melt, stirring occasionally with a spatula until melted and combined. Ensure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl and that the heat under the bowl is gentle so that the chocolate doesn't burn.

Meanwhile, place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed for about 5 minutes until it is thick and fluffy (this is called a sabayon).

Once the chocolate has melted, turn the mixer off and pour the chocolate straight into the bowl with the eggs, then add the almond meal and buttermilk. Return the bowl to the mixer but this time use the lowest speed to gently mix all the ingredients together (as if you were folding it by hand). You will notice the mixture is quite streaky at this point as the foam from the sabayon melds with the chocolate ribbons. After a few turns around the bowl the streaks will start to disappear and you want to stop the whisk just before the last streak disappears. This will ensure a light batter that has not been overworked. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a spatula to scrape all the way to the base of the bowl to ensure any chocolate that has fallen to the bottom is well combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 15 minutes or until the top of the cake has formed a crust. Remove from the oven and cover with the raspberries, gently pressing them into the surface of the cake. Don’t be tempted to scatter the raspberries over the batter before baking as they will just fall to the bottom.

Return the cake to the oven and bake for a further 30 - 45 minutes or until the centre is springy to touch. I left the cake in the switched off oven for a further 15 minutes.  Let the cake cool in the tin for at least 2 hours before you remove it. It can be difficult to cut because it is so sticky but if you heat the blade of the knife with hot water and wipe it dry before slicing you will achieve a nice neat cut. If you like you can glaze the raspberries with some warmed raspberry jam.

Nadine’s notes
It can be hard to judge the readiness of this cake but because it’s flourless the good news is it’s hard to over-bake it! The centre will always remain lovely and gooey, so if you have any doubts just leave it in there. If you do need extra cooking time and the raspberries start to burn you can easily cover the cake with foil for the rest of the baking time. 

I took the cake into work for a birthday morning tea and it proved to be pretty popular. I took my slice of cake home and it was absolutely delicious. Next time I try this recipe, I'll use hazelnut meal and blackberries and see how that works.

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

Bye for now,



pumpkin pie 2018

19 Nov 2018

Growing up in Australia, pumpkin pie really wasn't a thing. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving and pumpkins are available all year round. My parents owned a few American cookbooks so when I was 16 I decided to make a pumpkin pie. I was also making apple strudel and attempting croissants at that age, so I was nothing if not international!

I can't remember whether I pre-cooked the pie shell all those years ago but that's what I do these days.

The pumpkin filling is one I've been using for the past few years. I roast the pumpkin first for maximum flavour before mashing it with a fork. I like a smooth filling so I used to pass it through a sieve but my stick blender does such a good job, that step is now superfluous.

Here’s the recipe for you which makes a 23cm/9 inch pie. 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.

Pumpkin Pie
250g plain flour 
¼ teaspoon salt 
150g cold butter, diced 
75mls cold water 

345g (1¼ cups) pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons maple syrup
250ml can Nestle Reduced Fat Cream or you could use regular cream or sour cream
½ cup brown sugar 
3 eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger

To serve
Double cream/icing sugar for dusting/candied pecans (optional)

To make the pastry, on a flat work surface combine the flour and salt and then incorporate the cold diced butter with your fingers. Rub the butter into the flour until the butter pieces are no larger than the size of peas. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the cold water. Using your hands, mix the water into the flour until dough is formed. Or you can pulse the flour, butter and salt together in a food processor 10 times, before adding a little of the water then whizzing the mixture a few times until the dough just starts to come together. Flatten out the dough a little then wrap the dough in plastic and put in the refrigerator for one hour.

Spray the pie dish with olive oil spray. I used the le Creuset heritage pie dish from Everten. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured sheet of baking paper and roll to a 4 mm-thick disc. Line the base and side of the dish with pastry and trim any excess. Pinch edges to crimp then place in the fridge for another hour to rest. I like to make a few leaves for decoration, brushed with milk then heavily dredged with raw sugar and I bake these until golden brown while pre-baking the pastry case.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line the pastry case with crumpled baking paper and fill with pastry weights, rice or beans. Bake for 45 minutes or until light golden brown but start checking the pastry at 30 minutes as all ovens are different. My pie crust took an hour to bake. Remove the pie from the oven to a cooling rack and wait 10 minutes before removing the paper and weights. Set aside to cool completely. This step can be done ahead of time.

To make the filling, combine the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, cream, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger in a bowl. Whisk until smooth, then pour through a sieve into a large jug. If you have a stick blender then place everything into the large jug and blend until smooth. No need for the sieve. Place the pie dish on an ovenproof tray, then pour the filling over the pastry. 

Bake in the centre of the 180°C oven for about one hour or until just set but start checking at the 40 minutes mark. Set aside to cool completely then store covered in the fridge. Just before serving, dust the pie with icing sugar if desired. Cut into wedges and serve with double cream and some candied pecans if you're so inclined. (I ate them all, long before the pie was served)

I didn't manage to get a slice of the pie before it disappeared but I guess that's a good sign.

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

Happy Thanksgiving!


ginger scrolls

12 Nov 2018

A few weeks ago I had a hankering for ginger and wondered if ginger scrolls were a thing. I looked online and couldn't find a recipe so I made one up.

I just used my cinnamon scroll recipe, reduced the quantity of cinnamon and added ground and crystallised ginger to the filling and fresh ginger to the syrup.

