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An Apple Cake from the Apple Isle

Apple, Raspberry and White Chocolate Crumble Cake


The mainland states and capital cities of Australia claim fame to many things. Melbourne, Victoria, calls itself the fashion capital and often jostles with Sydney for  the arts and sporting title. South Australia is proud of its wine country and Adelaide in particular claims fame for being the city of churches. Western Australia and Queensland are renowned for their beaches and other natural beauties. But what about Tasmania? Often our southern most neighbours are forgotten, especially with an ocean between.

You no doubt know the recipe now for how we like to spend our weekend: run, coffee, bake…relax. However this time the weekend recipe called for extra chilling time when we ventured down to Hobart, Alex’s native roots, where the temperature hovered just over single digits.

That being said, the cooler weather allowed for a wonderful weekend road trip and allowed me to (legitimately) hopfoot around in my Hunter Wellington’s.  We started with a refreshing early morning run to Shag Bay (yes that’s its name!) and  then headed to Salamanca Markets where we browsed the bustling stalls full of homemade jam, sourdoughs (and authentic sheepskin ugg boots) after which we stopped at  Machine for Breakfast. After ordering the free range bacon, then recalling the waitress to tell her I changed my mind and then stealing the bacon off Alex’s plate when our dishes arrived, we jumped back in the car and headed to Russell Falls with a picnic lunch of chicken wraps with organic hummus and homemade caramel slice on the way home.

Sunday morning saw us venture into Hobart to have a look at the Tasmanian Farm Gate Farmers Market. I was amazed to find a stall dedicated to my favourite Elgaar Farm yogurt. This yogurt is like gold in Victoria, shipped over  on the Spirit of Tasmania in limited quantities and for a pretty hefty price. To be able to buy this yogurt from the source was a real treat.

Having come to the Apple Isle we also couldn’t go home without a trip to Huonville to pick up some apples from the many orchard stands along the road. We came home with 3 bags and instantly decided on combining the apples with some of our favourite ingredients (raspberries and white chocolate) to produce an apple, raspberry and white chocolate crumble cake.

Alex’s mum suggested we make the cake using her brand new stand alone mixer as oppose to my normal handheld beaters. At first I was hesitant because the mixer had never been used (and Alex’s mum was trusting me with it!)  and I was sceptical that the cake would turn our perfectly. Having never used a standalone mixer before, I was unsure how to control the beating to avoid over mixing. I began to anticipate a flat, over beaten cake after transferring the batter a few times to different cake tins, that all appeared to be slightly too big.  However when we cut a slice, to say I was speechless is not being over dramatic. The cake looked beautiful. It was light, moist, and fluffy with the prefect crumb (I am now one step closer to not feeling  guilty if I were to splash some cash and purchase a Kitchen Aid).

To serve the cake, we made a raspberry coulis and drizzled this on top for an extra zing of flavour. This cake makes a wonderful dessert when gently heated in the microwave or served warm straight from the oven with custard or a vanilla ice cream.

Like all good things, our trip to Hobart had to come to an end and we finished with a delicious thai dinner back in Salamanca. I was treated to a seafood buffet of prawns, scallops, ling and calamari all sizzling on my plate and Alex enjoyed a delicious Thai green curry, a fantastic way to end our trip.  Our weekend trip away , probably proved the obvious, that Hobart takes the cake when it comes to fresh, delicious produce.

