Persimmon and Maple Spice Cake

PersimmonSpiceCake  Persimmon3

There is a lot to be said for whimsy. Of whimsy, I am a rather large fan.

I have just looked up the definition of the word whimsy in the dictionary and, oh dear, I fear poor whimsy may be very misunderstood! Ye olde dictionary wants to paint it in a conceited light, like it is a good for nothing, flippant little urge which will, quite frankly, get you into trouble.

But hark! What about those serendipitous ideas that strike you, and you follow them just because? Are they not a precious moment of whim? Is this, in fact, not exactly what life should be about, living in the moment and all such things?

I believe whimsy and inspiration are very good friends, maybe even cousins, and they should be grabbed by the hand and danced around with whenever they turn up at your door.

Here I go, speaking in a grand and whimsical fashion, I hope you won’t all mind.

So what on earth does all of this have to do with persimmon cake? Well, it is because I like to get swept up in the idea of things that a cake like this was born. I had started to spy some persimmons around and having grown up with a large persimmon tree in the backyard, the whimsy of my memory took me by the hand and loaded up my basket to the brim. We grew the astringent variety, which must get very soft before you eat it, unless you like having your mouth turned inside out and dusted with chalk. But, in my new home town, you can buy both the soft and the firm varieties, even more fun.

Hoping to pass on some of my fond childhood memories to the littlies, I have planted a tree of each variety in our yard, but I’m getting in early and trying to introduce the love of persimmon by slipping some crunchy slices into a lunch box here, making a yummy persimmon, avocado and sesame salad there, and baking some into a cake. By the time our trees are producing their own, I hope to have two fellow persimmon (and whimsy) advocates standing at my hip.

My husband says this cake reminds him of Pfeffernusse – those delicious German spice biscuits with the crunchy white tops… I guess it has that same gentle spicing but with the aroma of persimmon. Total afternoon tea material, just add a nice cup of tea.

Persimmon and Maple Spice Cake

adapted from Desserts for Breakfast, who adapted from Tartine

Persimmon5

  • Pulp from 3 very soft persimmons (around 300g)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 150g sugar
  • 280g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 250ml grapeseed oil
  • 3 eggs

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour a 6-cup bundt tin and set aside.

Puree the pulp from your persimmons (discarding any skin or seeds) in a blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine your flour, baking powder, salt and spices and give a little whisk.

In another bowl, whisk the persimmon puree, oil, sugar, maple syrup and vanilla until they are homogenous. Add in your eggs one at a time, whisking each one in well before adding the next. Now gently mix through the flour mixture until just combined.

Pour the cake mixture into your prepared bundt tin and bake for 50 or so minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 mins, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Persimmon4Persimmon2

I served my cake for afternoon tea with dollops of greek yoghurt and a drizzle of maple syrup, and just for a bit more persimmon love, some wedges of the firm variety.

Big thank you my super talented friend Sarah who took these lovely photos xx

Advertisements

a little romance with some Persian Love Cake

PersianLoveCake1

Life’s big experiences always feel a little easier when you have someone to share them with. Having your first baby changes you immensely, and I was lucky enough to make two dear, dear friends just after we all had our first babies. We’ve shared hard times and happy times, day to day hum-drum and excitement, and now our children have the most special kind of friendship that hopefully they will take with them through their entire lives, friends you have had since birth.

These ladies are my kin, and our families feel interwoven.

Times may come when we don’t get to see each other as much as we have in these formative years, but I know that we will always hold a special place in each other’s hearts. My life has been so much richer for having grown alongside them.

Congratulations to beautiful H + D, we love you and all you are. Another of life’s big moments, what a treat to share it with you.

And whilst I made this as a wedding cake, it really is perfect to share for morning or afternoon tea with some close friends or loved ones.

Persian Love Cake for H + D…

honest and exotic just like you, to help celebrate your declaration of love xx

adapted from Nutmeg Love Cake by Amber Rose, from Love Bake Nourish.

  • 80g mix of toasted pecans, almonds and pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 260g spelt flour
  • 200g rapadura sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 280ml natural yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 large free-range egg

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour a 20cm springform cake tin.

Measure the flour, salt, sugar and nutmeg into a medium bowl and stir to combine.

In a saucepan, melt the butter and maple syrup together, until liquid.

Pour the butter and syrup into the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the butter has been incorporated. Press half of this mixture into the base of your cake tin.

With the remaining half of the butter/flour mixture, stir in the natural yoghurt, egg and bicarbonate soda. Mix well until there are no lumps, it will be quite runny. Pour this mixture into the cake tin over the buttery base.

Sprinkle your chopped nuts on top and place in the middle of the oven (pop an oven tray on the bottom of your oven to catch any buttery drips) and bake for around 40 minutes, or until the centre of the cake springs back when you touch it. I baked mine a little longer at H + D’s request, turning the oven down to 160 degrees C after 40 minutes to avoid burning the nuts. If you bake it until the centre just springs back, the middle layer will have the consistency of a thick, set custard… if you bake it a little longer it will be chewier and a bit more spongey.

Let the cake cool completely in the tin before removing the springform.

