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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Blueberry and Marmalade Cake with Sugared Pecans


I am revisiting a recipe I posted in 2013. It’s a moist butter cake made even more moist by the addition of sour cream and marmalade.

Blueberries and pecans through the cake give both fruitiness and crunch.

You could easily substitute blackberries for blueberries and either walnuts or almonds for the pecans.

125 gms softened butter

3/4 cup caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla paste

2 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

2-3 tbls citrus marmalade

1 3/4 cups self-raising flour

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tsp bicarabonate of soda

1 1/2 cups blueberries

1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup caster sugar

To serve: a handful of blueberries, a sprinkling of caster sugar (optional) and thick cream.


Preheat oven to 160 degrees C or 150 degrees C fan-forced. Grease a 20cm spring form tin and line base with baking paper.

Cream butter, caster sugar, vanilla paste and eggs in a food processor until thick and pale. Beat in sour cream and cumquat marmalade, reserving a good teaspoonful, then add alternately SR flour and milk in 3 batches. Combine the bicarbonate of soda, remaining marmalade and 1 tsp water in a small bowl, then pulse into the cake mixture.

Spoon into the cake tin using a spatula, then scatter the blueberries (reserving a handful), and chopped pecans over the batter. Lastly sprinkle over the brown sugar, making sure the nuts are well covered. The nuts will caramelise nicely during baking.

Bake for 45 minutes, then gently open oven door and scatter remaining blueberries and caster sugar over cake. This is to ensure that some of the blueberries sit on top of the cake – some will have sunk into the mixture during the initial cooking.

Close oven door and cook for a further 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake completely in the tin before unmoulding.

Serve plain or with whipped cream, creme fraiche or sour cream.




Lemon Cupcakes with a Whole Lemon


I have been making lots of little cakes after Christmas as an antidote to Christmas cake and Christmas pudding. I have taken my basic cupcake mixture, which is a one bowl recipe, and added different flavours. I’ll be posting some more variations soon.

The lemon cupcakes are made with a whole lemon. They can be served individually or tiered, whatever takes your fancy. Cooking a whole lemon, whizzing it, and adding it to the mixture, elevates an ordinary cupcake mixture to new heights, making a really tangy cake. I iced them with a simple buttercream icing. You can flavour it any way, I added passionfruit essence as I wanted a bright yellow icing and a little tang.  Plain old yellow food colouring would be fine too.



1 whole thin skinned lemon

125g self-raising flour

125g caster sugar

125g butter

2 large free-range eggs

2 tblsp milk

Buttercream Icing

125g butter, softened

250g icing sugar, sifted

A couple of drops of passionfruit essence and/or  couple of drops of yellow food colouring



Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or 160 degrees C fanforced  and line a muffin or cupcake  tin with cupcake cases.

Put the lemon whole into a small saucepan, covering with water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 1/2 hour until the lemon has softened. Remove from the saucepan and cool. Cut off the ends of the lemon, cut in half and remove the pips. Put the lemon into the food processor and blitz  – don’t pulverize, you still want a little texture.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the  food processor except the milk and food colouring and blitz till smooth. Add the milk while pulsing to make a soft, dropping consistency.

Spoon the mixture into the cases. Place the tin in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cup cakes are cooked and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Take the cup cakes in their cases out of the tin and cool on a wire rack. Remove the cases ready for icing.

Ice with the buttercream icing.

Buttercream Icing

In the food processor, cream together the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy, then add flavour essence and/or food colour, whizzing continuously.

You can either sandwich together two cakes for the tired effect or serve individually. If you are tiering, you may need to trim the bottom cake to allow the top one to sit straight. You can decorate with whatever you please. I candied some lemon slices and also used edible pansies, which are so pretty on cakes!








Christmas Pudding Strudel


This was my Twelfth Night dessert on January 6 2015. I celebrated the Twelfth Night of Christmas with a group of my old uni friends and a few others. I wanted to make something Christmassy but we were all over Christmas cake, pudding and trifle.

I had been fascinated by one of Jamie Oliver’s Christmas specials in which he created a Christmas Pudding strudel. It’s basically layers of filo pastry, filled with grated apple, pear or quince, crumbled Christmas pudding and a surprise chocolate centre.

This is a delicious way of using left over Christmas pudding. I had made a lovely rum and pineapple Christmas pud (see here) for Christmas day, along with an ice cream version. The pineapple one was very big, and so we had heaps left over. Now seemed the appropriate time to try Jamie’s recipe!

I used grated pear in my strudel. I think in retrospect I could have done with less filo layers – 12 all up was a bit much! The chocolate centre was a hit plus lots of demerara sugar on top gave a great crunch.

Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Pudding Strudel


12 sheets filo pastry (if frozen, thaw)

125 g butter, melted

1 teaspoon ground  cinnamon

100 g demerara sugar + more for dusting when serving

4 ginger nut biscuits

400 g leftover Christmas pudding

3 apples or pears or 2 quinces or a mixture of the three

50 g good-quality chocolate, roughly chopped


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan forced.  Lay out 6 sheets of filo pastry on a clean tea towel, overlapping each by an inch or so, so they cover the tea towel.
The filo should cover the tea towel completely, with just a little overhang at one of the shorter ends.

Work quickly so your pastry doesn’t dry out and brush some melted butter all over it. Sprinkle over the cinnamon and 50 g of the sugar, then crumble over your ginger nut biscuits to add crunch. Carefully layer the rest of the pastry sheets on top and brush again with butter.

Use your hands to crumble the Christmas pudding into a bowl then grate in the fruit, everything except the cores. (Jamie says to use the cores  – I don’t think you need them.) You want to have about the same amount of grated fruit as you’ve got pudding. Add about 2 tablespoons of sugar, and mix it all together to break up the pudding a bit more. Sprinkle this all over the pastry so it’s roughly covered, leaving the overhang clear. Place the chocolate in a row on top of the Christmas pudding, down the short side nearest the overhang.

Fold the overhang over the chocolate and pinch it up, then lift up your tea towel, and use it to help you carefully roll up your strudel. Tuck the ends under to seal it and transfer to a large nonstick baking tray. Brush it all over with butter then sprinkle over a little more sugar. If it looks a bit rough, you could wrap an extra layer of filo round it before cooking to make it neater. Bake in the hot oven for about 40 minutes until crisp and golden. You may get a split once cooked – I agree with Jamie that that would add to the rustic effect!

Leave to cool, then use a serrated knife to cut the strudel into 5 cm slices.

Note: This recipe makes quite a large strudel. The photos were taken AFTER my Twelfth Night celebration – what was left is about half of the original.


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