Archive for August, 2009

Cake Decorating

I was asked to make this cake as a favour for the University of Canberra Student Association.  I’m really pleased with the result, especially as I only had three days notice.  Not bad for a quick job.


The cake is actually two 10 inch chocolate cakes covered in chocolate buttercream.  The UCSA logo is made from sugarpaste and the writing is royal icing.


A new arrival

Yes, that’s right.  Today we welcomed a new family member.  She doesn’t have a name as yet, but she is gorgeous.


When we decide on a name we will let you know.  She is a staghound and is 8 weeks old.  Everyone is very excited to have her.

Raspberry and almond mascarpone cake

I made this rich dessert cake for my mother’s 70th (happy birthday Mum), and I have to say, it turned out fabulously.  It comes from the Australian Woman’s Weekly Bake.  It is a large cake and is perfect for a big crowd.  It is very rich so you only need small slices.

Raspberry and almond marscapone cake

raspberry cake

500g butter, softened
3 cups (660g) caster sugar
8 eggs
2 cups (300g) plain flour
1 1/2 cups (225g) self raising flour
1 cup (125g) almond meal
1 cup (250ml) milk
1 cup (140g) slivered almonds, roasted, chopped finely
400g fresh or frozen raspberries

Mascarpone cream
750g mascarpone cheese
300g sour cream
1 cup (160g) icing sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) orange-flavoured liqueur

Preheat oven to 160c.  Grease deep 30cm round cake pan; line base and side with baking paper, extending 5cm above side.

Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time; stir in sifted flours, almond meal and milk, in three batches.  Stir in chopped almonds and raspberries.  Spread mixture into pan.

Bake cake 1 hour.  Reduce oven to 150c; bake further 1 hour.  Stand cake in pan 20 minutes; turn, top-side up onto wire rack to cool.

Make mascarpone cream.  Beat mascarpone, sour cream and sifted icing sugar on low speed in large bowl with electric mixer until combined; stir in liqueur.

Split cake into three layers.  Place base layer on serving plate; spread with a third of the mascarpone cream, repeat layering, ending with mascarpone cream.  Decorate top of cake with vienna almonds.

Ricotta, sage and sweet potato shells

I found this recipe in the latest issue of Donna Hay Magazine (issue 46 Aug/Sept 09).  Two of my favourite people to cook from are Bill Granger and Donna Hay, so expect to see them pop up on a regular basis around here. 

I couldn’t go past this recipe.  I love stuffed pasta shells, sweet potato is a staple in our house and sage is one of my favourite herbs to cook with – how could I go wrong.  The only thing I was unsure of was that there is no sauce with this recipe, but truly it doesn’t need it.  This is a definite keeper.

The original recipe is designed as a starter for 4, but makes a good main meal for one, and can easily be increased to accommodate more.

Ricotta, sage and sweet potato shells


12 (100g) large pasta shells
200g sweet potato (kumera), peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
200g ricotta
3/4 cup (60g) finely grated parmesan
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
100g butter
12 sage leaves
shaved parmesan, to serve

Preheat oven to 220c (425F).  Cook the pasta in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 10-12 minutes or until al dente.  Drain and run under cold water until cool.  Set aside.

Place the sweet potato and oil on a baking tray and toss to coat.  Roast for 15 -20 minutes or until golden and tender.  Place in a bowl with the ricotta, 1/2 cup (40g) of the parmesan, garlic and lemon rind and mix to combine.  Spoon mixture into shells, place in a small baking dish and top with lemon juice, butter and sage.  Sprinkle with remaining grated parmesan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and sage is crisp. 

Top with shaved parmesan to serve.

Potato and Cabbage Soup

This recipe comes from the Australian Good Food magazine August 2009 issue.  It was easy to make, and nice and filling. 

Potato and Cabbage Soup

potato and cabbage soup

4 bacon rashers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 kg potatoes, peeled, cut into small cubes
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups water
1/4 medium cabbage, finely shredded

Cook bacon in a large pan on medium-high heat for 3 – 5 minutes, until crisp.  Cool slightly, then break into small pieces.  Set aside.

Heat oil in same pan on medium.  Add potato, onion, carrot, celery and garlic, then cover and cook for 5 minutes, until starting to soften.  Add stock and water.  Increase heat to high and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender.  Remove from heat. 

Using a stick blender, blend until smooth.  Add shredded cabbage and return pan to medium heat.  Simmer for 5 minutes, until cabbage is just tender.  Season to taste.

To serve, season soup with black pepper and top with pieces of crispy bacon.

How much can you bake in a day

With a 9am start and finishing at 3am, I managed to bake approximately 150 cupcakes, 150 biscuits and 60 cupcake pops.  Not bad for a days work.

Banana Fudge
banana fudge
Pecan and Cinnamon
Orange and Poppyseed
Lemon and Craisin
Cupcake Pops
cupcake pop

The recipes for the cupcakes all came from the Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook, the biscuits from the Australian Woman’s Weekly Cookies and the idea for the Cupcake pops from the Martha Stewart website although I used my own recipes for that one.