coming together nicely
I have a go to flourless orange cake which I adore, but the other day had some divine paesanella ricotta hanging around that needed to be used. Seeing as I’m doing the whole no carbs with fat/protein and no refined carbs a nifty little batch of ricotta gnocchi was out of the question (quietly sobs) and I was at a bit of a loss when I came across this Ben O’Donoghue and thought BINGO! It has a smidge of (semolina) flour in it but I was willing to overlook it. I love Ben’s recipes and he was always my favourite in Surfing the Menu. Curtis Stone is just a little to much of a show-pony-pretty-boy for my cooking likes.
‘My’ custard powder pastry recipe and the associated free-form apple pie is his Nan’s and I reckon that’s pretty cool.
So let’s get on with it.
Lemon ricotta cake (in which I used oranges)
Recipe from: At home with Ben, Ben O’Donoghue
- 225g butter
- 250g sugar
- 6 eggs, separated
- 250g ground almonds
- 65g semolina flour
- Juice of 3 lemons
- Rind of 6 lemons
- 300g ricotta
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Preheat oven to 160C and grease and line a 26cm springform cake tin
- Beat the butter and sugar until very pale then add the egg yolks one at a time
- Combine the almond meal, semolina, half the lemon zest and half the juice (although when I made it with oranges I added all the zest because I didn’t read the recipe properly. Rookie mistake) and fold into the butter and sugar mixture
- Crumble in the ricotta and fold through (Ben appears to leave it in little chunks whereas my ricotta was wetter so was more incorporated)
- Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks and then fold through the mixture
- Pour into the tin and bake for 40mins or until a skewer comes out clean (I find with flourless cakes the time can vary massively – just persevere and cover with foil if you’re worried the top is getting too dark)
- Make a syrup with the remaining juice, zest, 1/2 cup of sugar and a cup of water by bringing it to the boil then reducing by half (I sort of forgot to read this bit and just made a syrup of equal parts sugar and juice)
- Pour over the cake and eat until you can eat no more.
just a wafer monsieur
A few weeks back the Australian Womens’ Weekly had a recipe for a Raspberry Custard Teacake in it. I made it. Three times. It was good but there was something lacking. Or actually more annoying for you see, the custard, it kept sinking. I knew it would, you could see it in the photos in the magazine but I didn’t want it to sink, I wanted it through the cake.
So I mulled on it a while.
And then, in making something else from the magazine’s cookbook 1000 Best Ever Recipes from AWW I came across a recipe for apple custard cupcakes. With some tweaking (the apple coming from its apple pie slice rather than plain sliced apple) I have found it. The best cupcake ever. EVER!
Use a traditional sized cupcake tray, not a muffin tray. I have also made it as a cake by doubling it all but it was a bit tricky and I burnt the crap out of the bottom of it as it – obviously – needs a while to cook through. Next time I’d probably make it as a slab cake rather than round tall cake.
Apple Custard Teacakes
1000 Best Ever Recipes from AWW
- 90g butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup SR flour
- 1/4 cup custard powder
- 2 tbsp milk
- 30g butter, melted
- 1 tblsp caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
The apple (you’ll only use about half of this in the recipe but mmm stewed apples, put the leftovers on your brekkie – unless you have eggs, because that’d be gross)
- 6 medium apples (just under 1kg), peeled, cored, cut into 1cm pieces
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup sultanas
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
- 1 tbsp custard powder
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
To make the custard:
- Mix the custard powder and sugar with the milk and vanilla
- In a small saucepan stir over heat until the mixture boils and thickens
- Remove from heat, pour into a bowl, cover the surface with clingwrap and cool
To cook the apples:
- Cooke apples, sugar, the water and sultanas in a large saucepan, uncovered and stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes or until the apple is soft and the mixture is not too wet
- Stir in spice and rind and let cool.
To make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 180C and line 12 hole 1/3 cup cupcake (or small muffin) tray
- Beat the butter, sugar, extract, eggs, flour, custard powder and milk in a small bowl of an electric mixer until ingredients combined, then increase speed and beat until mixture has turned to a pale colour
- Spoon 1 heaped dessert spoon (approx) into each paper case (or divide whole mixture in half then distribute half into the paper cases)
- Top with a heaped teaspoon of apple mixture
- Top the apple with a heaped teaspoon of custard
- Top the custard with another heaped dessert spoon of cake batter – try and cover the custard, yes, a bit fiddly but worth it.
- Bake cakes for about 30 minutes
- Brush hot cakes with melted butter and sprinkle over combined sugar and cinnamon
Try to eat only one.
Don’t you love reviving a recipe you used to made decades ago only to discover it is as delicious as your memories made it? I’d be nervous to try that principle with my Nan’s chow mein (think a lot of cabbage, beef mince and curry paste, there may even have been sultanas) or Mum’s apricot chicken (the one using the can of apricot nectar and the packet of french onion dip mix which I still see doing the rounds) but with this slice it was a delightful trip down memory lane.
