Fruit cake (boiled fruit cake)

The only cakes I remember my mum making when I was little was a boiled fruit cake and a chocolate ripple cake. I’ve always loved fruit cakes and I’ve been making this boiled fruit cake for as long as I’ve been cooking, it is easy to make and only uses one saucepan. It’s always seemed a bit “healthy” with the use of lots of fruit (however a dietician will not agree) and it will easily last a week if you store it well. Mum liked to spread a layer of butter on the slice of cake (she put a thick layer of butter on everything) and sometimes I do this too. Why don’t you try it both ways and decide which you like best? This cake is perfect for the lunch box and very popular with the older generation.


Old fashioned boiled fruit cake
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Recipe type: cakes
Cuisine: Australian
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Serves: 12
This cake is moist and full of luscious fruit and nuts
Ingredients
  • 500 mg mixed fruit (or replace some with dates, glace ginger or cranberries)
  • 125 mg butter
  • 1 cup of dark brown or raw sugar (dark makes a darker cake)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbs golden syrup or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tbs boiling water
  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 1 cup of self raising flour (I like to make one wholemeal)
  • ½ tsp mixed spice (spices are optional, I like ginger and cinnamon)
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ⅓ chopped walnuts (can put some on top too)
Instructions
  1. Put mixed fruit, butter, sugar, golden syrup and water in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until the butter melts
  2. Bring to the boil and boil uncovered for 2 min
  3. Add the boiled water and bicarb of soda mixed together to the mixture (it will fizz up quite a bit)
  4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool
  5. Add lightly beaten eggs and mix well
  6. Add the dry ingredients and chopped walnuts
  7. Place into a prepared 20 cm round or square tin lined with baking paper
  8. Decorate with almonds if desired
  9. Bake at 160* C for 1¼ to 1½ hours or until cooked when tested with a skewer
  10. Cool in tin (covered with tin foil)

Moist dark chocolate cake

It is hard to beat a good chocolate cake and when I was learning to cook (still am actually) I searched high and low for a “good” recipe, I even asked my Auntie Mary –  a renowned cake maker – for her recipe, but Auntie Mary’s cake was too dry and not dark enough for my liking (I must have tasted a “really good” cake somewhere). I eventually found this recipe, it ticked both boxes – dark  & moist and it soon became “the family birthday cake” it was very popular! My mum really liked this recipe and made many of these cakes for celebrations or just for the heck of it; she made her version with a chocolate butter filling and icing, but I like it better filled with whipped double cream (sweetened / vanilla) with a chocolate ganache icing. The chocolate part of this cake is cocoa based and for best results you must use a good quality dark cocoa (I like Droste). The cake slices easily, stores well (in the fridge), is relatively cheap to make and is easy peasy as long as you have a good mixer (I suppose you could make it by hand like they did in the “old days”).


Moist dark chocolate cake
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Recipe type: Cake
Cuisine: Australian
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
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Serves: 8 - 10
The best chocolate cake ever!
Ingredients
  • 125gm butter softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ⅔ cup cocoa (dark is best)
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1¾ cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch salt
  • cream for filling
  • chocolate ganache icing
Instructions
  1. Beat the butter until light and fluffy
  2. Add the eggs, vanilla and sugar and beat until well combined
  3. In a separate bowl make a paste by mixing the cocoa and hot water together
  4. Slowly add the chocolate paste to the batter
  5. Add the vinegar to the milk (makes it sour)
  6. Next add the sieved dry ingredients in batches to the batter alternatively with the soured milk
  7. Don't overbeat the mixture
  8. Pour the mixture (quite a wet mixture) into 2 greased and papered 20cm sandwich tins and bake at 180*C for approx 30 min or until cooked
  9. Cool in tins for 10 min before turning out onto a cooling rack
  10. Beat some good quality cream with a little icing sugar and ½ tsp of vanilla essence until it is quite firm
  11. Spread over one of the cakes and top with the other
  12. Make an icing by melting some dark chocolate with a little cream (in a bowl over hot water), letting it cool and starting to thicken before topping the cake with it (or use your own icing recipe)
  13. Put in the fridge for a while to set
  14. Get the cake out of the fridge 20 min before serving time
  15. It should be firm and easy to cut

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Pumpkin citrus syrup cake

delicious!

delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I picked the crop of pumpkins last week, I just hope it wasn’t too early, in the past I have gone by the rule that you leave the pumpkins on the vine until the vines wither and the first frost comes, but after reading alternative practises I made the decision to go for it. I was not happy to read later in another article that if pumpkins are picked too early they will not keep as well, oh boy what have I done? I guess we will just have to wait and see (I’ll look at it like a scientific experiment), so now there are 26 pumpkins on the deck (3 gone already) and my pumpkin cooking ideas may need to broaden. I made a batch of soup but the freezers are already full so there is no need for more soup just yet, and then I remembered a pumpkin syrup cake from the most used of all my cookbooks – The Australian Women’s Weekly Cakes and Slices Cookbook (1989), so out it came and as I flicked through it I realised that I have made most of the cakes and slices in it, what a fabulous cookbook it has been, the price tag of  $7.98 was still on it, I have certainly got my money’s worth from that book!  Anyway I made the cake and wow what a cake it is! My number two son said “that cake doesn’t look anything special but it is the best cake I have ever had” – now that is a ringing endorsement if I ever heard one – I changed the cake from an orange to a lemon / lime cake as I like the sweet/tart combination better (you could use orange juice and rind if you prefer an orange cake).

