Lemon Poppyseed Layer Cake

28 Apr 2010

Last weekend I had no intention of baking anything. I decided I needed a break from the kitchen. Just as I was about to leave work on Friday afternoon I heard it was a workmate's birthday the following day so what else could I do but roll up my sleeves and get into the kitchen? As you may remember I make a lime poppyseed cake that's very popular so I thought I'd try making a lemon poppyseed cake and whilst I was making cake, why not a layer cake?

I used my lemon syrup cake as a base and added a few tablespoons of poppyseeds. I don't own any sandwich tins so I made an 8 inch cake and sliced it horizontally then filled the cake with lemon flavoured cream cheese icing. I could have left it there but thought, no, it's a birthday, so I topped the cake with some very lemony glace icing.

My workmates never tell me when they don't like my baking but I can tell by the speed with which the goods are devoured. By the end of the day there was only a sliver left.

I always take a slice home with me to photograph so often the cake has been stored in the freezer for close to a week before I get to sample it.

Some of the the baked goods I make freeze well and some less so. This cake freezes beautifully - even the filling and the icing survived. I still have half a slice left so I know what I'll be having with a cup of tea after my dinner tonight.

Until the next time,


Martin Place Cenotaph and Justin Bieber

26 Apr 2010

ANZAC Day is commemorated on April 25 and today was the ANZAC Day public holiday. I'm not very good with crowds so I didn't go into the city to watch the parade, which was held on Sunday. Instead I went to see the movie, 'Beneath Hill 60' which tells the story of a secret mission to blow up the Messine Ridge during the First World War.

On Monday I was up bright and early and caught the train into Martin Place, to take photos of the cenotaph before hitting the gym to work off some of those Easter eggs.

Even though it was just after 7.30 a.m. I wasn't prepared for the chanting I heard as I arrived at Martin Place. What I didn't know was the Justin Bieber concert had just been cancelled at the Rocks and a thousand disappointed fans had made their way or were on their way to the Channel 7 studio in Martin Place. As mentioned on the news, there were very few adults accompanying the children aged around 10 - 12.

Some images in black and white.

It's time to put the gnocchi on for dinner (see I don't just live on cakes and pastries). I hope you all had a good weekend. I'll be back on Wednesday with some baking so until then,


Shopshoot - Summers Floral

21 Apr 2010

Woollahra is one of my favourite shopping destinations. It's close to home and many of my secret shopping haunts are dotted around the suburb. My favourite flower shop is Summers Floral in Woollahra and Mark, the owner, very kindly gave me permission to take photos of the shop. I wandered up there last Saturday on a gorgeous warm and sunny Sydney day

When I was a little girl and special occasion flowers were required, my Dad used to take me with him to Mr. Eaves. Mr. Eaves worked from home and the area under his house was a mass of blooms. My Papa would always buy me a little bunch of violets as a treat and I've loved flowers ever since.

Times have changed and all those stiff gladioli, carnations and chrysanthemums are a thing of the past. Flower shops are filled with sculptural pods, branches and unique blooms.

Sometimes the classics are still the best. Who could resist a bunch of these beautiful roses with a perfume to match their beauty?

Or these purple lisianthus and hyacinths?

I hope you enjoyed my little tour of Summers Floral. You can find Summers Floral on the corner of Moncur and Queen Streets, Woollahra.

Bye for now,


Peach and Raspberry Slice

19 Apr 2010

I'm seriously out of order blogging this. I copied this recipe from Delicious magazine a few years ago and made it for the first time just before Easter. It took a bit of searching, but here is the recipe for you. It's a Bill Granger recipe and most of his recipes are failsafe.

The bottom layer is quite crunchy whilst the top layer is more cake like. It's very sweet though and others who have made this recipe suggest halving the sugar content. The slice was very well received at work by my test audience. I made the whole thing in the food processor so preparing the slice was a snap.

Peach and raspberry is a lovely combination. I used less milk in the mixture than was suggested and it was still a very moist cake.

The slice reminded me of the apple cake my Grandmother used to make for our Friday night dinners. I've hunted through my recipe box and I've managed to track the recipe down so when I get some time I'm going to make my Grandma's Apple Cake for you all. The slice was just begging to be served with a dollop of cream so that's what I did.

Peach and Raspberry slice 

185g (6.5 oz or 1.5 cups) plain (all purpose flour) 
1.5 teaspons baking powder, plus an extra 0.5 teaspoon extra 
125g (4.5oz) butter, chilled and diced 
115g (4oz or 0.5 cup) soft brown sugar 
115g (4oz or 0.5 cup) caster (superfine) sugar 
3 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced into wedges 
90g (3.25 oz or 0.75 cup) raspberries - fresh or frozen 
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract 
1 egg, lightly beaten 
185ml (6fl oz or 0.75 cup) milk 

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F/Gas 4). 

Grease and line the base of a 20×30cm (8×12in) baking tray. 
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and then rub in the butter with your fingertips. Stir in both the sugars. Press half the mixture over the base of the tin. Lay the peaches over the top and sprinkle with raspberries.

Add the vanilla extract, extra baking powder, egg and milk to the rest of the base mixture and stir well - don’t worry too much about lumps. Pour evenly over the top of the peaches and raspberries and bake for 1 hour. Cool in the tray and then cut into squares to serve.