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An apple cake from the Apple Isle
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Sweet tender apples covered in tangy raspberries, creamy white chocolate and topped off with a sweet brown sugar crumb.
for the cake
  • 200g butter softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 155g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g (1 cup) plain flour
  • 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour
  • 185ml (3/4) cup milk
  • 1 cup of raspberries
  • 100-150 g white chocolate chopped
  • 3 apples, peeled, cored, thickly sliced
for the crumble topping
  • 75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
  • 50g chilled butter, chopped
  • 55g (1/4 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
  1. preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
  2. Brush a round 20cm (base measurement) springform pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line the base with non-stick baking paper
  3. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add ⅓ of the combined flours sand beat on low speed until just incorporated
  6. Add ½ the milk and beat on low speed for 3 seconds
  7. repeat the above process with the remaining flour and milk, ending with flour
  8. use a metal spoon to fold through any left over flour that is not combined
  9. Spoon mixture into prepared pan and use the back of a spoon to smooth the top. arrange the apple, raspberries and white chocolate ontop
  10. to make the crumb topping, place the flour and butter in a bowl and use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir or rub in the sugar.
  11. Sprinkle crumb topping over the top of the cake to cover the whole surface.
  12. Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 10 mins. Look for a golden colour to the crumb and when a skewer is inserted it comes out clean.
  13. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes until transferring to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve cake warm and drizzled with raspberry coulis is desired.



Banana Cake Recipe

Banana cake, Carrot cake, lemon yogurt cake. What is it about baked goods prefixed by a fruit that make them seem slightly healthier for you and therefore quite pleased that you ate them? In this case, I have to admit to you that this delicious banana cake will make you feel pleased you ate it for all the wrong reasons! This easy banana cake recipe is courtesy of a colleague I use to work with. She is my go to chef for traditional recipes that arn’t too fancy and just involve good old fashioned cooking. The original recipe produces an uniced cake that comprises a buttery, caramel flavour with the addition of sour cream for a moist but fluffy crumb. I have made it extra indulgent by smothering it in a delicious cream cheese frosting, with walnuts generously sprinkled on top for extra crunch.

We normally start off with  full fruit bowl on Sunday night and by Friday, it consists of a few rejected overripe  bananas – prefect for turning into a cake. We all know, the less edible the bananas ( read, soft,  brown and spotty), the better the cake! I have to confess I might go grocery shopping and purposefully buy more bananas than I know my household can eat, purely so that by the end of the week I have the essential ingredient waiting and the perfect excuse to bake.

 Alex and I set a challenge for ourselves to cook and shoot a banana cake “on location”. Alex travelled to Sydney, my new hometown for the next 12 months to visit me over the weekend. We managed to cram alot into two days including making a curry from scratch, eating gelato from Messina in Darlinghurst that has been voted the best  in Australia , picnic in Rushcutters Bay Park, a night in the city, breakfast from Pieno in Surry Hills, a trip out to Ikea,  and of course baking.

We spent Saturday like we do most days: morning run (this time with spectacular view of Sydney Harbour), stopping for a coffee and yummy muffin (from Toby’s Estate in Potts Point) on the way home and then making a mess as we cooked, this time in my kitchen. We utilised the utensils I had in my apartment and photographed the cake on my balcony. Despite being out of our comfort zone and cooking with a new oven, the cake turned out better than expected and eating it capped off a pretty sweet weekend all round.

We hope you make use of any overripe bananas and enjoy this banana cake recipe as much as we did!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Icing on the (Banana) cake to the perfect weekend
Recipe type: Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Delicious moist banana cake with creamcheese frosting
for the cake
  • 125 g butter, softened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups self raising flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp bicarb soda
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 cup mashed overripe bananas (2 big bananas and don’t overmash)
  • ½ cup sour cream (make sure you take this out of fridge before you use it so its not cluggy)
for the frosting
  • 50g butter
  • 125g cream cheese
  • 230g icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  1. Preheat oven 180c fan forced
  2. Grease and line loaf tin (do not put cake mix in just a greased tin – must be lined)
  3. Beat butter and sugar
  4. Add eggs one at a time beating well
  5. Add all ingredients except banana
  6. When well mixed then add banana and mix a bit more
  7. Bake 50 for minutes
  8. Sit in loaf tin for 5 mins before taking out of tin to cool on a wire rack
for the frosting
  1. beat butter and cream cheese until smooth
  2. Add the milk and slowly add the icing sugar a little at a time, beating until all incorporated
This cake also freezes for 3 months. Just remember...the more ripe the banana, the lighter the cake. Coat your mashed banana in flour before adding it to the mixture to stop it sinking to the bottom of the cake. For a cakier texture and a less wet cake, cook the cake for an extra 10 mins. if doing so, put some foil on top to stop overbrowning. Cook the cake in the middle of the oven to prevent cake deflating when it comes out of the oven.