 

Pumpkin citrus syrup cake
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Recipe type: Cake
Cuisine: Australian
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
As no 2 son stated "mum this is the best cake I have ever eaten"
Ingredients
  • 250gm butter
  • 1tbs each of grated lemon & lime rinds
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 1tsp lemon essence
  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 3 eggs separated
  • 1 cup mashed pumpkin
  • For the syrup:
  • 2tbs lemon juice
  • 2tbs lime juice
  • ¾ cup sugar
Instructions
  1. Prepare a large cake tin (23cm) and warm oven to 180*C
  2. Cream the butter (take out of the fridge to soften), rinds and sugar until well combined (it will be light and fluffy in appearance)
  3. Add the egg yolks one at time beating well after each addition
  4. Stir in half the sifted flour and half the cold mashed pumpkin
  5. Repeat with the remaining flour and pumpkin (the mix will appear dry)
  6. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and fold gently through the cake batter
  7. Spread into the prepared pan
  8. Bake for approximately one hour or until golden and cooked through
  9. Pour hot syrup over the hot cake and leave in the tin for 10 min before placing onto a cake rack to cook
  10. To make the syrup:
  11. Combine the juices and sugar in a small saucepan and slowly bring to the boil while stirring constantly and until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes

The challenge now is to see how long the pumpkins last, whether they are ripe (hopefully a dark orange colour) and just how much pumpkin we can eat and give away. I want to roast up pumpkin pieces to store in the fridge to use in everyday cooking and salads, maybe some pumpkin dip, deep fried in batter might be nice but naughty, and one thing is for sure I am going to make more pumpkin citrus syrup cake.

fabulous cookbook

fabulous cookbook

This book and their birthday cake cookbook (for kids) were the most used books in my kitchen for years and they bear the scars well, they’re falling apart, are battered and torn but no wonder they were a part of our family cooking scene, we would pour over them (the kids and I) deciding what treat or birthday cake to make, such a lot of sweet memories belong to these two cookbooks, thanks Women’s Weekly!

Scones (cream tea)

I’ve been thinking about writing a blog on scones for a couple of weeks now and buying some beautiful organic berry jam was all the inspiration I needed (you have to have wonderful jam and the best cream). Scones are a pretty basic food and I know a lot of you out there already know how to make them, but for those others who haven’t found the “right” recipe, or whose scones turn out like rocks then try this “Lemonade Scones” recipe. It’s an old recipe that’s been going around the traps between cooks for years, and yes it has lemonade and cream in it! Scones are not good left standing or stored in any way, cooked at the last minute and eaten straight out of the oven is the ONLY way to go. I have been informed that they freeze well and after a brief microwave are ready to eat and you wouldn’t know the difference, but I haven’t tried this. When we lived in the bush and had a huge vegetable garden, we grew youngberries, raspberries and strawberries but space is now an issue and our strawberry patch doesn’t seem to provide enough berries to make jam, so I may have to buy some fruit to make jam or buy more lovely organic jam.


Scones (cream tea)
5.0 from 1 reviews
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Recipe type: morning /afternoon tea
Cuisine: English
Author:
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Serves: 12
Light fluffy scones served with luscious berry jam and double cream
Ingredients
  • 3 cups of self raising flour sifted
  • 1 cup cream (pouring)
  • 1 cup lemonade
  • jam & double cream for serving
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 200*C
  2. Place flour in large bowl and pour in liquid ingredients
  3. Mix lightly and until barely combined
  4. Might still be quite wet but don't worry
  5. Put some flour onto a board or your bench and tip dough onto it
  6. Add a little more flour to the top of the dough and gently work dough to form a smooth surface
  7. It should be about 2.5cm thick
  8. Cut with a scone cutter and place scones on a lined oven tray
  9. You can brush them with milk if you want a shiny top
  10. Bake in a hot oven for 15min (check to make sure they are cooked in the middle by opening one up)
  11. Place on a clean tea towel to cool and wrap to keep fresh
  12. Serve with lashings of jam and cream and hot strong tea

I have a lovely scone cutter I bought about 30+ years ago from the blacksmith shop at Sovereign Hill. Scones can be tricky to cut with a glass or other implement, dipping the tool in flour helps the cutting process.

Profiteroles / chocolate eclairs

choux pastry delights

choux pastry delights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have played with choux pastry over the years without a lot of success (mind you I cooked in a wood stove oven without any temperature control) but after making profiteroles at the cooking school in Positano and making them a few times since I am happy to say they are fun to make, cost next to nothing and look and taste fabulous. I have made them with a custard and cream filling and probably prefer a blend of both or just the whipped cream filling. In Positano we made a lemon cream sauce (with lemonchello) instead of chocolate sauce (icing), but it was just too much cream – chocolate is much better! I used my kenwood mixer to do all the hard work (beating the eggs into the choux pastry base) so it was easy to make and it’s fun playing with a piping bag and watching the whole process.

Profiteroles
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Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
Delicate light choux pastries filled with a creamy centre and drizzled with chocolate
Ingredients
  • 250gm plain flour
  • 250gm water (1 cup)
  • 75gm butter
  • 5 eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 220*C
  2. Place the water and butter in a saucepan and bring to the boil
  3. Immediately add the all the flour and stir strongly until it forms a firm ball- about 3 minutes
  4. Take off the heat
  5. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes then place in a large bowl of a mixer and whip in eggs one at a time (or beat mix by hand)
  6. Place into a piping bag and make small mounds on an oven tray lined with baking paper (leave some room around them)
  7. Push the peak (or pointy bit) down gently with a wet finger (it will burn otherwise)
  8. Cook for 12 minutes at 220* then turn down to 180* for a further 12 minutes (should be golden brown and puffed up)
  9. Let the pastries cool before filling with whipped cream (add some icing sugar & vanilla essence) using the piping bag again
  10. Make some chocolate sauce (can use equal weight of chocolate and cream) and pour over the pastries (or use your own recipe)