30 Sept 2019

These days I'm all about making no fuss no nonsense cakes. Life just seems to be frantic all the time. A few weeks ago I was watching the episode of Nigellissima which featured Nigella making her yoghurt pot cake. It looked easy to make so I scribbled down the recipe then went to the internet to double check I'd written it down correctly. The online recipe was a little different so I'm glad I checked.  

I wanted to use my new favourite Italian copper bundt tin, so of course I modified the recipe a little.

I used lemon rind and orange rind to flavour the cake plus vanilla and I added a pinch of baking powder, just to ensure the cake would rise. 

The tin is just so cute and best of all the cake unmoulded perfectly. 

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 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. 

Ciambella adapted from Yoghurt Pot Cake by Nigella Lawson
2 large eggs, separated
⅔ cup caster sugar
100g plain yoghurt
100ml vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp grated lemon rind
Finely grated rind of 1 small orange
¾ cup plain flour
50g potato starch
¼ tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and flour a small bundt tin, then place the tin in the fridge until required.

Place the egg yolks in a large bowl then whisk in the sugar and yoghurt. Slowly add the oil to the egg yolk mixture and when blended, stir in the vanilla and citrus rinds.

Sift the two flours, baking powder and salt together. Gradually add the flour to the egg mixture, mixing until well combined.

In a clean dry bowl beat the whites until you have firm peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter then spoon the batter into the prepared ring mould.

Place the tin in the centre of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes in a pre-heated oven until the cake tests cooked when a skewer is inserted into the cake and it pulls away from the edge of the tin.

I took this into work and it was devoured quickly. As one of my workmates said, sometimes all you want is a slice of plain cake which describes this cake perfectly. It's well worth trying.

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

Bye for now,


gluten free chocolate cheesecake brownies

23 Sept 2019

Most weeks I try to bake something new but for work morning teas I normally make something tried and tested like brownies, chocolate caramel slice or tart lemon squares. I needed to bake something that could be frozen so I decided to make a batch of chocolate cheesecake brownies.

I've been making chocolate cheesecake brownies for 8 years now but decided to make a gluten free version. When I checked the fridge I was a bit low on butter so I made the brownie portion using oil. If you've not done this before, brownies made with oil turn out really well.

My passover brownie mix contains potato starch which makes the brownies really squidgy, so I knew I was going to do the same with the gluten free version. I took the brownies out of the oven when the filling was just set, so they were still very moist when I cut them into squares.

Here's the recipe for you. 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. 

Gluten free chocolate cheesecake brownies
Brownie layer
150g dark chocolate, chopped
½ cup (125ml) sunflower oil
⅔ cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
30g gluten free plain flour
20g potato starch
2 tbs cocoa powder
pinch sea salt flakes

Cheesecake layer
250g softened cream cheese
¼ cup caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 egg

Grease and line a 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with baking paper, making sure the paper goes up all four sides. Preheat oven to 180ºC. 

Place the chopped chocolate and oil in a microwave proof bowl. Microwave on high in 30 second bursts until the chocolate has melted, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Mix in the sugar, the vanilla extract and the eggs. Mix until well combined.

Sift the flour, potato starch and cocoa into a small bowl. Stir the sifted flour into the chocolate mixture with the salt flakes and mix thoroughly until the batter becomes smooth and glossy. Spread half the batter into the prepared pan.

In a separate bowl beat together the cream cheese, the sugar, vanilla and the egg until smooth. Distribute the cream cheese mixture and the remaining brownie mixture in dollops across the top of the brownie mixture, then take a dull knife or spatula and swirl the cream cheese mixture with the chocolate batter. Rap the pan on a countertop a few times to let the batter and swirl settle together.

Bake in the preheated oven until the batter in the centre of the pan feels just set, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely before inverting the brownies onto a cutting board. Turn right side up immediately then cut the brownies into squares.

These cheesecake brownies will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days. They also freeze well for up to two months.

