Category Archives: Cakes

Apple & Walnut Picnic Cake

Apple and Walnut Picnic Cake | Gather and Graze

There’s a certain novelty to eating outdoors in the form of a picnic. The vigorous shaking out of the much-loved blanket… ours, a tartan one, made all the more nostalgic having been received as a wedding gift decades ago from English friends unable to attend our wedding. And there’s room on that blanket for three, four, five, six… is it not true that however many people there might be, enough space can always be created? Coffee slurped out carefully into cups from a thermos or two… complementing both sweet and savoury offerings, centrally placed, spilling from tins or Tupperware or preferably both… giving the freedom to eat with one’s hands! Continue reading

Advertisements

Berry & Custard Cake

Berry Custard Cake | Gather and Graze

You might think that I’m trying to ignore the fact that winter is fast approaching… and well, you might just be right! One more week and the season of my discontent begins. A tendency to indulge in bear-like hibernation will become intensely strong… with the kitchen, my lair of warmth and comfort.

This cake is far from being considered seasonal right now, however it’s a recipe that shines just as brightly, whether you opt to use fresh or frozen berries… and quite frankly, sometimes you need a little hit of summertime flavours, before you get plunged into the dark, cold days of winter! Continue reading

Chocolate Swiss Roll with Nutella Cream

Chocolate Swiss Roll with Nutella Cream | Recipe | Gather and Graze

How does one get to my age without having made a Swiss Roll? It’s such a classic cake! Rest assured that I’ve already begun making amends for this shameful oversight… I’ve made two in the past week and with the flattering comments flying from the mouths of my boys, you can be sure I’ll be making these regularly in future. Continue reading

Hungry for… Honey Cake

Honey Cake | Recipe | Gather and Graze

It is doubtful that you’ll come across another cake that is quite so easy to make, yet rewards with such beautiful taste and moist crumb. Honey is the obvious star, bringing a touch of sunshine and happiness… subtle and well-balanced… demanding only a cup of tea as the perfect partner. Continue reading

Pear and Almond Upside-Down Cake

Pear and Almond Upside-Down Cake | Gather and Graze

Many moons ago, I think I mentioned that most Wednesdays I meet up for a coffee with a number of other parents from my children’s school. Yesterday was no different (though it was the first of the new school year)… hot coffees and teas sipped and relished, conversations criss-crossing the table, laughter permeating the air. Then, a wonderful surprise when John (one of the Dads) pulled from his bag a number of packages holding beautiful little pears, plucked from his tree at home to share with us all. The gift of produce or food is always something that excites me and that I’m truly grateful for. A couple of these sweet, ripe pears were munched as nature intended, but the rest were set aside in anticipation of making something extra delicious this morning. Continue reading

Banana Bread with Demerara Topping

The Best Banana Bread | gatherandgraze.com

This may well be the easiest cake in the world to bake… but it sure is one of the most delicious Banana Breads that I’ve ever eaten. Ready for the oven in a matter of minutes and on the table ready to be sliced in less than an hour. The demerara spiced topping produces a beautiful crispy crust, which gives way to a moist and flavourful interior. It also keeps well for a day or two in an airtight container, if by chance the whole cake doesn’t get snaffled on the day that it’s made.

Possibly the last cake recipe for a little while on G&G… now that our days are getting longer, I’m looking forward to snapping a few photos of our main meals to share with you instead. Somehow I never seemed to get myself organised enough to cook our dinner at lunchtime to photograph in the optimum light… hmmm, terribly lazy I know!

Banana Bread with Demerara Topping | Gather and Graze

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

  • 300g/2-3 Medium Bananas
  • 115g/½ Cup Raw Caster Sugar
  • 1 Free-Range Egg
  • 80g/⅓ Cup Unsalted Butter (Melted)
  • 150g/1 Cup Self-Raising Flour
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Cardamom
  • ¼ Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • Topping: 1 Tablespoon Demerara Sugar mixed with ¼ Teaspoon Cinnamon

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 23x13cm (9x5in) loaf tin.

In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Add the sugar, egg and melted butter and whisk well. Sift in the flour, spices and salt and stir until the dry ingredients are just combined. Now scoop the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and sprinkle with the combined Demerara sugar and cinnamon topping, if using.

Place into the oven and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes, until golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.

Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before removing to a cooling rack. Perfect served either warm, cold or toasted with lashings of butter! The Best Banana Bread | gatherandgraze.com

Belgian Almond Cake (Amandeltaart)

Amandeltaart (Belgian Almond Cake) | Recipe | Gather and Graze

Last week at a local second-hand book fair, I unearthed no less than 8 new cookbooks which all seemed to speak to me in some way and asked (in very polite voices) to come home with me. I’ll be the first to admit it… Continue reading

Swedish Spice Cake (Mjuk Pepparkaka)

Swedish Spice Cake (Mjuk Pepparkaka) | Recipe | Gather and Graze

I’ve not spent much time at all in the kitchen over the past couple of weeks… my thoughts, mind and heart have been elsewhere.

My head and heart both know though, that cooking is therapy for me, just as running, swimming, surfing or tennis will be for others. Whisking, sifting and stirring all create a welcome distraction… and within moments, the scent of softly spiced cake emanating from the oven is in the air… comforting, warm and soothing. Continue reading

Layered Chocolate Cheesecake – Fiesta Friday #27!

Layered Chocolate Cheesecake | Gather and Graze

It wasn’t easy, but I’ve removed my full-length Ugg Boots that have been firmly entrenched on my feet for the past two months and they’ve been replaced by a rather stylish set of heels. My Dame Edna frock has been donned, hair coiffed and coloured to the most beautiful lilac you’ve ever seen and my face made glamorous by a set of fancy, bejewelled glasses! I look a little something like this… Continue reading

Oh those Starbucks Memories… Lemon Pound Cake

Iced Lemon Pound Cake | Gather and Graze

Rituals allow us to feel somewhat secure in this crazy world of ours. I’m sure that many of you will agree that the simple act of preparing a cup of tea or coffee and taking the time to sit down and truly enjoy it, can be therapy for the soul. If brewed just right and sipped in either pure solitude or alongside a dear friend it can be more rejuvenating than any available medicine on Earth. Continue reading

Birthday Baked-Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping

Baked Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping | Gather and Graze

Friends, you’re invited to help celebrate the 1st Birthday of Gather and Graze today! Hard to believe that a year ago, I pressed that ‘Publish’ button for the very first time, sending my heart and soul (along with a no-fail recipe for Perfectly Fluffy Scones) out there for all to see. Continue reading

Chocolate-Chip Pavlova and Pointe Shoes

Chocolate Chip Pavlova, Gather and Graze

From the tender age of three, up until about eighteen, I took part in Classical Ballet lessons. No doubt there were days when I didn’t want to attend, but for the most part I danced along quite happily, grand-jetéing and pirouetting all the way to class… Ballet books lined the shelves, tutus filled the dress-up tub and oh so much oohing and aahing was had over the national and international ballet dancers who came to perform in our local theatre. My mother bought season tickets each year for us both to attend. Mikhail Baryshnikov was my pin-up boy… until the likes of INXS, Wham and Michael J Fox took over. Ahh yes, I’m an 80’s girl after all…

So unsurprisingly, in my younger years, a pavlova would be my number one request each year for my Birthday Cake. A dessert created for the beautiful, touring Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova – what could be finer? I thank my Mum dearly for making such delicious cakes over the years and for always making whatever our hearts desired. I’ve continued that tradition with my own children and love the challenge of finding a way to make their requests come to fruition, not to mention the priceless looks of wonder and appreciation at the finished cakes.

These days pavlova makes an appearance in our house more often at Christmas and always on Australia Day (January 26th). A summer dessert, perfect for when berries and passionfruit are in season and the sun is sitting high in the sky. This year, it was a Chocolate-Chip Pavlova that adorned our Christmas Day table and tempted us to eat just that little bit more…, deliciously topped with fresh raspberries, strawberries and chocolate curls.

Chocolate-Chip Pavlova, Gather and Graze

The recipe below is adapted slightly from a classic recipe of Stephanie Alexander‘s in her amazing tome The Cook’s Companion. I feel rather strongly that the oven temperatures she uses are too hot (for my own oven, at least…), resulting, once before, in an unfortunate-looking, browned pavlova. Never a good look… unless of course you’re making a Chocolate Pav! One of my dearest friends, Claire, made a wonderful Chocolate-Chip Pavlova a couple of years ago and ever since then, I’ve shamelessly added choc-chips to my own – thinking of her ALWAYS when I do though! xx

Chocolate-Chip Pavlova | Gather and Graze

  • 4 Free-Range Egg Whites (at room temperature)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 220g/1 Cup Caster Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Cornflour (Sifted)
  • 1 Teaspoon Verjuice (or White Wine Vinegar)
  • 100g/½ Cup Good Quality Dark Chocolate (Chopped)
  • 300ml Cream (Whipped to Soft Peaks)
  • Fresh Fruit/Berries/Shaved Chocolate to Decorate

Pre-heat the oven to 130°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Slowly add the caster sugar while continuing to whisk, until stiff peaks form. Fold in lightly the cornflour, verjuice/vinegar and the chopped chocolate.

