Lemon Yoghurt Cake

This is based on a Donna Hay recipe which I think she did with limes. I’ve done both and like them equally. I tend to make the lemon one more often as limes never seem cheap here. Ever.

Lemon Yoghurt Cake

  • 220g butter – melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup natural yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 160C
  2. Whisk butter and sugar together
  3. Add eggs, one at a time
  4. Fold through yoghurt, rind and juice
  5. Sift in flour and baking powder
  6. Spoon into a greased and lined 10x20cm loaf tin
  7. Bake for 1hr15mins
  8. When cooled, ice with the following glaze

Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 tblsp lemon juice
  • 1 tblsp water
  1. Stir together until cooled
  2. Spoon over cake

Boiled Fruit Cake

Comfort. Sometimes it comes from getting to watch a longstanding favourite movie, or an unexpected phone call in which you confide, cry, laugh and so much more. But for me, for longer than I can remember, comfort is associated with cooking and with eating. But cooking. The process of making something that at the end is enjoyed by myself and sometimes more importantly by others is for me the ultimate in comfort time.

It has always been there. When I met all sides and layers of my birth families, I discovered my paternal grandmother is always in the kitchen cooking for everyone. The fact I suddenly had this connection, this continuum with another generation of my family was life changing. Comforting in fact.

Combine that with a new girl starting at our school in 1988 and me meeting her mum, who was a die-hard home cook and introduced me to the world of Gourmet Traveller and I guess a well worn track in my life was begun.

Below is a family recipe for a boiled fruit cake. For me this cake, topped with a simple lemon icing, washed down with a cup of strong tea is the ultimate in comfort and memory food. Every birthday, Christmas and major family gathering was marked by it. I of course have played with it but the principles and flavour of it remain the same.

It’s one of those fruit cakes where all those weirdos people who do the “I don’t like fruit cake” eat about four slices. And while I’m not about to say that every child offered a slice of this has eaten it, I’m straining to remember one who hasn’t.

It’s the first in a series of posts on comforting cakes and bakes as I try once and for all to coral all my food writing and recipes into one location. The index at the bottom of allconsuming will remain but many if not all of those recipes will eventually be reproduced over here as well. I love nothing if not an ordered site.

Boiled Fruit Cake

  • 600g mixed dried fruit* (I normally use sultanas, currents, raisins in varying ratios of the total amount, always working to sultanas being the most, with a handful of glace cherries)
  • 6oz butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tin crushed pineapple in natural juice, drained with juice reserved
  • 1 cup hot water (or use the pineapple juice and make up to 1 cup with water)
  • 1 tsp bicarb
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup plain flour, level
  • 1 cup SR flour, heaped
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a 24cm square cake tin**
  2. Place the fruit, sugar, pineapple, butter and water in a saucepan, bring to the boil and cook for 2-3 minutes
  3. Add the bicarb, then cool
  4. Fold through the eggs, then the flours
  5. Bake for 1 – 1.5hrs
  6. Turn out and once completely cooled ice with lemon icing.

* Our family recipe was to use one normal sized box of Sunbeam mixed fruit (425g or something like that) with an extra handful of sultanas thrown in.
** Tradition calls for a greased and floured tin then lined with the butter wrapper.

Lemon Icing

  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tbs butter, softened
  • lemon juice or water to loosen
  1. Mix the icing sugar and butter by hand, adding juice in small amounts until you get a thick but workable icing
  2. Ice cake
  3. Eat!

Passionfruit pineapple tarts, choc-caramel tarts, neenish tarts

A trio of icings

I have been pining for old fashioned pineapple tarts that traditional bakeries make. The ones with a short pastry, pineapple filling, moch cream and topped with passionfruit icing. Linda helped by providing the pineapple filling recipe from the Presbyterian Ladies’ Cookbook or some such treasure trove of old fashioned pre-world war II (apparently) delights.

Pineapple Passionfruit tartlets
Pineapple filling

  • 1 medium pineapple, sliced very finely then diced (easier to do this if the pineapple is cold)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbs cornflour
  • 2 tbs water
  • 1 egg yolk
  1. Combine the pineapple, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil to cook for 10 minutes
  2. Combine the cornflour, water and egg yolk then stir into the pineapple and cook until thickened

I can’t tell you how making this, then tasting it made me feel. I was jettisoned back to my childhood and the fact that I now had the recipe to make whenever I feel like it was so empowering and exciting! Next

Moch cream

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 80g icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk, warmed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbs boiling water
  1. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
  2. Add the combined milk, vanilla and water a little at a time until all incorporated
  3. Just try not to eat this straight from the bowl.

Passionfruit Icing

  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 30g butter, softened
  • 1 passionfruit
  • 1 1/2 tbs boiling water
  1. Beat the icing sugar with the butter and water by hand
  2. Add the passionfruit by spooning the pulp into a small strainer then push the juice of one half of the passionfruit through, adding some of the seeds to dot the icing.
  3. You might need to add more passionfruit depending on the texture. You want it somewhere between being spreadable and being a glaze. (in the picture above, my first attempt, the icing was a bit too stiff)

Shortcrust pastry

  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 350g unsalted butter
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup cold water
  1. Rub the butter through the flour
  2. Add enough water to bring the dough together
  3. Flatten to a disc and refrigerate for 30 minutes
  4. Roll out to quite thin and line 12 1/4 cup tartlet cases. Prick bases and bake in 180C oven until golden.

