apple marzipan cake

30 Apr 2022

Apples are in season at the moment and I've collected so many apple cake recipes I might have to devote a month just to apple and pear cakes.
A few months ago I made a marzipan plum cake and it was so delicious I just knew I'd be making it again. The original cake from Mikkel Karstad was made with rhubarb but as rhubarb is $8.00 a bunch at the moment I decided to go with the changing seasons and made an apple version.

I've made the cake twice now and tweaked the recipe slightly from the original. For this cake I used caster sugar and as it's a bit sweeter than brown sugar, I reduced the sugar content a little. I also topped the apple slices with a little bit of butter because butter makes everything taste better.


Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17cm cake. This cake was inspired by a Mikkel Karstad recipe from the book 'Copenhagen Cult Recipes' by Christine Rudolph and Susie Theodorou. 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 Marzipan Cake – makes a 17 cm cake
Marzipan recipe
100g almonds, blanched, raw or a mix of both
20g icing sugar

Whizz the almonds in a food processor until they become a paste. Add the icing sugar, whizz again, then add 10ml of water and whizz for a final time. Lightly knead to bring the marzipan together. Makes about 130g marzipan.

120g unsalted butter, softened
100g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
120g marzipan, chopped
2 eggs
¼ - ⅓ cup plain flour
Pinch salt
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind

1-2 small apples, peeled cored and thinly sliced
10g melted butter
3 tsp raw sugar mixed with ¼ tsp cinnamon

To serve
Icing sugar 
Crème fraiche or thick cream

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


Mix the butter, sugar, vanilla and marzipan in a food processor until smooth. Gradually add the eggs, then 1/4 cup flour, salt and lemon rind. If the batter is looking a bit loose, add an extra tablespoon or so of flour. Spread the batter into the prepared cake tin paper and top with apple slices. Lightly brush the apple slices with the melted butter then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mix.

Bake for 50 minutes or until cooked when tested and the fruit has softened. If the fruit is browning too much, cover with foil and cook the cake until set in the centre. Cool for 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature with crème fraîche and a dusting of icing sugar.

This cake punches well above it's weight. It's so easy to make, so delicious and versatile as well because you can change the fruit topping as the seasons change. Everyone I've served it to, just loves it.

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

Bye for now,



chocolate caramel anzac slice

25 Apr 2022

In honour of Anzac Day I decided to bake a batch of Chocolate Caramel Anzac slice.
One of my workmates declared the slice the best thing that had ever happened to an Anzac biscuit. How does this differ from regular caramel slice, I hear you ask? By the addition of oats and golden syrup to the base of course, otherwise it's a classic chocolate caramel slice in every other way.

Making the slice is a 3 step process - the base, the caramel and the chocolate topping. Once the slice is assembled it needs about 3 hours in the fridge for all the layers to set before slicing.

Here’s the recipe for you which makes 16 squares depending how large you like your piece of caramel slice. If you'd like to make a larger batch in an 8 x 12 inch tin, just double all the ingredients and bake for the same length of time. 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.

Chocolate Caramel Anzac Slice
1/4 cup (55g) brown sugar
1/3 cup (50g) plain flour
1/3 cup (35g) rolled oats
¼ cup (20g) shredded or desiccated coconut
Pinch salt
45g unsalted butter, melted
1 tbs golden syrup

1 x 375 gm tin condensed milk
2 tbs (55g) golden syrup
30 gm unsalted butter, chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract

15 g unsalted butter, chopped
112g dark chocolate, chopped
Sea salt flakes

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F, conventional. Line the base and sides of a 17x17cm (7 x 7 inch) tin with baking paper.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix in the butter and golden syrup then gently press the mix into the prepared tin. Place in the 180°C oven for 15 minutes or until lightly coloured.

Place the condensed milk in a saucepan and stir over a low heat for 7 minutes or until slightly thickened and lightly coloured. You can also microwave the condensed milk in a large bowl on high for 7 minutes, stirring every minute. Add the remaining ingredients to the condensed milk and stir thoroughly until well combined.

