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Posts tagged ‘cake’

Pacific Panforte – Macadamia, Mango, Coconut & White Chocolate

DSC_0006This was meant to be an Easter post, technically it still is being Easter Monday today but a little too late for any of you to make as an Easter gift which was my original intention. It would make a nice Christmas gift too so you can always stash the recipe in the memory banks for later this year. I have been selling the panforte on my market stall at Hobsonville Point on Sunday’s, it’s been quite popular, although the new addition of my vanilla custard & raspberry jam doughnuts seemed to have eclipsed everything with their popularity. I will try and share that recipe with you at some point or you can visit me at the market and pick up a few.


  • 200g roasted macadamia nuts
  • 350g dried mango, roughly chopped
  • 100g flour (or ground almonds can be substituted for gluten free)
  • 100g coconut thread or desiccated
  • ½ tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cardamon
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • 100g honey
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 150g white chocolate, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Prepare a 20cm x 20cm baking tin by lining it with greaseproof paper and also greasing the paper.
  3. Roast macadamia nuts in oven till golden brown. Remove and allow to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, mix flour, coconut, nuts and spices.
  5. In a pan over a low heat, melt the honey and sugar till dissolved and gently boil for 2 minutes.
  6. Add mango to the cooked honey and sugar and gently boil for a further 2 minutes.
  7. In a microwave or over a pan of simmering water, gently melt the chocolate pieces, being careful not to overcook them.
  8. Add honey and mango mixture, melted chocolate to the nuts and and flour mixture.
  9. Stir the mixture well with a wooden spoon (working quickly, it is easier to do this while the mixture is still hot).
  10. With a wet hand, press mixture into prepared tin.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  12. Cool on a cake rack.
  13. Store in an airtight container or gift wrap. Panforte will keep for a few weeks stored this way.


Easter Citrus Loaf with a Marzipan Centre


For those who are familiar with the German Christmas cake Stollen you will understand where this idea comes from. European Christmas treats are my favourite but what does that have to do with Easter? Well in NZ I find it too warm over Christmas for all those hearty winter cakes so I don’t tend to make many or buy any over that period but as the summer comes to a close here in New Zealand my UK brain still ticks over and thinks winter….and that means Christmas….and that means lots of marzipan, fruit cakes, spiced biscuits. The problem is, its only April here so I have decided to roll my Christmas goodies into Easter which will be dangerous to the waist line as I will no doubt eat my fair share of chocolate too!

This is an easy sweet dough mix with the addition of a little butter and milk for a richer brioche crumb. It’s perfect just cooled from the oven but if you can’t manage it all in one day it’s also good lightly toasted the next.

3 cups high grade flour
1 & 1/4 cups warm milk
1 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tbsp honey
50g candied/glacé citrus peel
20g butter, chopped
200g marzipan
Extra flour for rolling
1 egg for glaze

Place the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
Add the yeast and warm milk to the well in the centre and allow the yeast to dissolve for a minute.
Add the honey and citrus peel and bring the ingredients together to form a soft but not sticky dough. If it is too dry add a little more milk or likewise if too wet add a little more flour.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
Press the chopped pieces of butter into the dough and continue to knead for another 5 minutes.
It gets a little greasy at this point but eventually the butter melts and combines fully into the dough.
Place the dough back into the bowl and cover bowl with a plastic wrap to stop it drying out.
Let the dough prove till double in size. Once double in size roll the dough out into a flat oblong 14inch x 6inch, a bit like a fat baguette.
Roll the marzipan into a cylinder shape to fit the length of the dough and place in the centre.
Fold the dough over the marzipan and press closed at one side, the seam is at the side rather than underneath.
Preheat the oven to 200C and flour a baking sheet.
Place the loaf onto the floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap but ensure it doesn’t touch the loaf otherwise it will stick.
Let the loaf to prove again till doubled in size.
Whisk egg and brush top of loaf with egg which will give it a nice golden shine.
Bake for 35 minutes. It should sound hollow when tapped so you know it is cooked.
The topping it just a sugar icing with a few extra citrus peel scattered over the top.

