Chocolate Meringue Cake with Drunken Fruit and a new blog home…

Hello all, my blog has a new home on my brand new website!

www.sweetpeadarlingheart.com

Please come and check it out, and if you would like to keep on receiving my recipes, enter your email address using the pink subscribe box on the right hand side of the site, I’d love to keep sharing with you!

Head on over to find out the recipe for this Chocolate Meringue Cake with Drunken Fruit; I made it for my own ‘Friendsgiving’, it’s a rich and delicious thing to share with your nearest and dearest. A definite recipe for the upcoming festive season.

Hope to see you at my new site

x

Amber

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Thanks to my lovely friends Sarah from Love Katie and Sarah for her beautiful photography, and Rita from Blooming Brides for her gorgeous home grown flowers xxx

 

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Lime and Pistachio Tea Cakes

Sometimes you just need a little something sweet and syrupy. These are for those times.

Inspired by the gluten free classic seen in almost every cafe sweets cabinet, this is my variation on the classic Orange and Almond cake; Lime and Pistachio cakes, in miniature. Sweet and sticky, yet fragrant and bright from whole limes and my favourite, pistachios.

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Lime and Pistachio Tea Cakes

Makes 6-12 individual sized tea cakes, the perfect size for sharing with a friend.

  • 5 or 6 limes, 450 – 500g
  • 6 eggs
  • 450g caster sugar
  • 300g ground almonds
  • 250g ground pistachios
  • 1 rounded teaspoon baking powder

Put the limes into a saucepan and cover with water. Pop on a lid and bring to the boil; boil the limes for around an hour or until they are completely tender. Remove the limes from the water and cut them open to remove any seeds. Place the limes in a food processor and blitz until completely smooth. Set aside for now.

Grease a 12-hole muffin or friand tin well with butter. If you have a tin that has removable bases, then now is the perfect time to use it. If not, then cut out some little circles of baking paper and pop them into the bases of the muffin tin.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

It is up to you how many little cakes you would like to make, you can easily divide this mixture into 12 little cakes, or even just divide it into 6 and make the little cakes nice and tall. Just slightly increase the baking time if you are making taller cakes. I divided my mixture into 8.

In a bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until combined; you don’t want to add too much air here, just make it all nice and smooth and dissolve the sugar a little bit.

Stir through the lime puree, and then fold in the ground almonds, ground pistachios and baking powder, until beautifully smooth.

Spoon into the muffin tin, dividing into as many as you wish. Bake for around 35 minutes (adding an extra 10 or 15 minutes if your cakes are taller), until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the tin before removing them.

Serve with a dollop of thick cream, and a few curls of lime zest and crushed pistachios if you are feeling fancy.

These cakes keep really well for several days, but you probably won’t be able to resist them for that long.

Lovely photography by Sarah Collins from Love Katie and Sarah

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Autumn arrives, and brings cake…

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The harshness of Summer has started to fade, and the gentle breeze of Autumn is making itself felt.

After a long, hot and sometimes oppressive Summer this year, I am welcoming the ease of a more forgiving season. With change in the air comes a change of palate; the desperate need for refreshment is making way for more homely comforts and glimpses of sweet spices and buttery aromas.

This cake seems to match the natural progression of the new season, with the overlap of plums and pomegranates, and the warm sweet fix taken care of with an oozing butterscotch sauce balanced by the tartness of pomegranate syrup. Rosy red and full of a gentle sense of decadence; a simple yet grand way to welcome the clear air and crisper nights. Devour it whilst still warm and sticky or at room temperature with some thick cream or creme fraiche.

Thanks Autumn for arriving, and for bringing cake 🙂

Plum and Pomegranate Syrup Cake

170g butter, softened and divided into two equal parts
160g brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
8 or so plums, quartered
180g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon pomegranate syrup
pinch of salt
130g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla paste, or seed from 1 vanilla bean
125ml milk

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Preheat your oven to 180°C. Place a tray in the bottom of the oven to catch any sneaky drips that may ooze from the delicious cake you are about to create.

Grease and line a 21cm springform cake tin.