Pour the caramel over the cooked base and using a knife spread it evenly over the base. Return the slice to the oven for another 10 – 15 minutes or until the caramel is golden brown and set. Remove the slice from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes.

Place butter and chocolate into a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until melted. Pour over the cooled caramel layer, spreading evenly with a palette knife or offset spatula then sprinkle with some sea salt flakes.

Refrigerate until set, about 3-4 hours, before cutting into squares or bars. I use a hot knife to cut the slice, wiping the blade with kitchen paper between each cut. Store the slice in a sealed container in the fridge. Bring the slice to room temperature before serving. 
Just perfect served with a cup of tea.

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

Bye for now,



sourdough discard not hot cross buns

18 Apr 2022

I just love hot cross buns so each year I make a batch. Coming from a family that doesn't celebrate Easter I usually make not hot cross buns. I'm also not very good at piping so when I do try and pipe crosses, I often end up making a big mess.

As you know I've been on a bit of a sourdough adventure of late. I don't normally have much discard, and if I do I usually add it to my pizza dough. Recently I had to perk up my starter which left me with about 200g of sourdough discard in the fridge. Rather than waste it, I decided to add it to the hot cross bun dough. I also added a few additional stretch and folds to the dough a la Sarah Keiffer, otherwise it's my standard hot cross bun recipe which was adapted from a Flour and Stone recipe.
If you don't have any discard, just add an extra 60g flour and an additional 60mls/g of milk or water to the dough recipe. Here's the recipe for you which makes 12 buns.
For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g 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. 

Sourdough Discard Not Hot Cross Buns – makes 12 regular size buns.
Fruit Mix
60g each sultanas, raisins and currants
200mls boiling water
1 Earl Grey tea bag
50g dried apricots, chopped
1 tsp finely grated orange rind

Bun Dough
140g milk
10g dried yeast
1 egg
60g soft brown sugar
340g bread flour
120g sourdough discard
1 tsp fine salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp each ground nutmeg, ground allspice and cloves
60g softened unsalted butter

Crossing Mixture (optional)
100g plain flour
100 mls water
2 tbs sunflower oil
½ tsp ground nutmeg

100g caster sugar
2 tbs water
2 tsps finely grated orange rind
125mls strained orange juice

To serve
Butter and jam

Fruit soak
Place the sultanas, raisins and currants, tea bag and 200mls boiling water in a bowl. Set aside for an hour or until the fruit is plump. Remove the tea bag and drain fruit well, discarding the liquid. Pat the fruit dry with a paper towel. Add the dried apricots and 1 tsp orange zest just before incorporating into the dough.

Gently warm the milk then add the dried yeast and stir to combine. Cover and leave for 10 minutes until bubbles appear in the mixture. Mix in the egg and brown sugar and stir to dissolve.

Place the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sourdough discard, salt, spices and the egg mixture to the bowl, then using the dough hook, mix for about 5-6 minutes until the dough starts to come together and all clumps have disappeared. The dough should start to pull from the sides of the bowl but it will not completely remove from the bottom. With the mixer on low, add the butter one piece at a time, waiting to add each until the previous is absorbed. When all the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium and beat the butter into the dough until all the little butter pieces are incorporated and the dough is very smooth and elastic - this could take around 8-10 minutes. The dough should feel tacky.

Scrape the dough into a greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Add the fruit mixture with the first fold. Place your fingers or a spatula underneath the dough and gently pull the dough up and fold it back over itself. Turn the bowl and repeat this folding again. Continue 6 to 8 more times, until all the dough has been folded over on itself. Re-cover the bowl with plastic and let rise for 30 minutes. Repeat this series of folding 3 more times, for a rise time of 2 hours and a total of 4 foldings. At this stage I cover the dough and refrigerate it overnight.