PersianLoveCake2

Because this cake was for a celebration, I decorated mine with crystallized rose petals, nut praline, edible glitter and a touch of edible gold leaf. But really, the nuts look beautiful on top just as they are. Honest, comforting and delicious.

coco-nutty toasted muesli

mueslibowl

I love a good muesli. I really do. It’s my go to breakfast for the everyday, and stolen spoonful is my quick and easy snack if I need a bit of boost or am craving some crunch. Did you know how easy it is to make your own? Super easy. Come on, let’s do this!

Here is what you will need to make a lovely big batch of  muesli (this amount lasts us about a week and a half, with two people eating it for breakfast every morning and a few snacks in between)

  • 700 g rolled oats
  • 150 g coconut flakes
  • 200g raw nuts
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup rice syrup
  • 120 g dried fruit
  • 60 g chia seeds
  • 200g buckinis

almondsandmacadamias

First off, pick your favourite nuts. Make sure they are raw, or if you’re feeling special, try activated. These babies are going to toast themselves in the oven, so don’t use already toasted ones or you’ll end up with some sad little nut buddies. Today I was in an almond and macadamia kind of a mood, cashews are another fave, and if you’re feeling fancy go with hazels… pop anything in and I swear it’s going to be good. If you love seeds, throw them in too (I usually do), sesame is awesome as well as sunflowers and pepitas. Go on, pretend you run your own health foods shop and you’re showing off your range. This muesli is all about you, customise!

ingredients

Give those nuts a bit of a chop, rough is good. Add them to a big bowl along with some rolled oats and some coconut flakes (these are a must for me, they add super awesome toasty crunch). In, out, mix it all about.

syrup

Next, measure out your maple and rice syrups and your coconut oil. Put your syrups and oil into a small saucepan and heat them gently, just until the coconut oil has melted.

mueslimix

Pour your syrupy mix into the oaty mix and give it a good, hearty stir. Make sure you scrape the bottom where there are usually some uncoated oats hiding, cheeky things.

tray

Spread your beautiful sticky mix onto two baking trays, and pop them into a 160 degree C fan forced oven. No fan, then up the temp to 180 degrees or so. Bake your muesli for 25 – 30 mins, stirring it around every 8 – 10 minutes. I want you to stay within smelling range of your oven, any hint of burning and dive in there and give it a good flip about. Toast until it is beautifully golden, like your muesli has had a summer holiday backpacking around Europe. It might still seem a bit sticky when you take it out, but as long as it is a deliciously tanned, it will crunch up nicely once it is cooled. Let it cool on your trays for a couple of minutes, then tip it into a big bowl ready for some further customisation. If it cools completely on the trays it’s no big deal, but it can make a big oaty mess as you try to tip it into a bowl once it has already cooled and crisped up.

toastedmuesli

Voila, roasty toasty muesli goodness! But hold your horsies, we’re not quite there yet. Once your muesli has cooled down, stir through your favourite dried fruit, today my choice is cranberries and white mulberries. I also totally love buckinis, so I add some of them too, and some chia seeds for a good omega boost. Yum, yum.

jarofmuesli

Look at you, aren’t you cool… you’ve just made your own muesli! Know what’s great? Your muesli is super fresh with no stale ingredients, it’s better for you with the coconut oil & natural syrup combo and you’ve made it just how you like it. And next time you make it, try a new combo, keep life interesting. I love to eat mine sprinkled on natural yoghurt with a serious scoop of acai powder, some bee pollen and a sprinkle of hemp seeds.

banana, date and cacao nib muffins

whitemuffin

A few months ago, I read about Gwyneth Paltrow’s new book ‘It’s All Good’ in the Sunday paper. ‘Delicious easy recipes that will make you look good and feel great’… yes please! The book grew from a tricky patch in Gwyneth’s life (look at me talking about her, like we’re friends), but her story was something I could relate to. Last year I took our family down the whole foods path, and let me tell you, we are all the better for it.

ingredients

I like to keep seriously sugary treats for just that, a treat. When I bake for a special occasion, whoa, I don’t hold back! But for everyday, I try and sneak in as much nutrition as I can. Occasionally we still succumb to an emergency muffin whilst out and about, but I much prefer to make snacks of my own. This allows me use less refined sugars (to get all of the nutrition from them you can) and add in some sneaky nutrients! So here are some muffins, inspired by Gwyneth’s, which use better sugars and include a superfood! High five to me!

muffin

Banana, date and cacao nib muffins inspired by Banana-Date Muffins in It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen

  • 2 bananas, roughly smashed
  • 250g spelt flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 30g cacao nibs
  • 40g dark chocolate chips
  • 100g dates, chopped into small pieces
  • 100ml rice syrup
  • 30ml maple syrup
  • 150ml milk
  • 120ml oil of your choice (I used grapeseed, but I think coconut oil would be an awesome substitute)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with papers.

Whisk together the flour and the baking powder. Add cacao nibs and chocolate chips into the flour mixture and stir to combine.

bowldry

In a separate bowl, combine the rice syrup, maple syrup, milk, oil and smashed bananas (a few chunks are just fine). Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture, then add the dates (try to separate them from each other, they are super sticky!) and mix until combined.

bowlliquid

The mixture will look and feel really runny. Don’t stress! They will puff up beautifully in the oven and taste totally delish. Divide the mixture among the muffin cups and get ready to put your feet up. Pretty simple, huh? Bake them in the 200 degree C oven for 18 mins or until beautiful and golden and your house smells like an amazing banana wonderland.

muffinflower

Then tuck into them, as fast as you can!

muffinhand