Seriously, it’s probably been more than two decades since I started making this. I am fairly certain it is a Women’s Weekly recipe – how could it not be! When Mum had a piece she recalled this was one of the first recipes I made from go to wo on my own. So I was probably 10 or 12.
Pineapple Apple Slice
- 185g butter
- Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1/2 cup self-raising flour
- 410g can of crushed pineapple, well drained
- 480g can of pie apple
- Grease and flour a 22cm square cake pan and preheat the oven to 180C
- Cream the butter, sugar and lemon rind
- Add the eggs one at a time and beat well
- Fold in the flour, the batter with be thick
- Spoon half the mix into the base of the tin and spread evenly
- Top with the mixed tinned pineapple and apple
- Dollop spoons of the batter over the top and smooth out as best you can – this is not a precise science, it’s OK to have some of the filling sticking through
- Bake for 45 minutes, cool and then sift over some icing sugar.
Pip at Meet me at Mike’s said this was the best banana cake ever. I clicked through and saw the picture of it and just had to make it. Now that is quite a call for me because I despise banana bread, particularly that cake-called-bread you get in nearly every single cafe in Sydney and banana cake is not far behind.
But make it I did and ZOMG, best.cake.ever. When Felix, who is not a cake lover, devoured it, mumbling, ‘this is one of the best cakes you’ve ever made’, you know it has to be good.
So, if any of you are sitting there biting fingernails as the election results come in, go do some baking instead.
Banana and Coconut Cake
real living magazine
- 150g butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 ripe medium bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
- ½ cup light sour cream
- 2 cups self-raising flour
- ½ cup desiccated coconut
- Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease and line 22cm square cake tin with baking paper.
- In a mixer beat the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition
- Add vanilla, mashed bananas and sour cream and beat to combine
- Beat in flour and coconut and mix until well combined
- Pour into tin and bake for 60 mins or until a skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean
- Remove from oven and let cool slightly in tin, then turn onto wire rack to cool completely
Coconut cream cheese icing
- 125g butter, at room temperature
- 250g cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 cups icing sugar mixture, sieved
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp coconut essence, to taste
- 2/3 cup shredded coconut
- Whip butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy
- Add icing sugar, vanilla and coconut essence and beat for a further few minutes
- When cake has cooled, cut in half horizontally
- Spread one-third of icing over bottom half of cake and top with remaining half
- Ice top and sides with remaining icing and cover in shredded coconut.
- Store in an airtight container. (I kept it in the fridge as leaving a cream cheese icing at room temperature makes me skeevy.)
So I made this yesterday for our Christmas gathering with my Dad, step-mother and family. I was down for dessert and along with pavlova topped with cream, lemon butter and fresh fruit I was bringing our family’s traditional Christmas pudding cooked in cloth. Then the last fortnight came and firmly bit me on the arse. I only got the fruit soaking a few days ago for the pudding so getting one made and on the stove for five hours was just not going to happen.
I’d seen this recipe in Maggie Beer’s Maggie’s Table and knew it would be good some time ago – it came to me that it would make a fine Christmas pudding alternative and boy, was I bang on the money on that front.
This cake is seriously good. I only had a tiny sliver yesterday due to the dedicated food consumption that had gone before it and man, today all I can think about is making it again so I can sit in front of it like a fat fool and eat it until my head falls off.
I should say, I did not roast the almonds and then grind them, I simply used some store-bought almond meal. I am sure doing that step would take the cake to even greater heights but it was delicious even without doing so.
So go on, make it .
Chocolate Cake with Whisky-soaked Raisins and Orange Zest
Maggie Beer, Maggie’s Table
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup Scotch whisky
- 160g blanched almonds
- 50g plain flour
- 375g dark couverture chocolate (70% cocoa)
- finely grated zest of 1 orange
- 210g unsalted butter
- 170g caster sugar
- pinch of salt
- 5 eggs
- 175ml pouring cream
- 250g couverture chocolate
- Soak raisins in whisky for a few hours
- Preheat fan-forced oven to 180C
- Place almonds on baking tray and roast for 10 minutes or until golden. Let cool slightly then process in a food processor until finely ground. Add flour and set aside
- Melt chocolate and the add the zest to it
- Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy then add eggs one at a time. The mixture will split but don’t worry, it comes back together when the almonds and flour are added
- Fold in the melted chocolate then the soaked raisins and any of the whisky juices that are left in the bowl
- Sprinkle over the almond and flour mixture and fold through very gently, being careful not to overmix
- Lightly grease and line a 20cm springform round cake tin
- Bake for an hour or until skewer comes out clean (mine took at least another 10 minutes and probably could have done with another 5 or 10 minutes)
- Remove from the oven and sit on a wire rack in its tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and let cake cool completely.
- Make the ganache by bringing the cream to the boil and then pouring over the chocolate. Leave for a few minutes to melt and then stir thoroughly
- Pour over the cooled cake and then leave to cool for a further hour (not in the refrigerator) before serving
Divine with double cream or vanilla ice cream.