The next day, remove the dough from the fridge and knead for 1 minute, then divide into 12 equal pieces. Use your hand to roll each piece on the work surface to form a round bun. Place buns close together on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover and set aside for 1-2 hours or until risen and soft to the touch. While the buns are proving, make the crossing mixture (if using) and preheat the oven to 190°C, conventional.

Crossing mixture
Place all the ingredients for the crossing mix in a bowl and whisk to form an elastic batter. If it’s too thick, add a little extra water. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 5mm plain nozzle. Once the buns have risen, pipe a cross on the top of each bun. Place the buns on the centre rack and bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the tin and bake for a further 7-10 minutes until dark golden. While the buns are in the oven, make the glaze.


Combine the sugar, water, the orange rind and the juice and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes or until syrupy. Remove from the oven. Brush hot cross buns with the glaze and cool a little, then slide the baking paper and buns onto a wire rack. Serve warm with butter. These buns are best served on the day they're made or toasted the following day.

I shared the buns with my neighbours and froze the rest. These were easily the best hot cross buns I've ever made. They tasted great and the buns were so soft and fluffy. I don't know if it was the sourdough discard or the extra stretch and folds I added but for the future I'll be doing both.
I hope you enjoyed the Easter break with your families. See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.
Bye for now,


passover week 2022 - passover plum and walnut cake

7 Apr 2022


When I finally made the Ottolenghi Apricot walnut and lavender cake last year, I noticed it contained very little flour. I figured I could easily adapt the recipe for Passover, so when plums were in season I froze a dozen because I wanted to make a plum version of the cake. It would be just as easy to make this cake gluten free.



I figured the plums would overpower the delicate flavour of lavender so I left it out. Instead of flour I used my Passover mix, which is equal quantities of superfine matzo meal mixed with potato or tapioca starch.

Plums are much juicier than apricots so the finished cake is very moist but also very delicious. Rather than icing the cake I decided to glaze the plums. I used a lemon drizzle to do this but thinned apricot jam brushed over the top would work just as well.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17cm cake. If you'd like to make a larger cake please refer to the original recipe for quantities. 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.
Passover plum and walnut cake – adapted from Plenty More Cookbook 
90g unsalted butter, at room temperature 
2 tsp olive oil 
120g caster sugar, reserve 1 tbs 
60g almond meal 
the seeds of ½ a vanilla bean 
1 tsp grated lemon rind 
2 large eggs, whisked 
60g walnuts, freshly blitzed in a food processor to a coarse powder 
45g Passover mix (equal quantities superfine matzo meal and potato starch) sifted 
Pinch salt 
400g pitted plums, quartered 
1-2 tbs Apricot jam warmed or lemon drizzle
Lemon drizzle (optional) 
1 tbs caster sugar 
1 tbs water 
1 tbs lemon juice 
Preheat the oven to 190ºC, conventional. Grease and line the base and sides of a 17-cm cake pan with baking paper.

Place the butter, oil, sugar, almond meal, vanilla seeds and lemon rind in a stand mixer and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Add the eggs in small additions and continue to beat until well incorporated then fold in the ground walnuts, the Passover mix and salt.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to smooth the top. Arrange the plum quarters slightly overlapping all over the top of the cake, taking them right to the edge. Sprinkle over the reserved sugar.

Bake for 70-80 minutes – cover with foil if the top starts to brown too much; also, note that when you insert a skewer to test for doneness, it will come out a little sticky because of all the moisture in the apricots.

While the cake is in the oven prepare the drizzle if using. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, dab the drizzle or warmed jam over the top of the cake then leave the cake to cool before serving.

Plums are much juicier than apricots so the finished cake is very moist and almost pudding like in texture but also very delicious. 

See you all again tomorrow with the final recipe for Passover week 2022.

Bye for now,



passover week 2022 - chewy salted almond and chocolate chunk cookies

6 Apr 2022

Welcome to Day 3 of Passover week and the ultimate chocolate chunk cookie challenge. Is it possible to make a delicious Passover cookie without using bicarbonate of soda I asked myself? Technically bicarb soda can be used during Passover but my grandmother wouldn't have used it so neither will I.