In a frying pan over a medium heat, melt one half of your butter (85g) along with the brown sugar and honey. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon or whisk until you have a luscious thick butterscotch sauce. It will be tempting, but don’t dip your finger in – it’s hot! Set aside.

Place flour, baking powder, salt and spices into a bowl and whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, cream the other half of the butter (85g) and the caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until homogenous – you can add a tablespoon or two of the flour if the mixture is curdling and being stubborn. Once it is looking smooth and creamy, gently fold in the remaining flour mixture and milk, until smooth and luscious once again.

Pour your delicious thick butterscotch sauce into the base of the prepared tin. Scatter with the quartered plums until the base is completely and generously covered. Drizzle the plums with the pomegranate syrup.

Now pour the cake batter into the tin, and smooth the top with a palette knife.

Bake for around 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan before inverting directly onto your serving plate. Choose a plate that has a bit of a lip, as there will be an abundance of delicious butterscotch goodness, and you wouldn’t want to waste any.

This cake has it all – buttery cake base, soft baked fruit and sticky sweetness. If you like things a little more tart, add an extra drizzle of pomegranate syrup to the top once it is on your serving plate (I did). And if you have a lush pomegranate at hand’s reach, then sprinkle some of it’s beautiful jewels on top.

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Cherry, rocket and walnut salad

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Believe it or not, it is almost summer down here in Melbourne. How do I know? Certainly not from the weather, but a few days ago and for the first time this season, my organic grocer had cherries! Oh, rejoice! Nothing declares summer to me more than cherries, and as is the tradition in our family I always make a wish when eating the first one of the season.

Cherries often feature on an Australian Christmas table, sometimes atop pavlova or often just piled high in a bowl to be popped one by one as the fancy takes you.

We ate the first of these juicy jewels on their own, with pleasure, but then a whim took me and told me to make a salad. Salads are actually one of my favourite things to eat… and with the addition of cherries even the kids were diving right in.

Light and peppery, crunchy and sweet, this salad is fresh, simple and ticks so many boxes, it’s a world of right.

Cherry, Rocket and Walnut Salad with Goat’s Cheese

serves 2 as a side or 1 for a light meal, perhaps with some bread

rocket

  • 50g walnuts, toasted
  • 100g rocket, rinsed
  • 80g cherries, halved and pitted
  • 50g goats fetta
  • a splash of olive oil and red wine vinegar

Toast your walnuts in an 180 degree C oven for 5 mins, or until golden and fragrant. Allow to cool.

Rinse your rocket and cherries; cut the cherries in half and remove their stones.

Grab your favourite salad bowl. Heap in the rocket, and sprinkle with the walnuts and cherries. Using your fingers, tear up the goats fetta. Give it all a good drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar. I like my salad dressings on the tangy side so I give two slurps of vinegar for each of olive oil, but you follow your tastebuds.

Using your hands give everything a good toss and tumble, scooping up a few of the walnuts and cherries to adorn the top…

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yum.

Coconut Berry Loaf Cake

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The past few weeks I have been having an existential crisis of sorts… a baking related existential crisis. There are definitely worse things than baking crises. But things have been on my mind, none the less.

My particular deliberation is basically this. I love to bake. For sure. It is a space where my creativity is in flow, and also a platform from which I can nurture others. And on the other hand, I have recently made the decision to go sugar free for a while. I have Type 1 diabetes, an auto immune disease (gosh, I really don’t even like labelling it as that) and have been reading the buzz lately about others reversing their various forms of auto immune by going sugar free. I just want to say, I am not recommending any of these changes to anybody else, in fact my doctors are pretty much dead set against the whole idea of going sugar free (somewhat ironic, no?) but tired of merely managing my condition, I’m seeing what I can do to help support and heal my body.

So, how to marry these two ends of the spectrum? Sugar free yet love to bake. Oh, and the fact that I have a small business making delicious sugary cakes for other people?!

If you’ve visited here before, you will notice that many of the recipes I post tend towards the wholefoods side of things. I like creating and eating food that is delicious and full of nutrients. I want to have my cake, and get some additional goodness from it too. Goodness for the soul and for the body, if you like. And with a beautiful little girl by my side who has a definite sweet tooth, I want to make sure I can get as much good nutrition into her as well, whilst still giving her something she will want to eat for afternoon tea.