Anzac Biscuits Recipe

Anzac Biscuits
Anzac Biscuits Recipe


When April 25th approaches in Australia, Two things come to mind: celebrating our war heroes and a day off – Anzac Day.  This national public holiday enables us to remember and celebrate the service of our veterans as well as enjoy the other tradition synonymous with Anzac day, Anzac biscuits.

Anzac biscuits have to be one of the easiest and economical biscuits you can make. Their history does indeed date back to World War 1 when the wives, mothers and girlfriends of the Australian soldiers were concerned for the nutritional value of the food being supplied to their men. The problem though was that any food the women intended to send to their men traveled to them on ships for periods of over two months without refrigeration. So a body of women came up with the answer: to create a cookie that combine rolled oats, sugar, butter, coconut, flour and golden syrup or treacle. All these items did not readily spoil and were staples in many households.

The interesting thing about Anzac biscuits is the omission of eggs to bind the mixture together. Because of the war, poultry farmers had joined the service and therefore eggs were scare or expensive. Golden syrup or treacle thus acts as the binding agent. ( I also think it adds a delicious sweetness that you would not otherwise get if eggs were used).

To ensure the biscuits remain crisp, they were packed in used tins. The tins were airtight and thus no moisture or air was able to soak into the biscuits and make them soft.

There are however two teams when it comes to biscuits or cookies. Those who like them crunchy and those who like them soft; and in my house, a war can often break out as to how I should be making our Anzacs. My mother likes them crisp and my dad prefer them soft and chewy.

To cater for everyone, I bake some of the Anzacs a bit longer, an extra 5 or 10 mins to crisp them up. If making a batch that I know only my mum will devour, I add more sugar, about an 1/4 of a cup, which also helps to make them crunchy.

When mum use to make these biscuits for me when I was young (oh how the tables have turned) she would add sultanas. I have adopted her ways and I nearly always add them to my mixture. They provide a sweet burst of flavour. You can however leave them out if you prefer the traditional Anzac recipe.

These Anzac biscuits are best enjoyed with a cup of tea like a traditional English breakfast or earl grey.  It’s also quite obvious, given their history, that they also make a great lunch box treat. If you make a batch of these, I’m sure everyone will be a pretty happy soldier.

Anzac Biscuits Recipe

5.0 from 2 reviews
Anzac Biscuits Recipe
Recipe type: Biscuits
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 35
An easy and delicious Anzac biscuit recipe that is a must try this Anzac Day.
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup of sultanas
  • 125g butter
  • 2 Tablespoons golden syrup
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water
  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees celsius.
  2. Combine the oats, sifted flour, sugar and coconut and sultanas in a large mixing bowl.
  3. in a small saucepan, combine the butter and golden syrup. Stir gentle over a low heat until melted.
  4. Mix the bicarb soda with the boiling water.
  5. Add the bicarb soda mix to the melted butter mixture.
  6. Stir the butter mixture into the dry ingredients.
  7. Place teaspoonfuls of mixture on lightly greased oven trays; allow room for spreading.
  8. Cook in oven for 20 mins
  9. Loosen while warm and cool on wire rack.
Cook for 5 - 10 mins longer for crispy crunchy Anzacs or look for a recipe that has more sugar relative to the amount of golden syrup. You can add an extra ¼ cup of sugar for crunchier Anzacs. Suagr makes them crisper more golden syrup increases the chewiness.


Good day for Easter Baking

How do you spend your Good Friday?  This day means different things to many people and I’m sure we all spend it in a way that is personal and true to ourselves.   There is no denying though that when Easter starts to approach, our shops and bakeries are filled with the delicious aroma of spices emanating from sticky sweet hot cross buns. While we can’t seem to escape the fact that these delightful treats start to pop up just after Christmas, traditionally they are only enjoyed on Good Friday. How they are enjoyed is also a personal choice, toasted or untoasted, butter or nutella or just fresh and warm straight from the bag as you leave the shop.