Due to the use of specialty flours, gluten free recipes can often be adapted into Passover recipes. I turned to my usual source, Aran Goyoaga and decided to adapt her recipe for roasted almond and chocolate chunk cookies. 

The original recipe uses buckwheat flour and I was going to have to use superfine matzo meal instead. When I compared the ability of both flours to absorb water, the matzo meal absorbed way more water than the buckwheat flour so I reduced the amount of matzo meal in the recipe and added a tablespoon of water in an attempt to get something close to the right texture.

I've made the regular cookies before and the texture of the raw dough made with matzo meal wasn't quite the same. Despite my changes the cookie dough was much drier, but I went ahead and baked them anyway. The end result was a lovely 
tasty chewy cookie which didn't spread quite as much as the original cookie probably due to the lack of baking soda.

Here's the recipe for you which makes 15 cookies. Whilst they can be baked straight away I prefer to make the dough the day before then chill it overnight. 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.

Passover Salted Almond and Chocolate Chunk Cookies- makes 15 cookies
Scant ½ cup (120g) almond butter
55g unsalted butter, room temperature
Scant ½ cup (100g) caster sugar
¼ cup (55g) light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
105g superfine matzo meal
1½ tbs (12g) almond meal
1 tbs water
½ tsp sea salt flakes
90g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped, divided
90g roasted and salted almonds, coarsely chopped, divided
Flaky sea salt (optional)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the almond butter, butter, caster sugar and brown sugar. Beat on medium speed until creamy and light, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and the egg then beat until combined.

In a small bowl, stir together both meals and the salt. Add to the mixer and beat until it nearly comes together. Add about three quarters of the chopped almonds and chocolate (65g each) and continue beating until combined. The dough will be sticky and spread a bit. Cover the bowl then refrigerate the dough overnight.

The following day preheat oven to 190°C, conventional and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Portion out 40g dough, about 1½ tbs of dough per cookie. Place 6-8 cookies onto each prepared baking tray. Dot the tops of the cookies with some of the remaining chopped almonds and chocolate chunks. Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt on top.

I bake the trays one at a time and I rotate the tray mid bake to ensure even browning. Bake the cookies until the edges are golden brown but the centre still appears soft, 9 to 12 minutes. The tops will puff up slightly. 
Repeat with the second tray. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet until you can lift them without falling apart, at least 10 minutes. When cool, store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 

I shared the cookies with my neighbours and took the leftovers into work. They were gone in a flash and apart from Minnie, my 4 year old neighbour who did not like the roasted salted almonds, they were declared a hit. I think I actually preferred the slight matzo meal flavour in the cookie over the bolder flavour of the buckwheat cookies.

See you all again tomorrow with another Passover bake.

Bye for now,


passover week 2022 - rhubarb berry galette

5 Apr 2022


Every Passover I try my hand at making pastry. Last year I adapted a gluten free recipe from Aran Goyoaga where you press the pastry into the tin and it worked out pretty well but I wanted to be able to roll out the pastry.

This year
I adapted a different gluten free pastry recipe from Aran which I used to make this galette. I was going to make the filling from this caramelised apple galette but when I spied rhubarb in the fruit shop I quickly changed my mind. 

Each year I trim a bunch of rhubarb to freeze so I can enjoy rhubarb out of season. On this occasion I used fresh rhubarb and a mix of fresh and frozen berries to make the filling. The amount of sugar is just a guide as rhubarb can be very tart.

The pastry is fragile so you do need to treat it gently. Any cracks in the pastry can be pinched back together and as a galette is a rustic affair, it just adds to it's charm. 