I will continue to make special treat cakes for others who are having celebrations, but have decided that I also need to work on a range of sugar free and wholefoods cakes that also taste delicious and look beautiful, so that people who have these different wants and needs can be catered for. And I guess I will also allow some room in my life for the freedom to have some treat cake when the time is right. But amazingly, having been sugar free for about 7 weeks now, I am not wanting it so much.

Anyway, my beautiful girl is totally in love with coconut at the moment, so here is a quick after kinder treat we whipped up. Low sugar, low fructose, high in protein and pretty darn delicious.

Coconut Berry Loaf Cake

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  • 200 g wholemeal spelt
  • 100 g coconut flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 100 g butter, melted
  • scant 1/3 cup stevia (I use a one for one stevia which is mixed with erythritol to make it measure as you would for sugar, however, if you use pure stevia please put this in to taste as a drop of the pure stuff goes a long way!)
  • 1/3 cup rice syrup
  • 400 ml buttermilk
  • 120 g berries
  • handful of coconut flakes

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper. In a medium bowl, combine the  spelt flour, coconut flour, baking powder, vanilla powder and stevia and give a good stir.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter, then add in the rice syrup and warm until just loosened. Pour the butter and rice syrup into the flour mixture and stir.

Stir through your buttermilk; the coconut flour is very dry and will absorb lots of moisture, it will make a fairly firm batter.

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Pour your mixture into your loaf tin, and push in the berries however you feel. Try not to eat them all along the way.

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Top with a sprinkle of coconut flakes. Place towards the bottom of the oven, to stop the coconut flakes from burning, and bake for 60 – 65 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.

This is a subtly sweet, rustic style cake, very comforting and delicious with the pop of soft juicy berries. It is delicious eaten warm as is, or would also be good served with some orange or vanilla scented ricotta.  It keeps well in an airtight container for up to 4 days, although we gobbled ours all up long before then.

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Smells like home… apple spice cake

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It’s been pretty Wintery here this past week, so when I was asked to do some baking for a morning tea, I was thinking of sweet spices and dreamy baking aromas to make the house feel warm and cosy. Our weekly trip to the market at Ceres presented me with some gorgeous apples, so here is an adaptation of an old favourite cake, by the amazing and iconic Stephanie Alexander, an Australian pioneer in good food and growing your own. It’s a great recipe to have up your sleeve, as it’s made in the food processor, so is really quick and easy to slam together. And the smells coming from your kitchen will be divine.

As I was turning this one out of the tin, I dropped it onto the cooling rack (hence, it looks a bit worse for wear in the photos!). Oh well, when life gives you lemons… as the saying goes, so the kidlets and I enjoyed a sneaky piece from the cracked section while it was still warm for afternoon tea. I then did some deft cake cutting and presented only the clean cut pieces. Lemonade made, indeed.

Apple Spice Cake

adapted from Stephanie Alexander’s Rhubarb and Cinnamon Cake, from The Cook’s Companion

  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 300g plain flour
  • 380g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone
  • 1/2 cup natural yoghurt
  • 2 apples, one grated and one finely sliced
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • sprinkling of demerera sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a 24cm springform tin with 20g of the butter, then dust tin with a little of the flour. In a food processor, cream remaining butter with sugar, then add eggs and vanilla. Sift remaining flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon into a bowl, then add to food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the mascarpone and natural yoghurt, then transfer to a large bowl and stir in the grated apple.

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Scrape into prepared tin and arrange apple slices on top. Squeeze over the half a lemon, and sprinkle with demerera or sugar crystals. Bake for 60 or so minutes, mine only took 55, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Serve warm (delicious) or cold (I was told it was delicious then too!)

A little note about this recipe, the original recipe suggests 1 cup of sour cream or creme fraiche, I just happened to have 1/2  a cup of beautiful organic mascarpone that needed a home, hence my mascarpone and natural yoghurt substitution. I have also used only yoghurt on occasion, so any creamy dairy based goodness should work out beautifully.

Happy days xx