mini strawberry cakes

26 Sept 2021


At the beginning of the year I made a list of things I'd like to bake in 2021 but as I keep adding to the list, there's no way I'll ever complete my list by year's end.

These mini strawberry cakes from Sweet by Ottolenghi and Helen Goh were on the list. As we're in the midst of strawberry season here in Sydney their time had come and not even a power shut down could stop me. I just made the cake batter with a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon. 

The cakes are made from a classic almond butter cake batter studded with strawberry pieces. The mini cakes were originally topped with a strawberry flavoured glace icing but I wanted to go with a strawberry and cream vibe so I swapped out the icing for a vanilla bean flecked cream cheese icing. 
I decorated the cakes with my DIY St Honore piping tip. A St Honore piping tip was on my list of things to buy during last year's abandoned trip to Paris. At the moment you can only buy a St Honore piping tip online but I baulked at the delivery price quoted so I made one myself. I found an unused plastic piping tip and hacked away at it with a box cutter and a pair of sharp scissors. It seemed to do the trick.

The recipe I used was adapted from one in Sweet which is much the same as this Helen Goh recipe. In autumn Helen suggests swapping the strawberries for plums and changing the lemon zest to orange.

Here's the recipe for you which makes 6 small cakes. 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.
Mini strawberry cakesmakes 6  
60g self-raising flour 
¼ tsp sea salt flakes
70g almond meal
125g unsalted butter at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
125g caster sugar
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs at room temperature
100g strawberries, washed, hulled and cut into 1 cm dice
150g cream cheese, at room temperature 
100g icing sugar, sifted 
60ml thickened cream 
¼ tsp vanilla bean paste 
3 strawberries, halved lengthwise
Preheat the oven to 180ºC conventional. Grease, flour and line the bases of 6 Texas muffin tins with baking paper.
Sift the flour into a bowl and then stir in the salt and the almond meal. Set to one side.

Place the butter, sugar, lemon rind and vanilla in a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or hand mixer until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing. Don’t worry if it looks a little curdled at this stage, it will come together again later.

Add the sifted dry ingredients in three batches. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a flexible spatula to make sure the batter is evenly mixed. If the batter looks a little stiff add a tablespoon of milk or yoghurt to loosen the batter. Gently fold in the diced strawberries.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins, levelling the tops with a small metal spatula or spoon to ensure they are smooth and even. The batter should come about three-quarters of the way up the sides of the tin. 

Place the muffin tin on the middle shelf of the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cakes are golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Remove the tin from the oven and allow the cakes to cool for 15 minutes before easing the cakes out of the moulds with a small knife or an offset spatula. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

Place the cream cheese into a small bowl and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until smooth – about a minute. Reduce the speed to low and add the icing sugar, cream and vanilla paste. Mix just until combined, then increase the speed and continue to beat until soft waves form. Return the icing to the fridge for 30 minutes to firm before spooning or piping onto the tops of the cakes.

Place the halved strawberries on top of each mini cake, pressing just lightly to embed them into the icing. Any leftovers will keep, refrigerated, for up to two days.

As you'd expect from a Helen Goh/Ottolenghi recipe, these cakes were absolutely delicious. I'll definitely make the cakes again but just to let you know, the cakes are quite dense. If you'd like them to be a bit more sponge like, I would increase the quantity of flour to 100g and reduce the quantity of almond meal to 30g and then I think they'd be absolutely perfect!

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.
Bye for now,


simple apple galette

20 Sept 2021


I had half a batch of flaky pastry lurking in my freezer, leftover from when I made a salted caramel apple crumble pie. I used some of the pastry to top a beef and mushroom pie defrosted, then mulled over whether I should make a tarte tartin or an apple galette with the remaining pastry. In the end this simple apple galette won out.
I turned to a Danielle Alvarez recipe for inspiration using my own pastry recipe. To make sure the pastry was extra flaky, I did a few book folds first. For the filling I used Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples 'cos that's what I had in the fruit bowl then I made an apple glaze with the cores and peels before assembling the tart.

Here's the recipe for you which makes an 8 inch galette. 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. 