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 9 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
Passover rhubarb and berry galette – adapted from an Aran Goyoaga recipe
1 scant cup (125g) superfine matzo meal 
¼ cup (25g) almond meal 
2 tbs tapioca starch 
3 tsp caster sugar 
pinch sea salt 
110g unsalted butter, cut into 1cm pieces 
1 egg yolk 
2 - 4 tablespoons iced water 
250g rhubarb cut into 2 cm pieces 
125 mixed berries, fresh or frozen 
4 tbs caster sugar 
1 tbs tapioca starch 
1 tsp finely grated orange rind 
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped 
Pinch of salt
To finish 
1 egg white
1 - 2 tbs raw sugar 
1 tbs warmed orange marmalade 
1 - 2 tbs chopped pistachios

Combine the first 5 ingredients in the food processor and pulse to aerate. Add the diced butter and pulse ten times until butter is the size of peas. Whisk together the egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of ice water. Add it to the dough and pulse until it comes together. Add more ice water if needed. Knead the dough a couple of times and wrap it in plastic wrap forming a flat disc. Refrigerate for 1 hour. 
Preheat oven to 220⁰C, conventional. Toss all the filling ingredients together in the bowl and macerate for about 10 minutes while you roll the dough to about 10-inches in diameter (or about 1/4-inch thick)

Transfer the dough to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Pile the filling in the middle of the dough and fold the edges over the fruit using the baking paper as support. It’s okay if the dough cracks a bit – simply pinch it back together. 
Whisk the egg white a little with a fork to break it up then brush the egg white all over the edges of the dough. Sprinkle the top of the filling and the pastry with the raw sugar. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven then lower the oven temperature to 190⁰C and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling bubbling. 
Place the galette on a wire rack and gently dab the filling with the warmed marmalade before sprinkling over the chopped pistachios. The crust is very tender when warm so let it cool and settle a little before serving. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 
Once cooled, the pastry turned out pretty well and I managed to cut 4 fairly neat slices. I shared the galette with my neighbours who were unaware the pastry was made with matzo meal, almonds and tapioca starch. I found the filling a bit tart so maybe another tablespoon of sugar wouldn't go astray. Now I'm going off to make another galette but this time with the caramelised apple filling.
See you all again tomorrow with some more Passover baking.
Bye for now,


Passover week 2022 - flourless chocolate espresso cake

4 Apr 2022

Every Passover I make a flourless chocolate cake and to date I've not repeated a recipe because there are so many out there.

This recipe comes from 'Old Food' by Australian writer Jill Dupleix. Jill adapted Julia Child's recipe for Reine de Saba or Queen of Sheba cake by doubling the amount of chocolate. The only change I made to the recipe to make it Passover friendly was to leave out the rum and I also reduced the baking time to 35 minutes to ensure a squidgy centre. I've made this cake a few times now usually with almond meal and on this occasion with hazelnut meal and whilst they're both nice, I think I prefer the cake made with hazelnut meal. 

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17cm cake. If you'd like to make a larger cake you can try this recipe, adding 1-2 tbs warm espresso to the mix. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g 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. 

Flourless chocolate espresso cake, adapted from Old Food by Jill Dupleix.
Cocoa powder
125g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp strong, warm espresso coffee
85g caster sugar
85g unsalted butter, chopped
65g almond or hazelnut meal
3 eggs, separated 
Pinch salt
Heat the oven to 175ºC, conventional. Lightly grease and dust a 17cm round cake tin with cocoa; line the base with baking paper. 

Place the chocolate, coffee, sugar and butter in a bowl sitting in a pot of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water. 
Once the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat and stir until well mixed. Add the ground nuts and mix well. Beat in the egg yolks one by one. Beat the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl with a pinch of salt until stiff and peaky and stir a couple of spoonfuls into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, before gently folding in the rest.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 35 - 45 minutes (less for squidgy and more for cakey) or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Leave to cool before removing from the tin and don’t worry if the crust falls or collapses. That’s perfectly normal, if not desirable. Just before serving dust the top of the cake with cocoa.
See you all again tomorrow with some more baking for Passover week 2022.
Bye for now,
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