This pastry recipe is the one I use for everything. I very rarely make a sweet shortcrust pastry as I find using straight shortcrust helps counterbalance the sweetness of a pie filling. The following pastry however, is perfect for a neenish tart, where the pastry is really a major part of the experience. It is much more like a biscuit crust.

To build the tartlets

  1. Spoon some pineapple into the base
  2. Top with moch cream and smooth surface
  3. Spoon over icing with a palette knife and smooth off.

Neenish Tarts
Pastry for Neenish Tarts

  • 125g soft butter
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  1. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar for 4 minutes until pale and fluffy
  2. Add vanilla and egg and beat until combined
  3. Stir through the flour then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes
  4. Roll out to 3mm thick and line 12 1/4 cup capacity tartlet tins
  5. Prick bases and bake at 180C for 10 minutes.

Icing

  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 30g butter, softened
  • 1 tbs water (you can use sherry for a grown-up version)
  • 1 1/2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  1. Beat the icing sugar, butter and 1 1/2 tbs of boiling water by hand
  2. Divide the mixture in half. Either add 1 tsp of sherry or the 1 tsp of lemon juice to one half and set aside
  3. Add remaining sherry to cocoa and stir to combine then mix in to remaining icing

To build the tarts

  1. Fill the pastry case with a spoon of jam
  2. Top with moch cream and level out
  3. Using a small palette knife ice half of each tart with the chocolate icing then ice the other halves with the lemon/white icing, smoothing to edges.

It’s best we not speak of just how many I ate.

1234 cake!

Baking is my absolute joy. It’s strange I haven’t posted that many sweet recipes on this new venture, but I put that down to Boombalardy being in full swing. This is a wonderfully simple buttercake. I am prone to calling it a lunchbox loaf cake as it holds is form well, freezes beautifully and is well, a great lunchbox treat.

1234 cake!

  • 250g butter, softened
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 4 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 170C and grease and line 24cm cake tin (I made two mini loaves as you can see in the pic above)
  2. Beat all the ingredients together in a KitchenAid for 3-4 minutes
  3. Pour into tin and bake for 45-50 minutes
  4. Cool in tin for ten minutes then turn out onto wire rack
  5. Ice when cool

This cake is extremely versatile. Add some frozen berries or the finely grated rind of a lemon or orange or some chocolate buttons to shooz it up.

Icing

  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tbs butter, softened
  • lemon juice or water to loosen
  1. Mix the icing sugar and butter by hand, adding juice in small amounts until you get a thick but workable icing
  2. Ice cake
  3. Eat!

Carrot cake, banana cake

Well another weekend is done and dusted. My weekends of late have been far less suckful than usual. I have no idea why, although I think something called Zoloft may be playing a significant part.

Yesterday featured two matches of soccer that I didn’t have to attend – YIPPEE! Then tennis, with a Doctor’s appt in there somewhere for the New Recruit who has (another) cough from the kennel, this one with phlegm, so much phlegm.

Then we headed out to Dural to have afternoon tea with some other Lifestart families. There is some shit going down (yes, after everything we’ve been through – See Glamorouse and posts around April/May for more) at Lifestart, but can I just say, sitting in the eating ‘nook’ of what was probably a house and ‘estate’ worth in excess of $3 million made it all a little easier. The place had a lake. And a little bridge out to a little island in the middle of the lake. Then there was another pond, and a pool, and then the stables, and paddocks. And one of ‘those’ houses with its French Provincial kitchen and a formal sitting room. Seriously people, it was kinda like my dream existence. Anyway, delightful people and a great afternoon. I’ll go into the Lifestart palaver when I’m a little less emotional about it and a lot less vitriolic.

Today we just hung out and went to Woolwich Pier Hotel for dinner for my Dad’s birthday. I have to seriously stop going to all these places of serious money because if I see one more stunning house I’m going to scream. (Let’s just say that our half a house, sans cleaner, is feeling very unglamorous at this stage. You know it’s bad when the goal of the day is simply to clear everything off (and away) the dining table.)

I made him a carrot cake. Carrot cake is one of those cakes which you can get anywhere but is often pretty average – too sweet, too cakey, etc. This one rocks.

Carrot Cake

  • 300g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 4 eggs
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 300 ml vegetable oil
  • 60g walnuts
  • 60g (or so) crushed pineapple (drained)
  • 150g sultanas
  • 3 large carrots, grated
  1. Preheat oven to 180C, grease and line a 24cm cake tin
  2. Sift the flour and spices together
  3. Add the eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla – mix lightly
  4. Then add the walnuts, pineapple, sultanas and carrots
  5. Bake for an hour, or until skewer comes out clean.
  6. Cool in tin for 15 minutes then on a wire rack.
  7. Ice with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 250g cream cheese
  • 125 caster sugar
  • 3 tblsp lemon juice
  1. Put all in a food processor and blend until smooth.

If that wasn’t enough, I also made a banana cake. Sure, it seems decadent when bananas are still around $11/kilo, but is again the indication that this house runs very hot and cold on bananas, that is of course, unless they appear in cake form. This is fail-proof.

Banana Cake

  • 2 tblsp butter
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tblsp milk
  1. Preheat oven to 190C and grease a ring tin
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl, by hand and then add the egg
  3. Stir in the banana and add the dry ingredients, then mix through the milk
  4. Pour into tin and bake for 35-40 minutes
  5. Cool in tin for 10 minutes, then on a wire rack

You can ice it, but it isn’t really necessary.