When I was younger, hot cross buns only came in the traditional variety, with fruit, spices and orange peel (much to the disgust of my childhood self). Now you can walk into any bakery or grocery store and be presented with more than 5 different varieties ranging from choc chip to white chocolate and cranberry.

Alex and I decided to spend our Good Friday the way any day of rest should be spent. Eating, drinking coffee, baking and hanging in the park in the sun.  When deciding what to bake today, something to do with Easter and hot cross buns was a no brainer. We thought of adding our own twist to hot cross buns but thanks to Coles and Woolworths, pretty much every variety of bun involving some sort of variation to the traditional  bun been tried (fruitless anyone?) So, we thought we would make a cross (no pun intended) between a bun and a cookie and so we produced these yummy hot cross cookies.  The recipe is courtesy of Donna Hay and we added our touch by omitting the mix spice and the lemon rind (you’re welcome kids) adding more sultanas and piping the crosses on with a sauce bottle(Yes, this is what you have to resort to when your other half throws out the piping bag and the nozzles!)

The result was well worth the burns to the hand and the mess on the kitchen floor. We ended up with beautiful round cookies that rose to a dome like shape which resembled a cute bun. They were definitely a hybrid of a cookie and a bread as they had a had a soft cakey texture and were light and fluffy without crumbling to pieces.  They also had that signature hot cross bun taste of cinnamon and fruit and, having been for a run this morning, I even enjoyed one split in half with some butter ( how all good hot cross buns should be eaten!)

We hope you enjoy the Easter long weekend, however way you intend to spend it.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Hot Cross Cookies
Recipe type: Biscuits
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 40
Delicious homemade hot cross cookies that would make the Easter Bunny proud.
For the cookies
  • 125g butter softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups self-raising flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • ½ cup sultanas
For the icing
  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water
For the cookies
  1. Pre heat oven to 160 degrees celsius (320 degrees Fahrenheit)
  2. Place the butter and brown sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 8-10 minutes until pale and creamy
  3. Gradually add the eggs and vanilla, beating well after each addition
  4. Add the flour, cinnamon, milk and sultanas and beat until a smooth dough forms
  5. Roll tablespoon of the dough into balls and place on lightly greased baking trays lined with on stick baking paper
  6. Bake for 14-15 minutes or until golden
  7. Allow to cool on trays and the transfer to a wire rack
For the icing
  1. Place the icing sugar and water in a bowl and mix until a paste forms
  2. Spoon into a piping bad fitted with a 3mm nozzle and pipe a cross over each cookie
  3. Allow to set

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White Chocolate Cupcakes

white chocolate cupcakes

I have a fondness for cupcakes. I like them. A lot. Out of all the things that one could possibly bake, cupcakes are my favourite. I don’t know what it is about them but I get a really pleasure out of producing a batch of pretty cupcakes. They don’t take very long to make so you can whip them up in half an hour and they are perfect for satisfying a sweet craving without feeling like you have over indulged.

In Melbourne there are several specialised cupcakes stores popping up around the CBD. Little Cupcakes on Degraves Street is probably the most infamous, but there is also Joy Cupcakes and the Cupcake Bakery. While the cupcakes in these stores look delicious and come in marid of tantalising flavours, I have sampled cupcakes from each and I have to say I have been disappointed every time. I am often presented with a dry, tasteless cupcake. For this reason, I think you can’t beat a homemade cupcake.  There is something  really special about eating a homemade cupcake. You can often taste the real butter and vanilla and I think there is no substitute for a handmade creation.

I have been baking for a while now, and this vanilla cupcake recipe is something that I have perfected over the last three years ( mainly by following the tips below). While cupcakes appear easy, like any cake (or baking recipe) for that matter, you need to get the technique right to avoid an end product that disappoints. (Take note, cupcakeries).

I have detailed here what I think are the common mistakes that result in a dry tasteless cupcake. If you are someone who bakes regularly you will probably already be familiar with these tips.