Jamaican Ginger Cake with Lemon Icing


Winter has well and truly arrived and we have been battered by rain and high wind for the past week. What better to bake on a winters day than an old fashioned Jamaican spicy ginger cake. I looked around for a recipe that would deliver a cake from my childhood with a sticky and rich malty texture and found exactly what I was looking for in one of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall recipes. I added a lot more stem ginger to mine than was originally noted because I love it and added the lemon icing for a tangy contrast to the sticky sweet ginger. You can serve this as a tea cake slice or warm as a pudding with custard or ice cream. It will keep in an airtight container for up to a week


  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 80g dark muscovado sugar
  • 100g black treacle or molasses
  • 100g golden syrup (cane syrup, I think)
  • 50ml dark rum
  • 150g preserved stem ginger(candied ginger/crystalized ginger) finely chopped, plus a little of its syrup
  • 2 free range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 pinch salt


  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/ gas mark 4.
  • Grease a loaf tin, round baking tin or oven-proof frying pan that’s about 22cm in diameter, and line with baking parchment.
  • Lightly grease the paper.
  • Melt together the butter, sugar, treacle and syrup either in a pan or microwave, then allow to cool.
  • Place the stem ginger ( keep a few pieces for decoration) into a food processor and add the melted butter and sugar mix to it and blitz till the ginger is finely chopped.
  • Add the eggs and blitz again
  • Sift together the flour, allspice, ginger and salt, then add to the mixture and stir until smooth.
  • Pour into the lined tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.
  • To make the icing combine a tablespoon of lemon juice with 2-3 tablespoons of icing sugar.
  • Gluten Free Pear & Walnut Frangipane Tart – and a few holiday snaps


    Gluten Free Frangipane, Pear & Walnut Tart

    Not surprisingly the highlight of travelling for me is trying new cuisine and produce and of course bringing some back home to enjoy while reminiscing about our adventures. I squirreled a few products home with me from our trip to France, one of them was this green walnut confiture. It’s meant to be spread on bread or toast which I of course I tried but I also had in my mind to make a tart with it which moved to a gluten free tart with a ground almond base. In hindsight the confiture got a bit lost with the ground almond filling and this recipe would work just fine omitting the confiture but sprinkling the top with walnuts or even sliced almonds. You can also try this with other ‘pip’ fruit but I would avoid stone fruit as they may release too much juice into the already moist almond base.

    140g butter
    140g castor sugar
    140g ground almonds
    3 small free range eggs
    1 tbsp walnut confiture (optional)
    1 large pear, sliced into thin wedges
    70g walnuts, chopped
    Method – tart filling

    Preheat oven to 180C and grease and flour a 24cm loose bottom tart tin.
    Make the frangipane filling by creaming the butter & sugar together until light and fluffy.
    Gradually beat in the eggs one at a time.
    Fold in the ground almonds.
    Spread the mixture over the base of the tart tin, it should only come up half way to leave room to rise in the oven.
    spread the walnut confiture over the frangipane mix then arrange the pear slices over the confiture. If you don’t have confiture don’t worry it will still be delicious.
    Sprinkle chopped walnuts over the sliced pears.
    Bake for 35-45 minutes, the frangipane shuold be golden and risen slightly like sponge to touch. The centre of the cake may be more sticky but this is fine, it will set on cooling.
    Allow to cool before removing from the tart tin.

    Here are few holiday snaps from the Perigord region where we stayed





    Daring Baker Challenge – Turkish Delight Cheesecake


    This recipe has been inspired by the April’s Daring Bakers Challenge. The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

    Jenny has offered a basic recipe but challenged us all to turn the recipe into something unique, as she said ‘make a show stopper of a dessert’ by adding our own flavour, sauce or decoration. 

    The flavours I chose are from a recipe I used at a restaurant a few years ago, although it was the set variety then not baked, I had always intended to try and make a baked version but never got round to it. This was my chance, I had the Turkish Delight already (there is more often than not a supply in my cupboard!) and we were having visitors over for dinner on Saturday 25th. Yes a bit last minute I know particularly since I am travelling to Sydney on Monday 27th for work!  

    The cheesecake was a hit with our guests and was really very easy to make. I halved the mixture which made 4 individual portions but the full mix would be enough for 8 people. 

    Here’ the recipe with my additional flavours added to the basic mix


    • 2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs (I used McVities Chocolate Digestives in mine)
    • 1 stick / 114g/4 oz butter, melted
    • 2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar


    • 24 oz/680g cream cheese 
    • 1 cup / 210 g sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream (I used sour cream)
    • 4 tbsp rose water (my addition to basic recipe)
    • 200g rose Turkish delight (my addition to basic recipe)
    • 3 drops of red food colour (my addition to basic recipe)


