The “Everything” cake

Photo by Gary Corbett

“This cake came about when I was asked to make a gluten-free cake for a catering gig. I wasn’t happy with the texture of my mud cake when I use GF flour so I decided to try something else. It’s a combination of a carrot, banana and hummingbird cake with added crunch from nuts, pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips. The layers are smothered with moorish cream cheese icing and it’s decorated with toasted coconut and pineapple flowers. Needless to say it’s a real show stopper and utterly delicious! Enjoy”

You can watch the video here:

https://youtu.be/MOpNdupeArE

Cake ingredients

  • 150g GF plain flour
  • 150g almond meal
  • 150g desiccated coconut
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 200g olive oil
  • 250g brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 100g soft butter
  • 80g yoghurt
  • 200g crushed and drained pineapple
  • 400g mashed banana
  • 200g grated carrot
  • 100g chopped walnuts
  • 60g pumplin seeds
  • 80g chocolate chips
Cake method
  1. Heat your oven to 180 Celsius
  2. Combine GF lour, almond meal, coconut, baking powder, baking soda, mixed spice and salt. Mix and set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer whisk together oil, brown sugar, eggs, butter and yoghurt until combined.
  4. Add the pineapple, banana and carrots and mix to combine.
  5. Stir in your dry ingredients and mix to combine.
  6. Stir through the walnuts, pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips.
  7. Spray and line 3 x 20cm cake tins and divide the batter between them, smoothing the tops.
  8. Bake at 180 Celsius for 40-45 minutes then allow to cool.

 Cream cheese icing ingredients

  • 300g soft cream cheese
  • 300g soft butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon coconut essence
 Cream cheese icing method
  1. Whip the cream cheese, butter, lemon zest and coconut essence together until combined.
  2. Add the icing sugar in stages and beat until smooth.
  3. Refrigerate until needed
Pineapple flowers method
  1. Peel your pineapple and remove any eyes or blemishes.
  2. Cut into thin disks and lay on a lined baking tray.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes at 100 Celsius.
  4. Remove and flip the pineapple and bake for another 30 minutes.
  5. Place each pineapple ring in a muffin tin and bake for a further 30 minutes. You can turn the heat off and let them cool in the oven.
To make the cake
  1. Cut each cake in half.
  2. Spread a layer of cream cheese icing between each slice.
  3. Spread icing on the top and sides of the cake and smooth down with a cake scraper or offset spatula.
  4. Decorate with toasted coconut and pineapple flowers.

Mum’s sago plum pudding

“For as long as I can remember Mum has made a sago plum pudding for our Christmas meal.  I thought it was about time that she taught me how to make it! You may notice there doesn’t seem to be any plums in the recipe, but I assume the original version did. Sago is an ingredient made from the starchy centre of a tropical palm. In this recipe it acts as the binding agent in place of eggs. As there is no flour, the gluten comes from bread crumbs making the pudding incredibly moist!  We’ve always eaten it with lashings of custard and whipped cream. Flaming the pudding is an optional but exciting addition, just make sure there is a fire extinguisher handy. Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons sago
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon soft butter
  • 85g sugar
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 250g sultanas
  • 60g currents
  • 60g glacé cherries
  • 60g chopped dried apricots
  • 90g breadcrumbs
Method
  1. Put sago and milk in a saucepan over medium heat and cook while stirring for 10-15 minutes. The mixture will go quite gluey and the sago will plump up and become slightly translucent.
  2. Stir in the butter, sugar and bicarb. Set aside to cool slightly
  3. Mix together the remaining ingredients.
  4. Add the sago mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together.
  5. Butter a steamed pudding tin and place a round of baking paper at the bottom.
  6. Transfer the pudding batter into the tin and smooth the top. Put on the lid.
  7. Bring about 5cm of water to the boil in a large stock pot, then carefully place the steaming tin inside with the pot lid on. Simmer for 4 hours. You may need to top up the water level as it cooks. I check every 30 minutes.
  8. Turn the pudding onto a serving plate.
  9. To flame the pudding bring 1/4 cup of vodka, brandy or any other clear alcohol to the boil in a small saucepan. Carefully light the alcohol and pour over the pudding. (This is best done with the lights dimmed for best effect.)
  10. Serve slices of the pudding with custard and whipped cream.

Gluten free lemon bars


Photos by Gary Corbett

“I’ve decided I need to master gluten free baking! When I cater I always have to do some gluten free items and tend to fall back on things like a chocolate flan with hazelnut meal or an orange almond cake.  I decided to try a gluten free lemon bar because I love the non GF version and it seemed to be easy to make using almond flour and corn flour. The result was delicious! You can also substitute lime or passionfruit juice or as I did, a combination of two juices. It also works brilliantly as a dessert with fresh berries and a dollop of thick cream. Enjoy!”

