“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”
“It’s time to think of what to do with all those leftover Easter eggs!…said no one ever! Â Well, if by chance you do have any leftover you could get your kids to make these super easy Easter chocolate crackles. They don’t require any cooking except to heat up theÂ copha and are a great treat kids can make themselves for parties. I’ve included sultanas (to make them vaguely more healthy) and optional nuts. Enjoy!”
4 cups rice bubbles
1 cup icing sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup sultanas
1/2 cup chopped almonds
Big mixing bowl
Microwave bowl or jug
Chop the copha into small pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl or jug. Microwave for bursts of 30 seconds until fully melted. Mine took about 2:30 from the fridge but if it’s at room temperature should take less.
Into the big bowl put the rice bubbles, Icing sugar, coconut, cocoa, sultanas and almonds. Using the big spoon mix it together until its we’ll combined. (This could also be done in a food processor)
Add the melted copha to the bowl and stir until it’s all combined.
Put the cupcake papers in the cupcake pans and spoon mixture into each one. I found this mixture made 17 chocolate crackles.
Sprinkle the sprinkles over each one.
Peel the foil off the Easter eggs and push down into each chocolate crackle.
“I’m always looking for quick and easy recipes to make for Christmas parties and presents. Â These biscuits are based on a Mexican recipe I found that I deleted the chilli and spices and added Christmas mince. Â They turned out so well I’ve had requests to make more. (Mainly from my husband) Â I love the texture of the crinkle and on the outside which is achieved by rolling them in icing sugar. Â Enjoy!”
(Photos by Gary Corbett)
450g plain flour
80g dutch cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
300g Christmas mince (Recipe on “Christmas Mince Pies” post)
Icing sugar to roll balls in
Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and salt in a bowl and mix well.
Beat the eggs with the oil, then stir in the Christmas mince.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and beat until combined.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes (this makes them easier to roll)
Put icing sugar into a small bowl.
Roll golf ball sized balls in your hand then roll then in the icing sugar until covered. Â shake off the excess and place on a parchment lined baking tray. Â (You can press them down slightly so they won’t roll around but don’t flatten them out. Â They will keep their ball-shape once they’re cooked.)
Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 10-12 minutes or until the crackle patten has emerged.
“Every year I make Christmas mince pies. Â Mum’s been doing making them for years but I’m sure mine are better! Â She will disagree with this. Â Anyway, this version is very tasty and vegan friendly. Â Of course, you can make them with a traditional shortcrust pastry but I love the texture of this pastry and it’s really easy to make and work with. This recipe makes enough pastry for about 3 dozen mince pies, so halve it if you don’t need that many. I make the Christmas mince in bulk every year and use it to make Christmas cakes, biscuits and other delicacies. I haven’t given weights for the dried fruit because with this method you can make as much or as little as you like and use a combination of fruits that you like best. Â I would also suggest you use less expensive cooking port or it can get expensive. Enjoy!”
(Photos by Gary Corbett)
Ingredients for Christmas mince
Method for Christmas mince
Cut up the dried fruit into small pieces or use a food processor.
Place fruit in a large saucepan pour over enough port to saturate the fruit.
Bring the heat up to medium and keep stirring until the port has been incorporated and the fruit has softened. There should be no liquid left in the mixture and the fruit should be glossy and sticky. Â (When doing 2kg of dried fruit this takes up to 20 minutes) You can always add more port and keep the mixture on the heat if you want cook it for longer.
Let the Christmas mince cool completely in the saucepan then transfer to a plastic container and refrigerate. Â Because of the high amount of natural sugars the Christmas mince will last for ages!
Ingredients for Vegan shortcrust pastry
190g Nutilex (or non-dairy margarine)
190g icing sugar
400g plain flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
Method for Vegan shortcrust pastry
Put all ingredients in a food processor and combine until it comes into a ball. Â If you mixture is crumbly add a small amount of cold water. If it’s to soft put some more flour in.
Empty mixture onto some plastic wrap and knead into a disc. (This will make it easier to roll out later)
Wrap disc in the plastic wrap and place in the fridge until needed.
Method for Christmas mince pies
Roll out the pastry until it’s about 5mm thick.
Cut out circles of pastry to fit your pans. Â (I have specialty pans that are shallow with a fluted edge that are perfect for these pies)
Press the pastry into the base of each mould so it comes a few centimetres up the side. (Or as deep as you want if you want bigger pies!)
Fill the moulds with the cooled Christmas mince and smooth the top.
Using Christmas cutters make tops for the pies. Â I use stars, Santas, Christmas trees or baubles for mine. Â You can also enclose the top completely if you like.
Before you put them in the oven you can use an egg-wash, milk or any vegan milks to paint over the pastry tops. Â Or you can sprinkle a bit of sugar over them.
Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 10-15 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and starting to brown.
Give to all your family and friends and everyone will love you!
“It’s been far too long since my last post.Â I blame it on moving house, orchestrating and conducting a ballet and catering.Â But I thought it was time to put a decadent cake recipe on my site that always gets the taste buds going.Â This cake is quite easy to make but takes a bit of time and patience to get it looking pretty.Â I also use this recipe for a cupcake version with a swirl of the butter cream on top.Â Beware, it’s pretty rich and definitely not for the diet-conscious.Â Enjoy!”
(Photo by Gary Corbett)
220g white chocolate
2 tbsp golden syrup
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
220g brown sugar
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup plain flour
For butter cream
300g softened butter
500g icing sugar
2 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 cup apricot jam
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C
Grease and line 2 20cm cake tins
Put butter, white chocolate, golden syrup, water, vanilla and salt in a saucepan and gently melt together, stirring constantly.Â Once all the ingredients are melted and mixed together leave to sit for 1/2 an hour
Beat sugar and eggs together until combined.
Add the cooled melted ingredients and then the flours.
Pour into prepared tines and bake for 1/2 and hour or until centre is cooked when a skewer is inserted.
Remove from the oven and let cool in the tins.Â Refrigerate until you are ready to ice.Â (This type of cake is much easier to cut and ice when completely cold so it can be made a day ahead if necessary.)
Carefully cut the domes of each cake to get a flat top then cut each cake into 2 discs.Â Keep the most even surface (usually the bottom) for the top layer of the cake.
To make the butter cream put icing sugar and ginger in a food processor and slowly add the softened butter until combined.
Heat the apricot jam in the microwave until runny and paint liberally on to 3 of the cake discs.
When the jam has cooled add a layer of the butter cream.
Assemble the layers finishing with the un-iced top layer.Â Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Remove from the fridge and put a thin layer of butter cream on the top and sides of the cake making sure to fill any gaps.Â This “Crumb layer” will make it much easier to get a smooth finish later.Â Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Put the final layer of butter cream on top and sides smoothing down to get a perfect finish.Â This cake is best served at room temperature.
Hello, my name is Craig.
Craig Allister Young is a cellist, orchestrator, arranger, singer and song-writer who works with the QLD Symphony Orchestra in Brisbane.
Over the past 20 years he has orchestrated music for most of the major orchestras in Australia, composed music for the Sydney 2000 Olympics,
toured a cabaret ensemble around QLD and for the past three years has been a musical director and cellist for the QLD ballet. His passion for cooking
saw him embark on his latest adventure as a top 24 contestant in the hugely popular TV sensation Australian Masterchef 2011. It is from this that the idea of
"Musical Menus" materialised as a way of combining his love for music with his passion for creating imaginative culinary dishes. Bon Appetite!