Passover week 2020 - crushed almond and orange cake

31 Mar 2020

Welcome to Day 2 of Passover Week 2020. Claudia Roden's orange and almond cake has been around for a long time and this cake is a variation of that recipe. I've made the cake twice now using both oil so that it's pareve for Pesach and also using butter. I have to say I preferred the flavour of the cake made with butter so I'm sharing that recipe with you today. 

If you'd like to make the oil version just swap the unsalted butter with 1/2 cup oil neutral flavoured oil. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy before drizzling in the oil, then continuing with the rest of the recipe.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17cm cake or a small loaf. If you'd like to make a 23cm cake then double all the ingredients. The baking time will stay the same. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional gas oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Crushed almond and orange cake
1 large orange 
125 grams unsalted butter, softened
150 grams caster sugar
4 eggs, separated
75 g Passover baking mix (superfine matzo meal and potato starch)
75 g almond meal

1 – 2 tbs apricot jam or marmalade, warmed and thinned with water
Toasted flaked almonds

Prick the orange a few times. Place into a microwave safe bowl with 1 tbs water. Loosely cover the bowl, then microwave on high for 3-4 minutes until the orange is soft. Leave to cool a little then quarter the orange and remove the seeds. Process until smooth in a food processor, then weigh out 150 grams of orange pulp.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease and line the base and sides of a 17cm tin or small loaf tin. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks beating until combined. Combine the Passover baking mix and the almonds in a small bowl then add alternately with the pulp to the egg and sugar mixture.

Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form and carefully fold into the batter. Pour into the prepared tin. Lower the oven temperature to 180°C and bake for an hour or until the cake tests cooked with a skewer. Cool the cake on a rack. When completely cold turn out of the tin and peel off the lining paper. 

To decorate, brush over the warmed jam and top with a few flaked almonds.

This a really lovely moist cake, almost pudding like in texture and bursting with orange flavour.

See you all again tomorrow with some more baking for Passover Week 2020.

Bye for now,



passover week 2020 molten chocolate skillet brownies

30 Mar 2020

Welcome to day one of Passover Week 2020. Goodness gracious the world has changed so much since I started baking for Passover week. Covid-19, social distancing and job losses to name but a few. Hopefully these recipes will provide some distraction for you all while you're self isolating.

When I first saw this recipe for a molten chocolate skillet brownie in Delicious magazine, I was intrigued by the thought of using a skillet for baking. I didn't own an ovenproof skillet at the time but once that hurdle was overcome, I looked closely at the recipe and realised it would be easy to make for Passover as it contained such a small quantity of flour.

I changed the proportions a little as is my wont and came up with my own version which came out very chocolately and very squidgy. Most Passover recipes are heavy on eggs and nuts but this is one recipe where you could leave the nuts out and not notice their absence.

As the brownie is made with oil, it's pareve and I'm sure it would be delicious served with almond milk or coconut milk ice cream. 

Here's the recipe for you which makes an 8 inch round molten chocolate brownie. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional gas oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Molten chocolate skillet brownie inspired by this recipe
150g dark (70%) chocolate, chopped
½ cup (125ml) sunflower oil
¾ cup caster sugar
Seeds ½ vanilla bean
pinch sea salt flakes
2 whole eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
50g Passover mix sifted (equal quantities superfine matzo meal and potato starch)
2 tbs cocoa powder, sifted
100g peeled hazelnuts, skins removed and coarsely chopped
Extra 80g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
Vanilla ice cream, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 20 cm wide, 5 cm-deep, heavy-based oven-proof frying pan. (I used the Lodge 20cm cast iron skillet from Everten). Fill a small saucepan one-third full with water and bring to a gentle simmer. Place chocolate, oil, sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt in a small heatproof bowl. Set bowl over pan and stir occasionally until chocolate mixture is melted (don’t let the bowl touch the water). Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Beat the eggs and egg yolk into chocolate mixture. Fold in the baking mix, cocoa and 60g of the hazelnuts, then spoon into prepared pan. Gently push about half the remaining chopped hazelnuts and the extra chocolate into batter, then bake for 30 minutes or until brownie has risen and come away slightly from edges of pan. The centre will still be liquid when tested. Stand for 5 minutes, then scatter with the remaining hazelnuts and serve with cream, ice cream or both if you prefer.

See you all again tomorrow with Day 2 of Passover week.