Ingredients for the base

  • 200g almond meal
  • 25g corn flour
  • 75g white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 100g cold butter
Method for the base
  1. Preheat your oven to 180 C.
  2. Line a 20cm square baking dish with baking paper making sure the paper comes all the way up each side. This makes it much easier to remove from the tin once it’s baked.
  3. Cut your cold butter into 1cm squares and add to a food processor with the other ingredients.
  4. Blitz the mix until its come together.
  5. Press into your baking tray and smooth the top with a spoon.
  6. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.
  7. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Ingredients for the custard
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g white sugar
  • 100g lemon, lime or passionfruit juice (I used 50g lemon and 50g passionfruit)
  • 20g corn flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Method for the custard
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until combined.
  2. Pour over your cooled base.
  3. Bake in a 180 C oven for 15-20 minutes or until the custard has just set.
  4. Allow to cool on the bench then cover with cling wrap and let cool completely in the fridge.
  5. Once cool, Cut into bars and serve sprinkled with icing sugar or serve as a dessert with fresh berries and thick cream.

 

 

Spotted dick

Photo by Gary Corbett

“Who doesn’t like a spotted dick. (Insert giggling here). This traditional English steamed pudding is delicious on a cold night and very moorish. I’ve omitted the suet and added some sour cream and boozed-up the sultanas. You can use other dried fruit or nuts if you want and I’ve changed out the traditional custard for a French style Sabayon. Enjoy!”

Spotted dick ingredients

  • 200g sultanas
  • 1 cup muscat
  • 250g frozen butter
  • 400g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 150g white sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 6 eggs
Method
  1. Place your sultanas and muscat in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer an cook for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool in the liquid.
  2. Grate 250g of frozen butter into a bowl. Add 400g of self-raising flour and gently mix through with your fingers so the butter is coated in flour.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 150g of white sugar and the zest from 1 lemon and mix to combine.
  4. Drain the sultanas and add to the mix. Keep the soaking liquid for the sabayon.
  5. Whisk 6 eggs with 1/4 cup of sour cream and 1/4 cup milk. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
  6. Butter the inside of your steaming tin then put in 1 tablespoon of plain flour and shake so it coats the butter.
  7. Transfer the batter to the tin and smooth the top.
  8. Cut a piece of baking paper to fit over the batter and cut a few slits in the top. Smooth this over the batter and put the lid on the tin.
  9. In a large pot place a small ramekin or heatproof bowl inside and pour in boiling water to just cover it.
  10. Place the steaming tin inside on top of the ramekin and put a lid on the pot.
  11. Bring your water to a simmer and let the pudding steam for 90 to 120 minutes. Every half hour check the water level and add more boiling water if necessary.
  12. Carefully remove the steaming tin and test to see if the pudding is cooked by putting a knife or skewer in. If it doesn’t come out clean then put the tin back to steam for another 10 or 20 minutes. (In the size tin I have this took 2 hours)
Sabayon ingredients
  • 3 eggs (or 6 yolks)
  • 150ml muscat (from soaking sultanas)
  • 120g white sugar
Method
  1. Mix all ingredients together until completely combined.
  2. Transfer to a saucepan and continuously stir on  medium heat until the sabayon has thickened.
  3. Serve a slice of spotted dick with the sabayon and a dollop of thick cream. Enjoy!

 Youtube video link

https://youtu.be/ECMwBtcTGfI

 

 

Corn, cheese and herb muffins

Photo by Gary Corbett

“These corn, cheese and herb muffins were one of the earliest things I remember baking (once I left home).  They’re incredibly moorish and fabulous warmed up with a bit of butter.  They also freeze really well so you can throw one in your bag straight from the freezer for morning tea. You can use whatever fresh or dried herbs you have to hand, so I used a combination of sage and parsley.  Good luck eating only one! Enjoy!”

You can find the video on my Musical Menus YouTube page.

https://youtu.be/2UQ4ptY6oMw

Ingredients

  • 200g creamed corn
  • 200g buttermilk
  • 60g melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 300g frozen, tinned or fresh corn kernels
  • 75g grated cheddar
  • 75g grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped herbs (I used sage and parsley)
  • 300g self raising flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Extra parmesan for topping

Method

  1. Heat your oven to 180 celsius.
  2.  In a food processor, whisk the creamed corn, buttermilk, melted butter and eggs together.
  3. In another bowl mix the corn kernels, cheeses, herbs and flour until combined.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  5. Spray a silicon muffin pan (or use cupcake liners) and spoon a heaped tablespoon of mixture into each cup.
  6. Sprinkle each muffin with a bit of parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool and then devour!