Simple apple galette – adapted from a Danielle Alvarez recipe
½ quantity pastry (see below)
350g (2 large) apples of your choice
2 tsp plain flour 
10g butter 
2 tsp lemon juice 
15g (1 tbs) caster sugar, plus 1 tablespoon extra 
Cream or milk for brushing 
To serve 
Ice cream, crème fraîche or lightly whipped cream 
2½ cups plain flour 
1 pinch sea salt flakes 
1 tbs (15g) caster sugar 
250g cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
150 mls cold water 
1 tbs lemon juice or apple cider vinegar 
Apple peel glaze 
Apple peels and cores 
25g (1½ tbs) caster sugar 
200 ml water 
Stir flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add butter and cut it into the flour with a pastry blender or your hands. Work quickly, cutting it in until mostly pea-size pieces of butter remain. You can also do this stage in a food processor.
Combine the water, lemon juice or vinegar in a measuring cup. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the water mixture over the flour mixture, and cut it in with a bench scraper, a spatula, or your hands until it’s fully incorporated. Add more of the water mixture, 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing each time until it just holds together (sprinkle dry bits with more small drops of water to combine if necessary). It should have streaks of butter. 
Cut the dough into two, and shape each half into a flat disc. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. You’ll only need to use one disc of pastry for this recipe but the dough can be refrigerated for three days or frozen for one month. 
Roll the rested dough out into a 9 inch circle about 2 mm (⅛ in) thick and place it on a piece of baking paper. Refrigerate. 
Preheat the oven to 200°C, conventional and place a baking stone or an upturned baking sheet on the middle shelf. Next, prepare the apples by peeling, quartering and coring them. Place the peels and cores in a small saucepan with the sugar for the apple glaze. Add the water, cover with a lid and simmer over a medium heat for 15 minutes. 
Take your apple quarters and cut each quarter into thin slices. Keep the slices together so you can arrange them nicely on the dough. Sprinkle the prepared dough with the flour and then spread it out evenly over the base using your hand. Arrange the apple slices on top in whatever pattern looks nicest to you. Concentric circles always look good, starting from the outside in, making sure you tightly fill the space with fruit. (It will shrink and move as it cooks, so make sure you use plenty.) Leave a 2 cm (¾ in) edge. 
Melt the butter and mix in the lemon juice and the tablespoon of sugar. Spoon this mixture over the top of the apples only. Fold the edge of the dough up around the fruit. Brush the milk or cream over the folded edge of dough and sprinkle with half the extra sugar. Try to land as much sugar as possible directly on the crust and as little as possible on the baking paper. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the apple filling. 
By this point, your apple peel glaze should be ready. Strain it into a clean saucepan and put it back on the stove to simmer and reduce until thickened and ‘glazy’. You only need about a tablespoon or so. 
Transfer the galette to the oven, sliding it onto the baking stone or tray using the baking paper. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 180°C, conventional and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, increase the temperature to 200°C, conventional and continue baking for 20–30 minutes until the crust is beautifully golden and the apples are browned on the edges. 

At this stage, flip a baking tray upside down and carefully pull the galette onto the baking tray using the baking paper. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and pull the baking paper out from underneath the galette. If you leave the paper underneath, the base of the galette will steam and go soft. 

When cooled but still slightly warm, brush the apple glaze on top of the apples. Enjoy with ice cream, crème fraîche, lightly whipped cream or just on its own. 
A simple dessert but who can resist the combination of baked apple, flaky pastry, sugar and cream? It was delicious.

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

Bye for now,


blood orange and passionfruit cake with passionfruit icing

13 Sept 2021

It's both blood orange and passionfruit season here in Sydney so I decided to use both to make this cake. The original recipe came from from the Australian Women's Weekly Baking Collection cookbook, a copy of which lives on a bookshelf in my kitchen. The cake was made in a loaf tin but I couldn't go past baking it in my favourite bundt tin.

Although I used a blood orange to make the cake, of course you could use a regular orange. I don't like the crunch of passionfruit seeds in my cake so I removed the seeds from the passionfruit pulp by whizzing the pulp in a mini food processor before straining it through a sieve. You discard the seeds but save the juice and 2 large passionfruit made 30 mls of passionfruit juice.
The cake is a basic butter cake which uses both the orange rind and the pulp in the batter, so you'll need a food processor or blender for this recipe.