I hope you enjoyed your weekend. I'm off to watch the new season of Masterchef Australia - I love that show. I'll be back Wednesday with some photos from my latest shopshoot, so until then


16 Apr 2010

I haven't ever asked anything of my blog readers before, so here goes. I've been doing my shopshoots for about 9 months now and the time has come to update my portfolio. I've decided the easiest way to show my portfolio is to put together a coffee table sized book of some of my shopshoots.

I'm a photographer, not a designer, and I was wondering if one of my clever blog readers would like to design a logo for me? It doesn't have to be anything flashy, just typography will do, but something I can use on my shopshoot blogposts and on the cover of my book. There won't be any payment I'm afraid but I'll credit the designer every way I can. If you think it's something you'd like to help me with, please send an email to with your ideas.

I'm off to do a shopshoot tomorrow so I should have some photos to post sometime next week. The rest of the weekend I'll be at my p.c. completing my trip planning. I'm going to Norway, Sweden, Finland, the UK, Paris, Zurich and Hong Kong in June and I still have lots of accommodation to book. I'm so excited at the thought of my holiday.

I'll be back again on Monday so have yourselves a splendid weekend,


Customs House Brisbane

14 Apr 2010

Brisbane has a dearth of historic buildings. Any-one who lived in Brisbane during the 'Joh era' will remember waking up to find another heritage listed building had been razed to the ground. Somehow Customs House managed to escape the wrecker's ball.

It's a lovely building so I snapped a few images last Monday. Even though it was a gloriously sunny day in Brisbane last week, the images seemed better suited to black and white. What do you think?

I'm sure you'll all be pleased to hear that I made it back to the gym last night after a 2 week break. My hamstrings are less pleased and I can still feel them complaining.

I'm not sure if I'll be back again this week so if not, bye for now,


Belated Happy Easter

12 Apr 2010

I know, I know I'm a week late with this post but time does tend to get away from me at times. Work has been so busy that I've been neglecting many things lately, most notably my gym attendance.

Here is my belated Easter offering - caramel cupcakes with a surprise easter egg hidden inside.

I didn't have a recipe for caramel cupcakes so I used a regular cupcake recipe and substituted brown sugar for caster sugar. The combination was a little bit too sweet for me so next time I think I'll try the plain cupcake recipe.

I'll be back again Wednesday with my last photos from Brisbane. See you all later,


Queensland Art Gallery

9 Apr 2010

When I was home in Brisbane for the Easter break I decided it was time to visit the art gallery. It's been years since my last visit and in that time the Museum and Library have moved to the Arts Precinct and the GOMA has opened. There was only so much culture I felt I could absorb on Easter Monday so I limited my visit to the Art Gallery.

The Art Gallery is a low, light filled building and in years past, I'd been a 'Friend' of the Art Gallery. I'd forgotten how much I liked the gallery. The Stephen Jones Hat Anthology had just opened so I took a look before strolling through the rest of the collection.

It might have been autumn in Brisbane but it was a sunny 27ºC on Monday, so after visiting the gallery I walked to Southbank. I was amazed at the number of people doing the same thing. I never think of Brisbane as a tourist destination so were they locals or were they visitors?

The weekend has just about arrived and I'm so glad. Have a great weekend and I'll be back Monday with some more baking for you,

Until then,


Bon Vivant

7 Apr 2010

During Passover it's always a challenge finding sweet treats to make which will rival the spicy taste and aroma of a hot cross bun. Well you can't really so instead I look towards confections made entirely of chocolate, nuts, butter and eggs and try not to think too much about the fat content.

With that in mind I introduce you to Bon Vivant. I'd never come across Bon Vivant until I moved to Sydney. It's a 2 layer cake with a layer of hazelnut sponge topped with a baked layer of chocolate mousse.

I've not made Bon Vivant before and the recipe I used is very close to the link I provided but unfortunately I wasn't able to track it down on the internet. The recipe I used contained a little bit of coffee in the chocolate mousse layer and the hazelnut cake contained 2 tablespoons of flour which I left out.

Traditionally the cake is served in squares, but I decided to get a bit fancy and cut the cake into rounds.

I haven't taken this to work yet but I've had a chance to taste the Bon Vivant. Bake the chocolate mousse layer until it is just set then serve the cake at room temperature (not frozen) to get the full impact of the chocolate mousse.

My workmates are all chocolate fiends so I think they'll approve when I take this into work next week.

I'll be back on Friday so until then,


Easter Monday - Brisbane

5 Apr 2010

It's the last day of the Easter break which means most people will be back at work tomorrow. I'm taking an extra days break so the coming working week will be a very short one for me.

I've been in Brisbane visiting my family and spent some time today at the Queensland Art Gallery. My parents live by the river so I caught a ferry home from the Art Gallery and snapped a few photos of downtown Brisbane and the river.

I'll be back again later in the week with some baking and some more photos from my Easter break in Brisbane,



2 Apr 2010

I'd like to say a big thank-you to Holly from decor8 for featuring my photos on her blog. Also a big thank-you to Sam Robinson for putting up with my presence in the studio whilst busily finishing off a big order.

Another big thank-you goes to one of Holly's readers for tracking down Samatha's work on Anthropologie. Sam's work is now available online for US and European shoppers. Now that's good news, isn't it?

Enjoy your weekend,

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