Christmas Chocolate Fudge Cake (GF)

“This recipe came from necessity.  I needed a dessert for a catering job that was Christmas themed and gluten free, so I adapted my mud-cake recipe to include some Christmas flavours.  The result was a super moist cake that works brilliantly as a warm dessert served with ice cream or custard and a hearty cake for your Christmas celebrations.  If you don’t need it gluten free then substitute regular flour.  For the dessert cake I slightly undercook it so it is still fudge and moist inside. Enjoy”

Ingredients

  • 375g dark chocolate
  • 250g butter
  • 600ml water (or red wine)
  • 300g almond meal
  • 200g gluten free self raising flour
  • 400g dark sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 150 chopped walnuts or almonds
  • 5 eggs
  • 1kg Christmas mince (Recipe on “Christmas Mince Pies” post)
Method
  1. Place chocolate, butter and water (or red wine) in a saucepan and bring to a medium heat, stirring occasionally until all ingredients are melted and combined.  Allow to cool.
  2. Combine in a mixing bowl the almond meal, GF flour, sugar and spices.
  3. Beat the eggs and mix into the cooled chocolate mixture.
  4. Add the Christmas mince to the chocolate mixture and stir through.
  5. Pour the chocolate mixture and the nuts into the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  6. Pour into a large flat lined dish or several smaller ones.  I use one that is 35cm by 24cm.  If you try to use a traditional cake pan it will take ages to cook and burn around the edges.  You want the cake to be about 4cm tall (It won’t rise much at all)
  7. Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 45 minutes or until just set.  As long as there’s no movement in the cake when you move it and a skewer comes out relatively clean it should be fine.
  8. Allow to cool in the pan in the fridge before turning out and cutting.

Caramel Sweet Potato Cake

“This is one of the most popular cakes I’ve made in ages.  The recipe I adapted seemed too weird not to try it, but the combination of soft sweet potato and white chocolate makes for an amazing texture.  I also love the rustic drizzle of the warm ganache flavoured with apricot jam.  Very Moorish! Enjoy”

(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 400g peeled sweet potato
  • 300g white chocolate
  • 230g butter
  • 300g dark brown sugar
  • 100g golden syrup or molasses
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 375g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
For the ganache
  • 100g cream
  • 150g white chocolate
  • 70g apricot jam
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Peel the sweet potato and cut into 2cm cubes.  Place in a steamer for 15 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft.  Remove from steamer and allow to cool.
  3. Melt the butter and white chocolate over a low heat, stirring regularly until combined.  Allow to cool.
  4. In a mixer beat the eggs, sugar and golden syrup until combined.
  5. Add the yoghurt and vanilla and beat until combined.
  6. Mash the sweet potato or process in a food processor until no lumps remain.
  7. Add sweet potato to wet ingredients and beat until combined.
  8. Add the flour and baking powder to wet ingredients and stir through until combined.
  9. Grease and line a 25-30cm springform pan.  Pour in cake batter and bake for 40-50 minutes.  I found I needed to cover the cake with aluminium foil for the last 15 minutes to prevent burning the top.
  10. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the cake tin.
For the ganache
  1. Bring the cream to a light simmer and add the jam.  Stir or whisk until the jam has dissolved into the cream.  Add the white chocolate and stir until smooth.  You may need to put the pan back on a low heat if the cream has cooled down too much.
  2. Allow the ganache to cool slightly.  While the ganache is still runny our slowly over the cake.  I applied a thin layer first and allowed it to cool on the cake before drizzling the rest over.
  3. Serve with whipped cream or Greek yoghurt

 

 

 

 

Lemon Lemonies

“In an attempt to find a good white chocolate brownie recipe and use up a surplus of lemons I ended up with a delicious combination I’ve called “Lemon Lemonies”.   It took three  attempts to get the combination right, but the final one has the moist consistency of a brownie and a tangy kick from the lemons.  And they’re gluten-free!   Great for a morning tea with a cup of English Breakfast tea with a slice of lemon.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 340g white chocolate
  • 340g butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 300g sugar
  • Rind and juice from 2 lemons
  • Pinch of salt
  • 215g almond meal
  • 135g slivered almonds
  • 50g extra white chocolate for decoration
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line and grease a 20cm brownie tin.
  2. Melt the white chocolate and butter in a saucepan then leave to cool for 20 minutes.
  3. Beat the eggs and sugar until combined then add the lemon rind and juice.
  4. Fold in the salt, almond meal and slivered almonds.
  5. Transfer to brownie tin and smooth the top.
  6. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the top is lightly brown and cake is cooked through.  It should still be a little moist when you take it out and will firm up once it’s cooled.
  7. Once cooled melt 50g of white chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each.  Put in a piping bag or sandwich bag and cut a small hole in the corner.  Pipe the white chocolate onto the lemon lemonies.