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
    2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too – baker’s choice. Set crust aside. 
    3. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.
    4. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. 
    5. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. 
    6. Add heavy cream and rose water until smooth and creamy.
    7. Divide mixture into two bowls and add the red food colouring to one half and mix until colour is fully incorporated.
    8. Chop the turkish delight up into small pieces and place  half over the crust base.
    9. Spoon batter onto the prepared crust alternating the colour to give a marble effect and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Swirl a knife through it to make more texture on top but avoid moving the Turkish delight. (I actually swirled my two colours together in a bowl and then added them to the crust as this is how we used to make the set variety but of course that was quite thick and kept the colours separate. Unfortunately the colours mixed together too much therefore I recommend the marble technique instead). 
    10. Drop the rest of the Turkish delight into the batter, it should sink in slightly.
    11. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. 
    12. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage. 
    13. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. 
    14. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

    Here are some other variations offered by Jenny and Abby but I haven’t tried any of these. Although if you head over to TheDaringKitchen website or you will find a lot more variations from the other Daring Bakers participating this month, well worth visiting.

    ** Lavender-scented cheesecake w/ blueberries – heat the cup of heavy cream in the microwave or a saucepan until hot but not boiling. Add 2 tbsp of lavender flowers and stir. Let lavender steep in the cream for about 10-15 minutes, then strain the flowers out. Add strained cream to cheesecake batter as normal. Top with fresh blueberries, or make a quick stovetop blueberry sauce (splash of orange juice, blueberries, a little bit of sugar, and a dash of cinnamon – cook until berries burst, then cool)

    ** Cafe au lait cheesecake with caramel – take 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and heat it in the microwave for a short amount of time until very hot. Add 1-2 tbsp. instant espresso or instant coffee; stir to dissolve. Add this to the remainder of cream and use as normal. Top cheesecake with homemade caramel sauce (I usually find one on the food network website – just make sure it has heavy cream in it. You can use store-bought in a pinch, but the flavor is just not the same since its usually just sugar and corn syrup with no dairy).

    ** Tropical – add about a half cup of chopped macadamias to the crust, then top the cake with a mango-raspberry-mandarin orange puree.

    ** Mexican Turtle – add a bar of melted dark chocolate (between 3 and 5 oz., to taste) to the batter, along with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper (about 1/8 tsp.). Top it with pecan halves and a homemade caramel sauce.

    ** Honey-cinnamon with port-pomegranate poached pears – replace 1/2 cup of the sugar with 1/2 cup of honey, add about a teaspoon or more (to taste) of cinnamon. Take 2 pears (any variety you like or whatever is in season), peeled and cored, and poach them in a boiling poaching liquid of port wine, pomegranate juice/seeds, a couple of “coins” of fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick, and about a 1/4 cup of sugar. Poach them until tender, then let cool. Strain the poaching liquid and simmer until reduced to a syrupy-glaze consistency, then cool. Thinly slice the cooled pears and fan them out atop the cooled cheesecake. Pour the cooled poaching syrup over the pears, then sprinkle the top with chopped walnuts and fresh pomegranate seeds.

    Some variations from Jenny (from JennyBakes):

    **Key lime – add zest from one lime to sugar before mixing with cream cheese. Substitute lemon juice, alcohol, and vanilla with key lime juice.

    **Cheesecakelets – put in muffin tins, ramekins, or custard cups. Try baking 20-35 minutes, or until still a little jiggly, and cool as before.

    Chocolate Plum Flan

    This is a sponge flan baked ‘upside down’ to keep the fruit moist whilst baking in the oven. I treated the girls in work to a mid week morning tea with this flan and it went down a treat!!



    • 12-15 red plums, halved and stoned
    • 4 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 2 star anis
    • 125g butter
    • 125 sugar
    • 125 SR flour
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tablespoons milk
    • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder


    1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
    2. Put sugar, cinnamon, star anis & plums into a pan on a low heat & simmer for 20 minutes, so that plums are cooked and soft but still hold their shape.
    3. Arrange plumbs in the base of an 8 inch loose bottom flan tin. If you don’t have a loose bottom tin, line a cake tin with greaseproof paper which will help when removing flan.
    4. remove cinnamon stick and star anis and pour remaining juice over plums.
    5. Place butter & sugar into a bowl and beat with an electric whisk or good old fashioned wooded spoon until light and fluffy.
    6. Add one egg at a time and whisk in between both additions.
    7. Sift in flour and cocoa into butter mixture and fold in with a metal spoon.
    8. Add milk and fold together ingredients.
    9. Spread sponge mixture over plumbs ensuring it touches the side so the plum juice does not bubble up.
    10. Bake in oven for 35 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out of the sponge clean.
    11. Once cooled, turn flan upside down on a plate and remove the tin carefully.
    12. Serve on it’s own or with cream, ice cream or custard. Yum!
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