strawberry ricotta loaf

28 Jan 2024

Before Christmas I reserved a copy of Danielle Alvarez's new book, Recipes for a Lifetime of Beautiful Cooking, from the library. It finally arrived and I've been perusing it on my train journey home from work. I've bookmarked many recipes, but this recipe for
a strawberry and ricotta loaf stood out to me. It's made with spelt flour, which is a bit hard to find so I did a wholemeal/plain flour combination instead and I reduced the quantities to fit my handy-dandy half size loaf tin.

I've made a few strawberry topped cakes and sometimes the strawberries can dry out and get a bit tough during the baking process so I macerated the strawberry slices in a bit of sugar and lemon juice to keep them soft and juicy.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a small loaf cake. 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.

Strawberry and ricotta loaf
150g flour (I used 40g wholemeal/110g plain flour)
1 tsp baking powder
pinch fine sea salt
40ml milk
65g ricotta
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
165g strawberries 
2½ tsp lemon zest 
1 tsp lemon juice
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature or slightly warmer (but not melted)
150g caster sugar
1 tablespoon raw sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C conventional. Line a small loaf tin with baking paper, allowing the sides of the paper to extend past the edges of the tin.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk and ricotta. Set both bowls aside.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl (do not whisk) and add the vanilla extract. Set aside. Hull and chop half of the strawberries. Place in a small bowl and combine them with the lemon zest and 1 tsp of the caster sugar. Hull and cut the remaining strawberries into rounds. Place in a small bowl, then sprinkle over 1 tsp of the caster sugar and the lemon juice. Set both lots of strawberries aside, keeping them separate.

Put the butter and the remaining caster sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on a high speed until the mixture is light, fluffy and almost white in colour. This will take about 5–7 minutes. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides as needed.

With the machine running, add the eggs, letting one slide in at a time, and waiting until each egg is fully incorporated before adding in the next.

Stop the machine, add in half the flour mixture, and turn the machine on to low speed to just combine. Add in the milk-ricotta mixture and mix until combined. Stop the machine again and add in the remaining flour mixture. Return the machine to a low speed and mix until it all just comes together. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and gently fold in the chopped strawberries and lemon zest.

Pour the batter into the tin; level the batter and top with the strawberry rounds. Sprinkle the raw sugar over the strawberries and bake on the centre rack of the preheated 180°C conventional oven for 70–80 minutes,or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let the loaf cool in the tin before turning it out. Slice and serve.

I love ricotta cakes because they're always so tender with a lovely crumb and this cake was no exception. It was simply delicious and I can't wait to make the cake again using other fruits like blueberries, plums or rhubarb or even blood orange.

Thanks for the recipe, Danielle.

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

Bye for now,



plum and olive oil cake

26 Jan 2024

It's stone fruit season here, so I'm baking with them every chance I can get. I spied blood plums in the fruit shop and came home to make plum cake, but which recipe to use?

I decided to adapt a Silvia Colocca recipe, using plums instead of apricots. The recipe is very easy to put together a makes a lovely tender cake. Here's the recipe for you which makes 8 slices. 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.

Plum and olive oil cake 
6-8 plums, deseeded and quartered
150g caster sugar, reserve 1 tbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
100 ml oil (I used a combination of extra virgin olive and canola oil)
1⅓ cups (200 g) self-raising flour   
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch salt
⅓ cup milk
¼ cup flaked almonds, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 180°C, conventional. Grease and line a 20 cm square tin with baking paper.

Sprinkle the sliced plums with a tbs of caster sugar and set to one side. In a medium bowl, using a balloon whisk combine the beaten eggs with the remaining sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Slowly drizzle in the oil and whisk until well combined. 

Sift the flour, the bicarbonate of soda and salt into a small bowl. Add to the egg mixture in batches alternating with the milk and whisk to form a smooth loose batter. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and arrange the plum slices on top any way you like because they will sink to the bottom of the cake as it cooks. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds and bake for 45 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Cool in the tin then turn out onto a wire rack and cool at room temperature for 1 hour before cutting into 8 slices.


Easy to make and even easier to eat.

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

Bye for now,


mango passionfruit lamingtons

21 Jan 2024

It's become a tradition on the blog to make something lamington inspired for Australia Day. Last year I made raspberry lamingtons; this year I made a batch of tropical flavoured mango and passion fruit lamingtons.