 

Lime and Pistachio Cake

“I’m embarressed about how long it’s been since I’ve posted anything here!  What with work, catering, cake design and the installation of a new kitchen, It’s been shunted to last priority.  I’m determined to turn over a new leaf and have a few recipes in my back-log to post in the coming weeks.  I made this cake for a work colleague’s birthday when I had a surplus of lemons.  The flavour and texture was brilliant but I decided to tweak the recipe to give it a bit more texture.  Feel free to use whatever fruit you like for the compote.  I think the strawberries and cherries were a great colour splash for the finished dish. You can also substitute lemons for limes but personally I liked this version better. Enjoy!”

(Photos by Gary Corbett)

Ingredients

Cake

  • 250g room temperature butter
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 3 room temperature eggs
  • zest from 3 limes
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 50g diced pistachios
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
Syrup
  • Juice from 3 limes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
Fruit compote
  •  Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup strawberry liquor
Method
  1. Preheat your oven to 140 degrees (Fan forced).
  2. Grease and line a 20cm spring-form tin.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time until combined.
  4. Add the sour cream and lime zest and beat until combined.
  5. Fold in the pistachios and flour.
  6. Spoon mixture into prepared tin and smooth the top with a spatular.
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the top is lightly golden.
  8. While cake is baking place lime juice and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  9. When cake is done remove from the oven and pierce numerous holes with a skewer.
  10. Pour over lime syrup and refrigerate.
  11. For fruit compote cut the strawberries into quarters, de-seed and halve the cherries.
  12. Add fruit, sugar and liquor to saucepan and heat until fruit has just softened. (If you cook it too long you’ll get jam!)  Leave to cool.
  13. Decorate the cake with pistachios then serve a wedge of the lime cake with some fruit compote and a dollop of cream.

 

 

 

Red wine chocolate mud cake

“This would have to be my new favourite cake!  I’ve always loved a good mud cake but adding the red wine and spices adds a new dimension to this devilishly good dessert.  The smell while it’s cooking is intense and indulgent, filling the house with a mulled-wine aroma that’s hard to beat.  The addition of the port buttercream adds another dimension but I also make it with a basic ganache.  The best news is it’s so simple to make (although the decorating has taken a while for me to get proficient).  This is also one of those recipes that works just as well as a cupcake and lasts really well for up to five days without losing it’s texture.  Enjoy!”

(Photos by Gary Corbett)

Ingredients

  • 375g dark chocolate
  • 250g butter
  • 600ml red wine
  • 4 eggs
  • 400g dark sugar
  • 450g self raising flour
  • 1 tbsp mixed spice

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Place chocolate, butter and red wine in a saucepan and heat on medium stirring occasionally until all the ingredients have melted and combined.  Allow to cool for 1/2 and hour.
  3. Beat the eggs and the sugar until combined.
  4. Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the eggs and beat until combined.
  5. Stir in the flour and spice until combined.
  6. Pour into 2 lined 20cm cake tins and cook for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out dry.
  7. Allow the cakes to cool.“If you plan to decorate your cakes in fondant, cover cakes in glad wrap and refrigerate until the cakes become completely cooled and solid.  This makes slicing them much easier.  If you want to make a simpler version, slice the cakes in half and fill with cream, ganache or butter cream or use sliced strawberries or fresh raspberries. But for pure indulgence I’ve included my port buttercream recipe.  Try not to eat more buttercream than goes in the cake!”

Ingredients

  • 1 cup port
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 200g room temperature butter
  • 400g icing sugar
  • a splash of port

Method

  1. place port and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.  Stir until the sugar has dissolved then reduce to a low heat and let the port reduce to 1/3 of a cup.
  2. Place the reduced port in a container and refrigerate until cool.
  3. Add butter and cooled port (it will be very thick and sticky!) to a food processor and mix until combined.  (You may have to stop the machine several times to help combine the sticky port mixture into the butter).
  4. Add the icing sugar and a splash of port and mix until smooth.
  5. Remove the cooled cakes from the fridge and cut off the domed tops.  Slice the cakes in half and fill with port buttercream making sure the top level of the cake is the bottom of one of your cakes.
  6. Cover the cake in chocolate ganache and decorate with fondant.