I only used half the dough (the other half is in the freezer waiting to be used) and that made 8 scrolls so the full batch would yield 16.

Once the scrolls were cooked I doused them with some ginger and lemon infused syrup. I had one with a cup of tea and the rest I froze. The verdict, a gently ginger scroll, a perfect weekend treat.

Here's the recipe for you which makes 16 scrolls. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, 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.

Ginger Scrolls - makes 16
90g butter              
170 mls milk                              
2 tsp vanilla                         
400 gm plain flour  
½ tsp salt                                
40g caster sugar 
10g dried yeast   
1 egg, beaten

30g melted butter 
Granulated sugar

80 g of soft butter
100g granulated sugar
1 tsp golden syrup
3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
30 g almond meal
¼ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

Syrup - optional
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup caster sugar
Small piece of fresh ginger
1 strip of lemon rind

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat, add milk and vanilla and heat until lukewarm. Mix flour, salt, sugar and yeast in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Make a well in the centre, then, with motor running, pour milk mixture and beaten egg into the well and knead until smooth and shiny (2-3 minutes).  

Transfer the dough to a buttered bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (1 hour). While the dough is rising, make the filling. In a small bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, the syrup and the ground ginger and cinnamon. Mix in the almond meal to form a paste, ensuring there are no lumps in the mixture.

Lightly grease two 12 cup muffin tins or line each with a paper liner. Knock back the dough on a lightly floured surface then divide in two. Roll out one half to a 20cm x 35cm rectangle. Brush the edge of the dough with water before evenly spreading the filling over the dough to within a cm of the edge. Sprinkle the finely chopped ginger over the top of the filling. Start rolling the dough tightly from the long edge then with a sharp knife or scissors cut crosswise into 8 even pieces. Place each roll into the prepared muffin tray then coat the buns with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle each bun with a little sugar. Repeat the process with the second piece of dough. Cover the scrolls with a tea towel or place inside a large plastic bag and stand in a warm place to prove (30 minutes – 1 hour). 

Preheat the oven 180°C. Place the muffin pan on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until the buns have risen and are well browned. Repeat with the second tray. While the scrolls are baking make the syrup, if using.

Bring sugar and water to a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves. Add the piece of ginger and lemon rind bubble the syrup for a few minutes until the syrup thickens a little. Remove from heat and set aside to cool allowing the ginger to steep in the syrup. As soon as the scrolls leave the oven, drizzle 1-2 tbs of the syrup over each bun. Cool in the tray for 15 minutes to let the buns absorb the syrup and then cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Can be eaten warm or at room temperature.

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

Bye for now,


lemon drizzle cake

5 Nov 2018

Last month my signed copy of Flour and Stone arrived, the new book by Nadine Ingram. A few years ago some of Nadine's recipes featured in an issue of Gourmet Traveller. I made the lemon dream cake, the chocolate manjari cake and a version of her famous pannacotta lamingtons which I found online. All the cakes were delicious and I was keen to try some more.

I've read the book from cover to cover and have bookmarked quite a few recipes but I decided to go with a classic, the lemon drizzle cake. One of my work colleagues is gluten intolerant and as the lemon drizzle cake recipe contains only a small amount of flour, I felt fairly confident I'd be able to make the cake gluten free. I decided to use some of the polenta flour I had on hand and used that instead of the flour.

The original recipe has quantities for 22 cm and 28 cm cakes but I scaled the recipe back to fit my handy dandy 17cm tin. Normally if I halve a 22cm cake recipe it works perfectly but the cake was too moist and only just held together. I remade the cake using regular flour and increased the quantity a little and it worked perfectly. The book's temperatures are for a fan forced oven so I increased my oven temperature by 10-20°C. It changed the bake time though. My cake was ready in 55 minutes unlike the 1 hour 15 minutes suggested in the book.

The cake came out a lovely golden brown and as soon as it was cool I iced the cake and topped it with some home made candied lemon rind. The cake is lovely and moist and equal parts buttery and lemony and it was a definite winner at work.

Here's the recipe for you adapted from the lemon drizzle cake recipe from Flour and Stone. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, 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.

125g unsalted butter, softened
125g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
90g ground almonds
40g polenta or plain flour
1½ tsp grated lemon rind
25mls lemon juice

125g icing sugar
25mls lemon juice (about half a lemon)


Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease, flour and line the base of a 17cm cake tin with baking paper.

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs gradually, scraping the butter mix down the sides to ensure all is incorporated. Add the almonds, the lemon zest and the juice. Add the flour to the butter and eggs and mix a few times until the batter is combined.

Pour the batter into the tin and bake in the oven for 50 minutes to one hour until the cake springs back when touched. When cooked, take out of the oven and allow the cake to cool completely on a rack.

If the cake isn’t level you might have to trim the top. When cold, turn the cake upside down and remove the lining paper. The bottom of the cake is now the top. 

Combine the icing sugar and lemon juice gradually until a thin stream of icing can pour off your spoon to drizzle. Spoon 3 spoonful’s of icing over the top of the cake and use the spoon to drag the icing to the edge of the cake. The icing will cover the cake and drizzle naturally. Allow the cake to set for at least 4 hours before serving.

The second time I made the cake I was time poor so instead of carefully mixing the ingredients in a stand mixer I put everything in the food processor and it worked like a charm! 

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

Bye for now,

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