These brownies are easy to make and so delicious. 

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

Bye for now,


gluten free brown butter blackberry tart

16 Sept 2019

Last month I saw a version of this brown butter tart on instagram. I was intrigued, so I bookmarked the original 
Bon Appetit recipe, which had received many favourable reviews, to make at a later date. That later date occurred last weekend. 

The original recipe used raspberries but as I had blackberries in the freezer, that's what I used. I also used my own shortbread crust, one I've used many times before but 
at the last minute decided to make it gluten free.

I kept my fingers crossed that the GF crust would be sturdy enough hold up in the fluted tin.

As you can see 
the tart did crumble a bit when it was unmoulded but my problem was the filling. I think it had too much butter and not enough flour. The butter seeped through the crust and I ended up with horror of horrors, the dreaded soggy bottom! Unfortunately not every bake is successful, but I still took the tart into work. 

Here's the recipe for you. 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.

Gluten Free Brown Butter Blackberry Tart adapted from this recipe
100g unsalted butter
¼ cup caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup GF plain flour
1/4 cup almond meal
Pinch of salt

110g unsalted butter, diced
½ cup caster sugar
2 large eggs
Pinch salt
¼ cup GF plain flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
350g frozen blackberries

Position rack in centre of oven and preheat to 190°C. Place all the crust ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Whiz until a soft dough forms around the blade. Transfer dough to 8 inch square tart pan with removable bottom. Using fingertips, press dough evenly onto sides and bottom of pan or if you like you can roll the dough out between 2 sheets of baking paper before transferring to the tart shell.

Bake crust until golden, about 15 minutes (crust will puff slightly while baking). Transfer crust to rack and cool in pan. Maintain oven temperature.

While the crust is in the oven, cook butter in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until deep nutty brown (do not burn), stirring often. When browning butter, use a saucepan with a light-coloured bottom so that you can gauge the colour of the butter. Immediately pour browned butter into glass measuring cup. 

Whisk sugar, eggs, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add flour and vanilla; whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk browned butter into sugar-egg mixture; whisk until well blended.

Carefully pour browned butter mixture evenly over the tart shell. Arrange berries, pointed side up and close together. Place tart on a baking sheet and bake tart until filling is puffed and golden and tester inserted into centre comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool tart completely in pan on rack. When cool, remove tart pan sides. Just before serving, dust lightly with icing sugar then cut into slices to serve.

The tart can be made the day ahead, stored in an airtight container.

Despite my reservations, this was a hit at work but I wasn't happy with the filling and the soggy bottom it created. I have plans to make a non GF version, with a rejigged filling, so stay tuned as the tart will probably reappear sometime during Christmas Week.

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

Bye for now,



rhubarb ginger bundt cake

9 Sept 2019

It's rhubarb and blood orange season in Sydney so I was looking for a way to incorporate both ingredients into a cake. I looked through the recipe archives and found an old recipe for rhubarb and ginger puddings with salted caramel sauce. I worked some magic and turned the puddings into a cake.

I could have made the cake in a loaf tin or a round tin but my obsession with bundt cakes continue, so naturally I used a bundt tin. I love the colour of blood orange icing so made some with which to decorate the cake.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a small bundt cake. If you'd like to make a large bundt cake, just double all the ingredients and bake for the same length of 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. 

Rhubarb and Ginger Bundt Cake
1¼ cups diced chopped rhubarb stalks
1 (20 ml) tablespoon orange juice
1 cup plain flour
1½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Pinch salt
¼ cup almond meal
100 g (3½ oz) melted, unsalted butter
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
35 g (2 tbs) finely chopped glace or crystallised ginger
¼ cup milk or orange juice

Orange icing
25gms unsalted butter, melted
½ cup icing sugar
1 tbs blood orange juice

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease and flour a small bundt tin, then place in the fridge.