Bye for now,



blackberry crumble tart

23 Mar 2020

I'm a firm believer that you shouldn't bake when you're tired. I drop things and do silly things I wouldn't normally do. Well last Sunday I failed to follow my own advice and oh what fun we had.

Even though my holiday to Italy, Croatia and Slovenia has been postponed indefinitely, I decided to bake a Croatian blackberry crumble tart, the recipe for which I found in Gourmet Traveller magazine. It looked pretty easy to make, just a buttery crust that you press into the tin and a filling made from berries folded through meringue. What could go wrong?

The recipe asked for a 20cm pie tin, which I don't have. I have a 23 cm pie tin, a 17cm springform pan and a 17 cm ring which I place on a tray whilst baking, which is the one I decided to use. Big mistake. The tart leaked like crazy while baking so please don't do this. The egg whites had been frozen and defrosted and failed to whip to soft peaks. I don't think this affected the end result but boy did it contribute to the mess in the oven. There was a bit too much filling for the smaller shell and I could have used 3/4 of the mixture but I decided to cram in as much filling as I could. Again, don't do this.

Despite all this troubles, the end result looked fine and tasted even better but next time I will make this in a pie tin or a springform pan which will reduce my oven cleaning time no end.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 20cm/8 inch tart. 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 20ºC.

Nino Zoccali's Croatian Blackberry Crumble Tart
150g (1 cup) plain flour
¹⁄₃ teaspoon baking powder
170g cold butter, diced
110g (½ cup) caster sugar
2 egg yolks

Blackberry filling
2 egg whites
110g (½ cup) caster sugar
500g blackberries fresh or defrosted
1 tsp vanilla or the seeds of ½ vanilla bean
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbs icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 20cm pie dish and set to one side.

To make the pastry, mix the flour, baking powder, butter, sugar and egg yolks in a food processor until a dough ball forms. Turn out of the processor and set aside one-third of the dough to make the topping. Firmly press the remaining dough into the base and side of the dish to form a crust. 

For the blackberry filling, whisk the egg whites and sugar into soft peaks. Fold in the berries, vanilla seeds and lemon zest and pour into the pie dish. Crumble the reserved pastry dough over the top of the blackberry filling. 

Bake the crumble in the oven for about 1 hours, or until golden. (I put the temperature up to 200°C for the last 10 minutes). Allow to cool a little, then dust with icing sugar. This is beautiful with vanilla-bean gelato or cream.

Next week will be Passover week 2020. I've just finished the final bake, which is a bit of a showstopper. 

I hope this little bit of sweetness brightens your day in these troubling times. See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



chocolate buttermilk cake with chocolate cream cheese icing

16 Mar 2020

Charlotte Ree's Chocolate Buttermilk Cake is all over the internet. I made my own version of her cake, took the cake into work and everyone agreed the chocolate icing was the bomb.

I'm not a huge fan of the texture of a melt and mix cake so for my brother's birthday, I remade the cake using my favourite chocolate cake recipe which I sandwiched and topped with the chocolate cream cheese icing. It was so good I decided to share the recipe with you.

Here’s the recipe for you which makes a 17cm layer cake. If you'd like to make a 23 cm layer cake, double all the ingredients. The bake time will stay the same. 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 20ºC.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing (Icing from the Charlotte Ree recipe)

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake
1 cup plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate soda
¼ tsp baking powder
½ cup strong hot coffee
40g cocoa, sifted
125g room temperature unsalted butter, chopped
¾ cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg
⅓ cup buttermilk

Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing
65g unsalted butter, at room temperature
160g cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
65g icing sugar, sifted
35g Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted 


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base and sides of a 17cm spring-form pan with baking paper. Sift the flour with the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Mix the coffee and cocoa together in a small bowl to make a paste, then set aside to cool. 

Cream the butter and sugar together with the vanilla until pale and fluffy. Add the egg then mix the flour into the mixture alternating with the chocolate mixture and the buttermilk. You should be left with a creamy smooth chocolatey batter. 

Pour the batter into the prepared tin, smooth the top then place the tin onto the middle shelf of the preheated oven. Bake at 190° C for 1-1¼ hours or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out dry. 

Leave the cake to cool completely before turning out onto a wire rack. When cool slice horizontally into 2 even layers leaving the best layer for the top layer. While the cake is cooling, make the icing.


Place the butter, cream cheese and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat until pale and creamy. Scrape down the side of the bowl, add the icing sugar and cocoa, and mix until just combined. You can also do this in a food processor. Whiz the dry ingredients together to remove any lumps before adding the softened butter cream, cheese and vanilla. Blend until the icing is streak free.