Scoop the mixture onto the baking tray and shape into a 20cm round, flattening the top and sides.

Bake for 1½ hours and then turn the oven off, prop the door slightly ajar with a wooden spoon, leaving the pavlova shell to sit in the oven until completely cool.

When ready to serve, top the shell with whipped cream, fresh berries/seasonal fruit and a scattering of chocolate curls.

Chocolate-Chip Pavlova, Gather and Graze

* Recipe adapted from Stephanie Alexander’s ‘The Cook’s Companion’ Cookbook

Finding my Inner German with a little Apple Streusel Cake

German Streusel Cake, Gather and Graze

I’ve bemoaned the fact once before (here) on ‘Gather and Graze’ that my Anglo-German heritage is lacking in at least one or two colourful, Mediterranean ancestors. But no more my friends! After tasting these little cakes, I’m embracing my inner German girl today and sharing with you a fabulous recipe; amended and updated from one that my Mum passed on to me a few years ago. The addition of grated apple and Butterscotch Schnapps gives not only the perfect flavour, but also extra moisture and tenderness to these delicious afternoon tea treats. Genießen Sie!

German Apple Streusel Cupcakes | Gather and Graze

  • Servings: 12 Small Cakes
  • Print

Cake Ingredients

  • 30g/2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (Melted)
  • 175g/¾ Cup (Raw) Caster Sugar
  • 1 Free-Range Egg (Lightly Beaten)
  • ¾ Cup Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Butterscotch Schnapps (optional, but oh so worth it!)
  • 265g/1¾ Cups Self-Raising Flour
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 2 Apples (Peeled, Cored and Grated coarsely)

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line a muffin tin with cupcake papers.

Into a large mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar, egg, milk and Schnapps and stir well with a wooden spoon. Sift in the dry ingredients and fold them in lightly. Add the grated apple and once again fold lightly, until incorporated.

Spoon the batter carefully into the prepared tins and add a layer of Streusel Topping – instructions to follow below, after the photos…

German Streusel Cake, Gather and Graze

German Streusel Cake, Gather and Graze

Streusel Topping Ingredients

  • 75g/½ Cup Plain Flour
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 80g/½ Cup (Raw) Caster Sugar
  • 45g/3 Tablespoons (Cold) Unsalted Butter

Sift the flour and cinnamon into a small bowl, then stir in the sugar to combine. Dice the butter into small cubes and then rub into the flour mixture, until resembling course bread-crumbs. 

Sprinkle a good layer of Streusel over the tops of the cakes and then bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean from the middle.

Enjoy with a good cup of tea or coffee… or there’s always that leftover Butterscotch Schnapps! 😉

German Streusel Cake, Gather and Graze

Easy Weekend Orange Cake

Orange Cake Gather and Graze

A quick little recipe post for my lovely Mum, who I think was worrying that I was worrying too much about the health issues of the world this week. An effortless yoghurt and orange cake to welcome the weekend and to wish you all much happiness (and hopefully a little sunshine to enjoy) over the next few days. Solving the obesity epidemic can wait ’til next week! 😉

Easy Weekend Orange Cake | Gather and Graze

  •  250g/1 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 220g/1 Cup Raw Sugar
  • Zest of 1-2 Oranges
  • 3 Free-Range Eggs
  • 300g/2 Cups Plain Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 180g/ 2/3 Cup Greek Yoghurt
  • 80ml/ 1/3 Cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
  • Icing Sugar (for dusting over the top)

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base of a 22cm round cake tin.

Cream the butter, sugar and orange zest in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until combined.

In a measuring jug, mix together the yoghurt and orange juice.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Add the dry ingredients in 2 or 3 lots to the butter mixture, alternating with the yoghurt/juice. Mix each addition through gently, until completely combined.

Scoop the mixture into the cake tin and bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes, before turning out of the tin. When cool, dust with icing sugar or decorate as you wish.