Like most cakes, it's all about the icing and here the cake is topped with some passionfruit glace icing.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a small bundt 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.
Blood orange and passionfruit bundt cake with passionfruit icing  inspired by an Australian Women's Weekly recipe
150g blood oranges 
30mls passionfruit pulp or juice 
110g unsalted butter, softened 
½ cup (110g) caster sugar 
1 egg 
1 cup self-raising flour (150g) 
¼ cup plain flour (37.5g)
pinch salt
¼ cup (60ml) milk 
Passionfruit icing 
¾ cup (120g) sifted icing sugar 
10g butter, melted 
1 tbs passionfruit pulp 
1 tbs blood orange juice 
Preheat oven to 180°C, conventional. Grease and flour a small bundt tin then place in the fridge until required. 
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the rind from the oranges and reserve. Using a small sharp knife, remove white pith from the oranges, discarding the pith. Quarter the orange and discard seeds. Blend or process orange flesh and rind until pulpy - you should have at least ½ cup (125mls) of orange pulp. Stir in the passionfruit pulp. 
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add the sifted flour in thirds, alternating with the milk and orange mixture and mix until combined. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake cake for about 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. 
Stand in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. 

Stir ingredients in a medium bowl until mixture is smooth and of a drizzling consistency. Drizzle the icing over the cooled cake and allow to set before serving. 


I do love a butter cake and this one is no exception. The cake is lovely and let's face it the passionfruit icing just makes the cake a little bit special. 
See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.
Bye for now,

apple crumble cake

5 Sept 2021

A few months ago I made a deep dish salted caramel apple crumble pie. The pie was really delicious but it was a lot of work. I wondered if I could make a cake which featured most of the same elements but without so much effort.


The first apple crumble cake which I made before we went into lockdown, didn't work out so well. When I returned to Sydney I went back to the drawing board and came up with this apple studded butter cake topped with an oaty crumble which I served with cream and salted caramel sauce.

The cake is lovely as it is but if you'd like to serve it with caramel sauce you could always but some or make a batch using the recipe featured here. If you don't like oats, just swap them for an equal weight of coarsely chopped nuts of your choice. 


Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17 cm cake. If you'd like to make a larger cake, a 23cm/9 inch cake, just double the ingredients and the bake for the same length of time. 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.


Apple Crumble Cake – makes a 17 cm cake
30g (1 oz) plain flour
30g (1 oz) unsalted butter
30g (1 oz) raw sugar
25g (¼ cup) rolled oats
1 tbs shredded coconut
pinch of cinnamon
Pinch sea salt flakes 
2 medium-sized (approximately 250g) cooking apples, peeled, quartered and cored 
2 tsp caster sugar 
100g unsalted butter 
110g (½ cup) caster sugar 
1 tsp lemon rind 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1 egg 
½ cup self raising flour 
¼ cup plain flour 
Pinch salt 
⅓ cup buttermilk 
2 tsp plain flour, extra 
Icing sugar, for dusting 
Make the crumble by rubbing the flour and butter together, and stirring in the sugar, oats, coconut, cinnamon and salt to make large crumbs. Place in the fridge until needed. 
Preheat the oven to 180°C, conventional. Grease and line a 17cm tin with baking paper. Cut the apples into 1cm pieces; place into a medium size bowl then sprinkle with the 2 tsp of caster sugar and toss the apple pieces in the sugar. Place to one side while you prepare the batter. 
Beat the butter, sugar, rind and vanilla together until light and smooth. Add the egg and beat together. Sift the flours and salt together in a small bowl. Add to the mixture in two or three lots alternating with the buttermilk to make a smooth batter. 
Toss the reserved apple pieces with the extra flour (this prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the cake). Spoon the batter into the bowl containing the apple pieces and mix the two together until they’re well combined. Finally, spread the batter into the prepared tin. 
Scatter the crumble on top of the cake and press gently into the batter. Bake for about an hour until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out moist but relatively clean. If the crumble browns too quickly, then cover the cake with a piece of foil halfway through whilst it finishes cooking through. I left the cake to cool in the switched off oven for 30 minutes with the door left ajar before turning out onto a wire rack. 

Just before serving,  lightly dust the top of the cake with icing sugar. The cake can be served warm or at room temperature either plain or with cream and some salted caramel sauce. 
I thought the cake was delicious and I'll be adding this recipe to my repertoire. I shared the cake with my neighbours and they declared it a hit. So far they've liked everything I've made so I think they're just easy to please!

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

Bye for now,

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