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Cake Recipes

14 May 2009

Passionfruit Sponge Roll


The sponge cake roll goes by many names. In France it’s known as a ‘roulade’ and can be seen at Christmas time as the elaborate Bûche de Noël or ‘yule log’ covered in thick chocolate icing and miniature meringue mushrooms.

Also known as the Swiss or jelly roll, the sponge cake roll is a thin layer of sponge baked in a sheet pan. Cooled on a kitchen towel, the sponge cake is then spread with a filling such as freshly whipped cream or in this case, cream and passionfruit butter, and then rolled and sprinkled with icing sugar. When sliced, the sponge cake has a beautiful pinwheel pattern.


Most of my experiences with sponge rolls have been with the packaged variety. This translates to preservative-laden cake filled with fake cream, and pales in comparison to the real thing.

Continue reading "Passionfruit Sponge Roll" »

25 March 2009

Blueberry Cornbread


It's been a while since my last post and as each day passes I feel a nagging guilt for not having written anything. My life is upside down right now and mostly packed away in cardboard boxes. We are leaving our home in Vancouver and heading back to Sydney. It's been four happy years and it's very hard to leave.

Posting over the next few weeks, and perhaps even months, will be sporadic. But I look forward to getting back into a rhythm and sharing my love of food with you. 

Thank you for your comments and your emails. I'm sorry I've been so lax in my responses. I hope to be back to normal soon.

In the meantime, I give you a 'rush recipe' favourite of mine: blueberry cornbread. Enjoy.

Continue reading "Blueberry Cornbread" »

29 January 2009

Sweet Corn Cornbread


Cornbread, once a means for survival by European settlers of the New World, has evolved from a "sad paste of despair" to a much-loved staple in parts of America. 

In colonial America, the shortage of flour and sugar meant that settlers had to make do with bread made from ground maize, salt and water. Early cornbread went by names such as "pone, ashcakes, hoe-cakes, journey-cakes, johnny-cakes, slapjacks, spoonbreads and dodgers".

Today cornbread recipes vary depending on location baking techniques. In northern America cornbread tends to be made using yellow cornmeal while southern states prefer white.

For my cornbread recipe I use buttermilk, butter, sugar and eggs. The cornmeal is just gritty enough so that the outside of the bread forms a fine crust. It's delicious and I've been eating it for days. The first time I made it, I ate it with a slow-cooked beef and vegetable stew. This time I've been eating it for breakfast with sliced bananas on top. The recipe has just the right amount of sugar in it to pair it well with savory or sweet foods.

Continue reading "Sweet Corn Cornbread" »

24 February 2008

The Pavlova: Queen of Desserts


I revisited an old recipe that I made last year: the Pavlova.

It is my third time making one. The last time I made it, the meringue sank when I opened the oven door. The same thing happened again today. But it wasn't the end of the world and this time my heart didn't drop when I saw the meringue slowly deflating before my eyes.

To remedy matters, I just put a little extra whipped cream where the hole was and piled on loads of strawberries to give the Pav a little extra height. So despite the hole, I still had a very successful dessert.

I cooked the meringue slightly longer this time by about 10 minutes. This gave the base a delicious, almost caramelly chew to it.

There are only four ingredients in the meringue: egg whites, castor sugar, cornstarch and a little bit of white vinegar. When I was beating the egg whites, I was thinking about how amazing the chemistry of food is. The transformation of the egg whites with the addition of sugar into a thick, glossy substance like shaving cream, is quite amazing to watch.


Another thing that crossed my mind was, how in the world did people make the Pavlova or meringues before the time of electric egg beaters?

It must have been a terrible ordeal but at least you'd have strong arms! I thought that if I'd been alive in pre-beater times, I would have invented a bicycle-ilke contraption so my legs would do all the work instead of my poor little arms.


16 November 2007

The Humble Lamington


The humble Lamington: a squarish piece of sponge cake dipped in chocolate icing and then rolled in desiccated coconut. They can also come with a cream or strawberry jam filling.

The Lamington is a quintessential part of every Australian's childhood, because they are sold at tuck shops (canteens) around the country and they are the most popular treats to sell at school fairs.

Lamingtons are believed to have been named after Charles Cochrane-Baillie, 2nd Baron Lamington, Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901.

Governor Lamington is reputed to have been highly displeased with his name being lent to the little sponge cake due to his rude utterings about them. I won't repeat what he was alleged to have said but let's just say he would have preferred to have been remember for other things.

I found an excellent recipe for Lamingtons on the Joy of Baking website. The sponge cake, which I was a bit apprehensive about making, turned out perfectly. It was light, moist and delicious.

Continue reading "The Humble Lamington" »

17 August 2007

Canoeing Cornmeal Muffins


These golden muffins were an essential source of fuel on our recent trip. They kept us going for 4 days of, at times, gruelling canoeing in the rain.

They were bumped around in a bag, and often not kept in an airtight container, yet they were still moist and delicious throughout their ordeal...and ours.

I should mention: as these were our main energy source for the better part of a week, this recipe makes quite a few (24 to be exact). For less strenuous times, halve the ingredients' quantities.

Canoeing Cornmeal Muffins

Dry Ingredients:
4 cups of unbleached flour
2 cups of cornmeal
3/4 cup of sugar
2 tbs baking soda
2 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp of sea salt

Other ingredients:
4 cups of buttermilk
1/2 cup of corn oil
3 large eggs


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F (180C).
  2. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the buttermilk, oil and eggs together well. Add to the dry mixture and stir.
  4. Spoon batter into muffin tins.
  5. Bake for about 15 -20 minutes or until golden and firm to touch.


25 July 2007

Pavlova: The Great Aussie Creation...or is it?


The Pavlova is a much celebrated Australian creation. Or is it? This delicate desert is part of a great debate between Australians and New Zealanders who both lay claim to its invention.

The Pavlova, with its thin meringue shell and marshmellowy centre, was aptly named after Russian prima ballerina, Anna Pavlova who visited New Zealand in 1926 and Australia in 1929. Some evidence seems to point to a chef in Wellington creating the Pavlova after being inspired by the prima ballerina's tutu. The Pavlova is New Zealand's national dessert.

Anyway, kudos to whomever the inventor was and thank you for creating such an extravagantly light dessert. Light in weight but perhaps not calories so much.

The most important thing to remember when preparing the 'Pav' is that you MUST use scrupulously clean utensils. Even the tiniest bit of grease or egg shell will hinder the meringue-making process and result in a messy disaster.

This was my second attempt at making a Pavlova and needless to say, I was very pleased with the result. It was touch and go however though because when I opened the oven door to let the Pavlova cool, the top of the base just sank. Just like that. It was a VERY stressful moment as I had been proudly watching its magical metamorphosis for several hours, only to have it collapse in three miserable seconds.

Thankfully, this development was not a catastrophic one as we simply piled on some extra whipped cream to fill the hole. Joy.

Continue reading "Pavlova: The Great Aussie Creation...or is it?" »

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