Wednesday, April 28

Pear & yoghurt cake

pear yoghurt cake

Some cakes have the potential to be the most amazing cakes; they have the potential to be so delicious, and light, and full of flavour. They promise you that they'll fulfil all your cake related dreams and then they let you down.

Or rather, you let them down. You mix up the ingredients, or you mix it wrong, or you combine everything in the wrong order, or you take it out of the oven too early.

Yet the cake refuses to fail you, like a loyal puppy that tries and tries and tries. You screwed up but the cake refuses to suck. Even after all the issues it's still pretty delicious. Or as delicious as a cake with issues can be.

This cake is one of those cakes. It's a mess but it still tastes pretty good. Admittedly, I did have to chop the middle out because it wasn't cooked properly. Patience is not a virtue that I often have so naturally I removed the cake from the oven too early. I didn't realise until after I'd un-moulded the cake that the centre wasn't cooked. I swear I checked it, I may not have checked it properly or thoroughly but I checked it. lesson learnt, check things properly and be patient.

So, in short - this would be an amazing cake if I'd cooked it properly but it's not because I screwed up. The bits that are cooked are amazing though, the rest of the cake is significantly less nice.

I've included the recipe even though it's unlikely that anyone will want to try it after my disaster. That said, I know that I will be trying is cake again sometime in the future!

Pear & yoghurt cake

(adapted from Decadence: Desserts by Philip Johnson)
makes one 20cm cake

145g unsalted butter
165g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
250g self raising flour, sifted
35ml milk
165g greek yoghurt
2 pears, peeled cored, and chopped

Preheat oven to 170°C (325°F). Grease and line the base of a 20cm spring-form cake tin with baking paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, Add the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. beat in half the sifted flour, then all the milk. Add half the yoghurt and mix well to combine. Gradually add the remaining flour and yoghurt and mix until just combined. Lastly, fold the pears through.

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool on a a wire rack.

Friday, April 16

Cherry & almond slice

cherry and almond slice

Sour cherries are something I will one day try fresh. I've had sour cherry jam, sour cherry juice, sour cherry pie filling but I have never ever seen a fresh sour cherry. I'm sure they're available somewhere in Australia but that somewhere doesn't seem to be near me.

This slice was originally a raspberry slice, so you could very easily turn it back into one if you have raspberries on hand. I didn't, so jarred cherries it was. There's nothing really wrong with jarred cherries in my view but, obviously, fresh everything is better.

The cherries are one of my favourite fruits and yet cherry season somehow passed me by this year. The apricots did the same. Ordinarily summer would have been spent knee deep in apricots and yet I didn't have a single apricot between December and February. Where were all the apricots, I don't know! Summer is now over and autumn is definitely here so it's time to stop lamenting and get back to talking about slices.


I've never really been a slice person, I make slices because other people like slice. Generally they're too sweet, or too dense, or the piece is too big, or too something else of me. This slice is nice, particularly when it's fresh. It's definitely best eaten the day it's made though it's okay the next day.

I made my slice in a loose bottom fluted tart tin, unfortunately a few sections stuck at the sides making a bit of a mess. If I were to make this again I'd follow the recipes recommendations and use a straight sided pan.

Cherry & almond slice

(adapted from Australia Gourmet Traveller, March 2005)
makes 16 slices


100g (3.5 oz) butter, softened
110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
1 egg
35g (1/4 cup) self-raising flour
150g (1 cup) plain flour
150g cherry jam


75g butter, softened
165g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
180ml (3/4 cup) buttermilk
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
75g (1/2 cup) self-raising flour
50gm (1/2 cup) ground almonds
200g sour cherries, fresh or jarred
50g almonds, blanched and roughly chopped

Grease the base and sides of a 20x30cm (8x12 inches) lamington pan. Line the base and long sides of the tin with baking paper, allowing the paper to extend 3cm (1 inch) over the long sides. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

For the base, beat butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy, around 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until well combined. Sift the flours over the butter, then stir until combined.

With an offset spatula, spread the batter evenly over the base of the lined tin in a thin layer. Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool in tin. Spread the cherry jam over the cooled base.

For the topping, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the egg and almond extract and beat until just combined.

Add the buttermilk, combined sifted bicarbonate of soda, flour, and ground almonds and stir until smooth. Spoon the batter over the jam mixture in the pan. Place raspberries evenly over the batter then scatter with chopped almonds. Bake at 180°C (350°F) for 35-40 minutes or until the slice is golden and firm to touch. Cool in pan. Serve with whipped cream and coffee.

Sunday, April 4

Daniel's apple & pear cake


Sometimes books lie, sometimes books say "best served warm" and it's a lie. A horrible, horrible, disappointing lie.

I served this cake, warm as suggested, at a friend's house. I took a bite and thought to myself "oh boy, what have I made?! I'm so sorry!" I pushed my plate aside and watched everyone (well, everyone except the boy who didn't like pears) finish their bit. And then I watched half the people (that's a whole two!) go and get another slice. Weird, maybe they were just humouring me?

When I left that night there was still a bit of cake remaining, so I took it with me. I shoved it in the fridge, feeling bemused as to why there was so little left. I didn't like it, why should anyone else?

This morning when I got up I tried the cake again tried because I thought I should give it another shot. It was delicious, absolutely delicious. The just cooked egg taste of the night before was gone. Gone without a trace. In it's place stood a rich, almost custard like, cake. So good, so pleased.

I think I'm going to go finish off the last two slices now.

Daniel's apple & pear cake

(from Wicked: Desserts from your Favourite Chefs by Delicious Magazine)


275g (9 3/4 oz) butter, softened
250g (8 3/4 oz) brown sugar
200g (7 oz) plain flour
3 eggs, at room temperature
100ml (1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon) milk
2 small pears, peeled, cored, and quartered
3 small apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
100g (3 1/2 oz) almond meal
85g (3 oz) hazelnut meal


115g butter
200g caster sugar
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 eggs

thick cream, for serving

Grease and line the base and sides of a 24 cm springform cake pan.

For the cake, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy and all the sugar has dissolved. Fold in the flour until combined. Add three of the eggs, one at a time, and stir until smooth. Add the milk and stir until well combined and batter is smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top.

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).

Arrange the apples and pears over the batter. Sprinkle the almond and hazelnut meal over the fruit.

For the topping, heat the remaining butter and sugar with the cinnamon in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat. Lightly whisk the 4 eggs and gradually add to the butter mixture. Whisk until combined.

Pour the topping evenly over the cake mixture and bake in the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the top comes out clean and the top is firm and brown.

Serve warm or cold depending on your preference, top with cream.