Combine the rhubarb and the orange juice in a small bowl. Set to one side for 20 minutes. Meanwhile sift the flour, ginger, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a small bowl. Stir the almond meal through the flour and set to one side. In a medium size bowl combine the melted butter, the sugars and vanilla. Add the eggs and beat until well combined. Add the flour and gently fold in the diced rhubarb and juice and the finely chopped ginger. This should make a soft batter. If not then add the additional milk or orange juice.

Spoon the batter carefully into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Place the cake on the middle shelf in the oven. Bake for 35 minutes at 180°C/350°F or until the cake is cooked when tested with a skewer. If the cake browns too quickly you may have to cover the top with a piece of greaseproof paper. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before unmoulding. Allow to completely cool before icing the cake.

In a small bowl, combine the melted butter with the icing sugar. Add the orange juice until you have a smooth icing. If it thickens too quickly add a touch more orange juice or warm for a few seconds in the microwave. Drizzle over the cake and allow to set before serving.

This is not a sweet cake so if you’re planning to serve the cake without the icing you’ll need to increase the sugar quantity to ⅓ cup of both sugars. This cake was very well received at work so I guess I'll be adding this recipe to my repertoire.

See you all again with some more baking and yes more bundt cakes from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


hazelnut maple shortbreads

2 Sept 2019

Last month I borrowed a copy of the A Year of Good Eating: The Kitchen Diaries III from my local library. I like Nigel Slater's writing style so was keen to make my way through the book. 

This recipe for hazelnut maple shortbreads jumped out at me so I photocopied the recipe and added it to my to-do list. When 
I returned home from a trip to Brisbane I found my biscuit tin was completely empty. As I had most of the ingredients already in the cupboard I decided the time had come to try out the recipe. 

When I checked the cupboard I was a bit short of whole hazelnuts so I put a few aside for the topping; ground what I had and used some toasted hazelnut meal as well. I also made the shortbread mixture in the food processor so it didn't take long before the dough was resting in the fridge.

I halved the recipe but still managed to make 16 shortbreads from the mixture so the original cookies must have been enormous. My oven is slow so I increased the suggested baking temperature from 160
°C to 170°C and the shortbreads still took close to 30 minutes before they were ready.

Here's the recipe for you which makes 16 cookies. 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.

Hazelnut maple shortbreads – adapted from a Nigel Slater recipe

60g hazelnuts
112g unsalted butter 
25g brown sugar
1 tbs caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
25 mls maple syrup 
a pinch salt
112g plain flour 


15g hazelnuts


Set the oven at 180°C. Place all the hazelnuts on a baking tray in a single layer, then toast them till they are lightly coloured on all sides. Place into a tea towel and gently rub the nuts together in the tea towel to remove the skins. Take out 15g and set aside to use to top the biscuits. Grind the remaining nuts in a food processor. They should be fine, but not as fine as commercial ground almonds. The nuts should feel a little gritty between the fingers.

Cream the butter, sugars and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Pour in the maple syrup, a tablespoon at a time, beating continually. If the mixture appears to curdle, don’t worry, just keep beating. It will eventually become smooth.

Mix the salt into the flour then fold in the nuts. Gradually incorporate the flour and nuts into the creamed butter, sugar and maple syrup mixture. Roll the dough into a thick sausage about 3 cm in diameter, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for an hour.

Set the oven at 170°C. Unwrap the dough and slice it into about 16 biscuits. Place them, with a little space among them, on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Roughly chop the whole hazelnuts then put a few on top of each biscuit, pressing them gently down into the dough. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until pale golden on the edges. Let the shortbreads cool for a few minutes on the tray, then carefully lift off with a palette knife and cool on a wire baking rack. Once cool, store in an airtight tin.

These cookies are gently sweet with a subtle hint of maple. I'd prefer a more intense maple flavour so 
next time I'd add some maple extract to the mix and a touch more sugar. The toasted hazelnut meal worked a treat so grinding the whole toasted nuts in a food processor might be a step you could skip. Maybe these will reappear as part of Xmas week?

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

Bye for now,


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