To assemble, place one cake half onto a serving plate. Spread half the icing over the cake, then top with the second cake layer. Spread the remaining icing over the top of the cake. Refrigerate until serving time.

Unfortunately my brother couldn't make it to his birthday dinner because of social distancing but there will always be a next time.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen now that I've managed to buy some flour. Honestly.

Bye for now,


pistachio and raspberry friands

9 Mar 2020

In the past when I've made friands I've baked them in a muffin pan but they didn't have the classic friand shape. I recently acquired a Bakemaster 12 cup friand pan from Everten and looked through my recipe books and online for inspiration. When I saw some photos of Violet Bakery's Pistachio and Raspberry friands I knew I'd found my recipe.

Friands are very simple to make. They just require a few bowls, a fork and a wooden spoon. This recipe requires 3 types of nut meal - almond , hazelnut and pistachio. If you’re having trouble sourcing hazelnut meal you can just use more almond meal. To make the ground pistachios I used the small food processor attachment on my stick blender and it worked like a charm. To make sure my GF work colleague was catered for, I made these friands with GF flour.

Here's the recipe for you which makes 12 friands. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional gas oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Pistachio and Raspberry friands, adapted from a Claire Ptak recipe from the Violet Bakery Cookbook. 
115g butter, melted, plus more for greasing the moulds
90g plain flour
¾ tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
40g ground hazelnuts
40g ground pistachios
190g icing sugar
150g egg whites (about 4 egg whites) slightly whisked
2 tsp vanilla extract
36 fresh or frozen raspberries
50g slivered pistachios
Icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter 12 friand moulds or cupcake tins. 

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the ground nuts and the icing sugar and mix until combined. Stir in the butter and vanilla extract then sufficient egg white to form a loose batter. 

Spoon the mixture evenly into the moulds, filling them to about three-quarters full. Top each friend with two or three raspberries and sprinkle with the slivered pistachios. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes are golden brown and springy to the touch.

Leave the cakes to cool in their moulds before unmoulding onto a cooling rack. When completely cold dust with icing sugar. They will keep in an airtight container for a few days.

I took these into work last week and the friands were such a hit and so easy to make that I'm planning to make some more friands very soon.

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

Bye for now,


raspberry sorbet

2 Mar 2020

While the weather is still warm I've been trying to get as much use as possible from my new ice cream maker. So far I've made frozen yoghurt and gelato, so this weekend I decided to make some sorbet. I've yet to tackle ice cream so that's next on my list.

This was going to be a strawberry sorbet inspired by the River Cafe recipe but the strawberries this year have been really disappointing. Instead with a bag of raspberries in the freezer I decided to make a raspberry sorbet.

This recipe really only has 3 ingredients - berries, sugar, lemon or lime with a touch of salt. You'll need a food processor or blender to make this and ideally an ice cream maker. If you don't have an ice cream maker never fear, as long as you use frozen berries you can still make sorbet as long as you don't mind raspberry seeds. I do mind raspberry seeds so I had to melt my sorbet a bit before I could pass the mixture through a sieve.

Here's the recipe for you, which serves 8.

Raspberry sorbet – inspired by the River Café strawberry sorbet recipe
1 lemon or lime
500g raspberries, fresh or frozen
A little pinch of sea salt
110g caster sugar

Finely grate the lemon rind. Remove the white pith from the lemon and discard, de-seed the lemon and coarsely chop the pulp. Place the raspberries in a food processor with the salt, lemon rind, chopped lemon flesh and the caster sugar. Purée until smooth then strain the liquid through a sieve to remove the raspberry seeds. Pour the raspberry puree into an ice-cream maker and churn until frozen. Spoon into a container and place in the freezer.

If you don't own an ice-cream maker and don’t mind raspberry pips, you can make this sorbet using frozen raspberries. Instead of pureeing the lemon, grate the rind then juice the lemon and dissolve the sugar in the lemon juice. You might have to add a little warm water to the sugar to help it to dissolve. Place the frozen berries into the food processor with the salt, rind and sugary lemon juice and whiz. The frozen berries magically turn into sorbet before your eyes! Spoon the sorbet into a shallow container and put directly into the freezer.

I found the flavour of the sorbet very intense so to balance it out I served it with a scoop of fior di latte gelato. It was a match made in heaven.

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

Bye for now,

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