I used the brown butter sponge recipe from Beatrix Bakes and dipped the lamingtons in mango jelly inspired by this recipe here. The cakes were sandwiched with passionfruit curd and unsweetened whipped cream. If making curd isn't your thing, just buy some lemon curd and stir through some passionfruit pulp. The lamingtons are best made over 2 days giving time for the cakes to firm up before they're dipped.

Here's the recipe for you which makes 12 lamingtons. 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°CThe cake and curd should be made the day ahead and the mango jelly prepared a few hours before dipping the lamingtons.

Mango passionfruit lamingtons – makes 12
Brown butter sponge
160g plain flour
½ tsp salt
4 room temperature eggs 
150g caster sugar
85g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Passionfruit Curd
2 eggs
60 ml passion fruit pulp, reserve 1 tbs
60 ml lemon juice
80g caster sugar
60g unsalted butter, softened and cut into small cubes

Mango Jelly
1 mango, peeled
85g pkt mango jelly crystals
250mls boiling water

Topping and filling 
1 cup each shredded coconut and desiccated coconut 
½ cup passionfruit curd
300ml thickened cream, lightly whipped with ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
Preheat the oven to 180°C, conventional. Grease and flour the 12 holes in a friand pan. Set aside while making the cake batter.

Sift the flour with the salt onto a piece of baking paper and set to one side. Over a pot of barely simmering water, heat the sugar and the eggs in the mixer bowl until they are hot to the touch. Pop the mixer bowl onto the stand mixer or use an electric hand whisk and whisk for 8 minutes on a medium/high speed until the egg mix is pale, fluffy and can hold a peak. While this is whisking, brown the butter. Either heat the butter in a saucepan over a low heat until the butter starts to turn a toasty brown or do this step in a covered bowl in the microwave. It usually takes about 5 minutes on high in the microwave but check every minute or so. You should have about 75g of browned butter. Remove from heat, add the vanilla and set aside. 

Gently scrape the egg mix into a wide, large-ish mixing bowl. Sift over half the flour/salt mix and gently fold in with a whisk, turning the mix over while spinning the bowl slowly. Fold in the remaining sifted flour until it has been fully incorporated. Slowly pour in the warm melted butter mix and fold in. Divide among the friand holes and bake for 20 minutes or until light golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool slightly, then cut around each friand to release before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, refrigerate overnight in a sealed tin. 

Passionfruit curd
To make the passion fruit curd, place the eggs, passionfruit pulp, lemon juice and sugar in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon for 8 minutes, until thick, then remove from the heat. You can also do this in a heatproof bowl in the microwave. Microwave on medium for 4-6 minutes, stirring every minute or until thickened. Pass the mixture through a sieve and whisk in the butter. Spoon through the reserved passionfruit pulp. Leave to cool before storing in a sealed container in the fridge.

Mango jelly – you’ll need to start this process an hour or two before dipping.
Put the cakes into the freeze before making the jelly. Process the flesh of 1 mango until smooth to give about 2/3 cup. Combine the jelly crystals in a bowl with 1 cup (250ml) boiling water, stirring to dissolve crystals. Stir in mango pulp. Chill until jelly starts to set around the edge of the bowl.

Once that’s done, set up a dunking station with your sponges, bowl of jelly, a wire rack, a small bowl of cold water (this has great non-stick properties), a tray of mixed coconut, and a resting tray for the completed lamingtons.

If the cakes have risen slightly, slice off the tops to give a flat surface. Dip each lamington into the jelly mixture, place on a wire rack over the jelly bowl to drain off any excess jelly. Dip your fingers in the cold water and pick up the lamington and place in the coconut and then roll the lamington in the coconut. Place the lamingtons on the resting tray then refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until the lamingtons have set. Refresh the coconut as needed.

When dry, cut the cakes in half horizontally. Spread one half with curd (1-2 tsp each); pipe or spoon the whipped cream on top and then sandwich together. Repeat with remaining cakes. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.

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

Bye for now,


cherry bakewell slice

15 Jan 2024

I did a deep dive into the pantry at my Father's house and unearthed some cherry conserve. I put my thinking cap on and decided to make a Cherry Bakewell Slice. I'd already bookmarked the Bakewell Bars recipe from Claire Ptak's new cookbook, Love is a Pink Cake, so I set to work adapting it for the only tin I'd brought with me, a 16cm round springform pan.

