Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cake - Fancy and Gluten Free

Today’s Cake is a tad fancier than yesterday’s. Sometimes it is handy to know at least one recipe for gluten free guests. Amongst the ingredients you’ll find lots of chocolate, copious eggs and cream but no flour or gluten. While I haven’t always got these ingredients in the pantry it’s well worth stocking up for the occasional special event. The photos below are of my sister’s 16th birthday present before being devoured by a dormitory of hungry girls. It is taken from “Nigella Bites” by Nigella Lawson. (for the sake of copy right this link should take you to the recipe, and here’s a brief summary anyway)

Chocolate Cloud Cake

250 g dark chocolate ( 70% + cocoa solids)
125g unsalted butter
6 eggs (2 whole, 4 separated)
175g caster sugar
2 tablespoons Cointreau
Grated zest 1 orange

Grease and line a 23 cm spring form tin. Preheat oven to 180 celcius.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Cut butter into cubes and add to chocolate to melt. Stir to combine and set aside to cool.

Beat 2 whole eggs and egg yolks with 75g of sugar. Fold in chocolate and butter as well as cointreau and orange zest.

Whisk egg whites until foamy. Slowly add remaining sugar and whisk until whites form soft peaks. Add a spoonful egg whites to chocolate mix and stir. Fold chocolate mix into egg white mixture.

Pour into prepared tin. Bake for 35-40 minutes until cake has risen and cracked, and centre is no longer wobbly.

The cake settles and falls as it cools, becoming a wonderfully dense chocolaty mass. This is best served with whipped cream, which also helps to hide the crater like surface.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cake - Simple and Effective

A big thank-you to everyone for your kind words on Miss H’s arrival. Amongst the care packages from an aunt I received a cardigan for E with this insightful note:

“I couldn’t decide on buttons, so feel free to change them. I thought it was important that the cardigan was instantly wearable because it might be a while before Amy has a spare moment to buy and sew on buttons.”

She knows me well. It took over a week to get the thread and turn on my sewing machine to finish a project . I still have to bind the wedding quilt and finish my outfit for the event. In the meantime I have been baking, as new mums need calories, and I thought I’d share a few recipes.

Today’s recipe is from “The Destitute Gourmet” by Sophie Gray. It’s wonderfully simple and most people will have all the ingredients in their pantry. There’s no fancy stuff like real chocolate, cream or liqueur* here. The frosting is simple too and really adds to the cake however it isn’t by any means compulsory.

Destitute Gourmet Chocolate Cake


1 2/3 Cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups trim milk (normal milk is ok too)
100g butter (melted)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 180 Celsius. Grease and line 20 cm round tin.
Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth (I told you it was simple). Pour into prepared tin and bake for about 50 minutes.


100g butter
250g icing sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
Milk to mix
1 tsp vanilla

Place butter, cocoa and icing sugar in food processor and pulse to combine. Add spoonfuls of milk one at a time, until mix is thick and spreadable. Add vanilla. Cut cake in half, spread centre with raspberry jam and icing, assumable cake and then cover the whole thing with icing.

If you haven’t a food processor, soften the butter and while beating, slowly add the icing sugar and cocoa. Continue mixing until combined and then proceed as above.

To date I have used this cake for numerous birthdays and office morning tea shouts.

(cake carefully disguised as a clock)

*I have found that a tablespoon of Cointreau adds quite well to the mix but I have to sneak it past my tea totalling husband.

edit: I just read this over and saw all my spelling errors and had to fix a few. It's not that I can't spell, I just can't type.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


It’s been a week and still, I am being surprised by new phrases. When my mother asked how ‘the girls’ were, I hadn’t really thought of it like that. The phrase “The Williams Sisters” took me by surprise too. Sisters. I always wanted one of those.

I remember being envious of my friends with sisters. They had someone who was always there in their life, whether they wanted it or not. Often a the sister was a closer friend and confidant for it too. My sister arrived when I was 14, so we have a different relationship again. One of us being at high school while the other is a baby and then one of us having babies while the other is at high school.

Esther and Hazel - soon to be good friends

Already I can see that Little e (is she still little if she is a big sister?) is very protective of what she calls “my sis-sis”. Other kids can’t get near the baby as Little e waves them away with protests of “No”. Then there is the ever demanding cry of “knee knee” to let us know that she is sitting and ready to give her little sister a cuddle on HER knee.

I can’t tell if they will be friends yet, but I certainly hope so. While we were expecting a baby, the arrival of a sister has taken me by surprise. It’s just what I always wanted.

Monday, May 18, 2009

She is Here

She is here. Hazel Elizabeth arrived last Monday morning, much to everyone’s delight. We have had a week of mutual admiration and remembering what it is like to have a newborn.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tropical Polar Bear Cake

The Great New Zealand Bake Off stopped in our town last night. The weather was miserable so it was nice to be inside with lots of very yummy food.

The overall winner was a parsnip cake, followed by pinot and lemon muffins (from Martinborough of course) and rhubarb streusel slice.

My contribution was this lovely coconut cake, which I shall refer to as the Tropical Polar Bear Cake. This is a shot of the trial cake I made over the weekend. For a teetotaller, my dearest gets a little too excited about the Malibu frosting. He’s requested one for his birthday next week.