Orange Cake Gather and Graze

Cooking Notes:

  • Please note that this cake is best eaten on the same day it is baked. For some reason it becomes somewhat denser the day after it is cooked and even more so by the second day.
  • The raw sugar will also give a slightly denser crumb to the cake – feel free to use caster sugar if you prefer a slightly lighter texture.
  • Take care to watch the cake in the final 10 minutes or so of cooking, to make sure the top doesn’t brown too much. Cover loosely with a sheet of foil if you feel that it is.
  • This cake is lovely served with a dollop of Greek Yoghurt on the side.

Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes and a Cumquat Quandary

Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes | Recipe | Gather and Graze

What to do… when your cumquat tree decides to bear just one, solitary cumquat? I wouldn’t be asking this question if it wasn’t the most beautiful cumquat I’d ever seen and as it’s the only cumquat my tree has ever deigned to produce, it truly deserves to be celebrated! My little citrus gem is ready to be plucked from it’s branch in the next day or two, before the birds discover my hidden treasure, so your thoughts and advice on how to best savour and venerate this lone piece of fruit would be ever so welcomed! I get the feeling jam is out of the question…

Cumquat Gather and Graze

From cumquats to cupcakes… Both, worthy of celebration and each so endearing in their miniature sizing. Though, unlike the cumquat, I’ve had a glut of cupcakes practically spilling out of the oven over the past few days as the Birthday celebrations of our eldest took place. Two dozen decorated cupcakes to share with classmates at school and then another dozen or so (slightly more dressed-up) for party day!

It was perfect timing that I’d done a ‘Cupcake Decorating’ course with a few girlfriends just recently, so unlike the many years gone by, I was now well-taught (though not terribly well-practised) in the techniques of frosting with a piping bag. It was so much speedier (and I must say, a little more elegant…) than slathering them with a palette knife! In our course, we also spent time decorating with fondant icing – forming piggy faces, roses, ribbons/bows and somewhat creepy-looking babies (well, mine was anyway!) A lesson of basic tips and tricks that will be fabulous to know for the family Birthday cakes yet to come. A few Photos…

There really is something indulgent and slightly magical in the eating of these miniature cakes, that can transport you back to childhood in an instant. Something decadent in being able to consume a whole cake, in it’s entirety, in a matter of seconds… without feeling too guilty. The flavours, colours and designs are limited only by your imagination.

Enjoy the following classic recipe for Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes with vanilla frosting, which are then made even more delicious with a topping of melted chocolate and a little crunch from coloured sprinkles. My children loved them… and I must admit, so did I!

Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes | Gather and Graze

  • Servings: Makes 12-15 Cupcakes
  • Print

  • 125g/½ Cup Unsalted Butter (softened)
  • 175g/¾ Cup (Raw) Caster Sugar
  • 2 Free-Range Eggs
  • ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 225g/1½ Cups Self-Raising Flour (Sifted)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 125mls/½ Cup Full-Cream Milk

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and place paper baking cups onto a tray.

In an electric mixer, cream the softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the sifted flour and salt, in two lots, alternating with the milk until combined. Spoon the batter into the paper baking cups and bake for approximately 15 – 25 minutes (depending on the size of your cupcakes), or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre of your cupcakes.

Allow to cool completely before decorating. The recipe for frosting and tips for decorating are to follow…

Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes | Recipe | Gather and Graze

Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes | Recipe | Gather and Graze

Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting

  • 250g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
  • 500g Pure Icing Sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tablespoons Full-Cream Milk

Place all ingredients into an electric mixer and beat, initially on slow speed (until the icing sugar has been incorporated into the butter), then on medium/fast until frosting is fluffy.

Using a Wilton 1M Piping Tip (or similar) and a piping bag, pipe swirls over each of your cupcakes, working from the outside in.

Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes | Recipe | Gather and Graze

To transform into ‘Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes’… drizzle carefully with melted chocolate (I used 100g of good quality Milk Chocolate mixed with 1 Tablespoon of Vegetable Oil – heated gently and stirred over a double-boiler… or extra-carefully in short bursts in the microwave). Top each cupcake with a lolly/candy raspberry (or a glacé cherry for authenticity) and scatter with some coloured sprinkles.

Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes | Recipe | Gather and Graze

Classic Chocolate Cake

Classic Chocolate Cake Gather and Graze

I’d like to be up front in saying that I don’t believe in using reduced or low-fat dairy options, or any form of margarine or blended butter-impersonating spreads in my cooking.  It seems to me that too much tampering with milk, cheeses, yoghurt and butter is turning what should be such natural, traditional products into the laboratory-created frankensteins that line the refrigerated shelves of our supermarkets. Continue reading