Firstly have all ingredients at room temperature.   This will help all the ingredients blend properly and stop the eggs becoming curdled. A quick tip for bringing butter to room temperature is to grate it. To bring eggs to room temperature, follow this tip.

Secondly, don’t over mix the batter. Over mixing causes a dry, tough cake. Flour contains two proteins, gliadin and glutenin. They react with liquids and join together to form long strands of gluten – which provides structure in baked goods. When gluten becomes tough, it results in a chewy texture.  Liquids, salt and mixing all toughen gluten, therefore your cake batter should be mixed as little as possible to prevent toughening the gluten.

If when you bite into your cupcakes you notice holes throughout the cake crumb (referred to as tunnels), this is an indication of over mixing.  To avoid over mixing, when adding the flour and milk to the creamed ingredients, add it in batches and only stir or mix the batter for 3 seconds or until the ingredients are just incorporated. My recipe calls for adding the flour and milk alternatively in two batches. I have also tried adding it in three batches, beginning and ending with flour. Adding it in three batches works better. However I usually add it in two as I find separating the ingredients in two batches is easier.

Thirdly, cook only one pan of cupcakes at a time. Having made over 50 cupcakes for a birthday party, I found that to have prefect cupcakes, you need to bake one pan at a time. I’m not sure how the science of ovens works so just take my word for it!

A few more tips that I have found help:

  • Beat the butter and sugar until the butter is pale and almost an ivory colour. Compare it with butter that is not creamed and make sure it is a few shades lighter than the yellow of the non creamed butter. Rub the mixture between your fingers and it should feel slightly grainy.
  • Beat the eggs for at least a minute to ensure they are incorporated properly
  • Use an ice cream scoop or a  1/3 measuring cup to fill the cupcake cases to ensure even cakes.

When it comes to decorating cupcakes, this is the fun part. While I create a slight mess when I make the cupcakes, preparing the icing often results in me, the kitchen and every appliance in it covered in icing also.

I like to use a simple butter cream frosting. I flavour  it with vanilla but you can use a dye to tint it any shade you like. Being a buttercream, it results in icing that has a slightly yellow tinge. If you are after an icing that is whiter, you can use this recipe, for mock cream from the Australian Women’s Weekly.

This is a white chocolate cupcake recipe and I have to admit this is my signature recipe.  While the frosting does not contain white chocolate, I simple sprinkle shards of white chocolate over the top. The combination of vanilla, butter and white chocolate is pure heaven.

White Chocolate Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
Light, fluffy moist cupcakes with a delicious creamy white chocolate topping
For the cupcakes
  • 120g butter - chopped
  • 150g caster( superfine) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 180g self raising flour
  • 125ml ( ½ cup) milk
For the icing
  • 125g butter softened
  • 1½ cups icing sugar ( confectioners sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract ( depending on taste)
  • 1 block of white eating chocolate
For the cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius ( if fan forced) and 180 degrees if not fan forced.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffly.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition ( approx 1 minute)
  4. Add half the flour (94g) and mix on lowest possible speed for 3 seconds or until flour is just incorporated
  5. Add half the milk, mix again on lowest speed until just incorporated.
  6. Repeat this process with the remaining flour and milk
  7. Spoon batter into cupcakes cases until ⅔ full
  8. Cook in oven for 20 mins or until cooked. A skewer inserted should come out clean and the cakes should spring back when lightly touched. if not cooked, cook for a further 5 mins and check again.
  9. When cooked, remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 mins.
  10. Transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
For the icing
  1. Beat the butter and vanilla until as white as possible
  2. Add half the icing sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk and beat this until incorporated
  3. Repeat the process with remaining icing sugar and milk and continue beating until icing is smooth and fluffy.
  4. Chop the blocks of white chocolate on an angle with a sharp knife to create shards of white chocolate. Sprinkle crumbs of chocolate and arrange longer shards on top of cupcake in a peak.
Uniced cupcakes can be frozen for up to 3 months.

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