Some recipes are easy to downsize. This recipe is about 1/3 of the original recipe but when making it, I thought the shortbread layer was a little too generous, so I've reduced the quantity a little.

Here's the recipe for you which makes 8-12 slices. 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.

Cherry Bakewell Slice - makes 8 - 12 slices
60g unsalted butter, cold, cubed 
30g icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
75g plain flour
pinch salt
100g good-quality cherry jam

80g unsalted butter, softened
80g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
pinch fine sea salt
1 egg + 1 tbs egg white or milk
50g almond meal (I used a mix of whole almond meal and blanched)
30g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp melted butter
100g icing sugar
15 mls fresh lemon juice

To decorate
fresh or preserved cherries
Preheat the oven to 160°C fan/180°C, conventional. Grease, flour and line the base of a 16cm springform tin with baking paper.

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until the mixture has just come together into a ball. Press the pastry evenly into the prepared tin. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown, then remove from the oven. Let the base cool for 10 minutes before spreading the jam gently over the top.

Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy but not fluffy. Add the extract, salt, eggs and egg white (or milk), then beat well. Stir in the almond meal, flour and baking powder just to combine. Dollop this over the jam – don’t worry about spreading it evenly as it will melt into place in the oven and spreading it can cause the jam to get mixed in rather than remaining in its own layer. Return to the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until golden and set. Allow to cool for 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter and icing sugar. Add sufficient lemon juice to make a smooth, thick paste. Spread this glaze over the cooled Bakewell slice, decorate with cherries and then slice into 8-12 pieces.

I found 2 versions of this recipe online, one with icing and one without. I found the icing made the slice a little too sweet so I'm looking forward to trying the second version where the slice is topped with flaked almonds.

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

Bye for now,


passionfruit and lime melting moments

7 Jan 2024

I've been away from my kitchen for a month now and I've missed baking. I don't have my baking equipment with me; I don't have any props or linens nor my usual editing laptop so apologies if the images look a little lacklustre, but I just needed to bake.

I looked through the fridge and cupboards where I'm staying and realised I had enough ingredients to whip up a batch of melting moments, one of the first biscuits I ever made. The biscuits are made with both flour and cornflour (cornstarch) which give them their characteristic melting texture, then sandwiched together with butter cream. I'm sure the first batch I ever made used the recipe that was printed on the box of cornflour. I couldn't find the original recipe, but this recipe is pretty close and I sandwiched the biscuits with a 
passionfruit and lime flavoured butter cream.

Here’s the recipe for you which makes 10 filled biscuits which I adapted from this recipe. 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.

Passionfruit and lime melting moments – makes 10
125g unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (115g) plain flour
Pinch salt
1/4 cup (45g) pure icing sugar
1/3 cup (50g) cornflour (cornstarch)
1 tsp finely grated lime rind

Passionfruit filling
60g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (150g) pure icing sugar
Pinch salt
2 tsp lime juice
1 passionfruit

To serve
1 tbs icing sugar

Preheat oven to 160°C, conventional. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Place the softened butter into a small bowl then using electric hand beaters, beat the butter until pale and creamy. Add the flour, salt, icing sugar, cornflour and lime rind then stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. 

Hand-roll teaspoonfuls of mixture into 20 balls. Place on the lined tray, about 3cm apart. Use a fork dusted with cornflour to gently flatten to 2cm diameter. Bake for 15 minutes at 
160°C, conventional or until lightly golden and cooked through. Set aside on the tray to cool. 

Place the butter into a small bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until pale and creamy. Add the icing sugar, salt and lime juice and beat until well combined then spoon through the pulp. Place the filling in a small piping bag fitted with a fluted nozzle. 

Pipe or spoon a little of the filling onto the underside of a biscuit
 then sandwich with a second biscuit. Repeat with the remaining biscuits and filling and allow the filling to set before serving. 

Just before serving, dust the top of the biscuits with the remaining icing sugar. The sandwiched biscuits will keep, refrigerated, in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Unfilled, the plain biscuits will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Last night, I had a melting moment with my cup of tea and it was just as good as I remembered and best of all, I still have 9 biscuits left in the biscuit tin.

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

Bye for now,


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