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Passionfruit and Lemon Ricotta Cake

This cake is pretty easy to make, looks good and keeps really well. It’s quite dense because of the ricotta, and this helps with its keeping properties. It has both self raising flour and baking powder to help with the rise as it’s heavy.

You don’t need huge slices of this cake, either, as it’s very satisfying. Great for an afternoon tea!

Oh, and it freezes beautifully, which is good to know as you can freeze left over cake to enjoy later – much better then eating it all at the one time!

Ingredients

Cake

140g softened butter 

140g caster sugar

2 free-range eggs

200g full fat ricotta

Juice of 1 medium lemon

140g self-raising flour

1 level tsp baking powder

Buttercream Icing

400g icing sugar

200g unsalted butter

2 passionfruit

75g white chocolate (optional)

Method 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan forced. Grease and line with baking paper a medium sized cake tin – 18cm or 20cm works well. 

Cream the butter and sugar in a food processor. You can use a stand mixer if you like – but I find the food processor does the job just fine! Add the eggs and process well, then add the ricotta and the lemon juice. Add the flour and the baking powder and pulse a few times to just incorporate the flour. Don’t worry if the cakes looks curdled either after adding the eggs or adding the ricotta – it will come together after you mix in the flour. 

Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and bake for 30 – 40minutes, or until golden-brown and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake in the tin until quite cool, then turn the cake out and remove the baking paper.

For the buttercream icing, I do use my KitchenAid mixer, as I think it helps to get a really light buttercream. But I have made buttercream quite successfully in the food processor too. 

Beat the butter and icing sugar in a stand mixer until light and creamy. Add the passionfruit, seeds and all. I melted white chocolate and added this to the buttercream to give the buttercream extra stability for piping, but you can easily not include the white chocolate.

You can ice the cake however you like. First of all I covered the whole cake in a load of buttercream. I went for the “naked” look on the sides by scraping back the icing with a palette knife to achieve the exposed effect. Then I decided to practise my piping skills by piping rosettes all over the cake. I liked the effect of the passionfruit seeds in each rosette. But a simply iced cake with buttercream is always a thing of beauty! And tastes just as good as cake with more fancy icing!

Raspberry Cupcakes

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I made these colourful and flavourful bright pink raspberry cupcakes a while back when I was experimenting with colour in cakes. I’m posting again, as it’s such a simple and eye-catching recipe. The cake mixture has frozen raspberries in it and a drop or two of red food colouring.

The buttercream icing has raspberry fondant creme mixed through, plus a touch more red food colouring.  Fondant creme or paste is available at specialty kitchen shops. I get mine from The Essential Ingredient in Sydney. If you can’t get the fondant creme, just leave it out – red food colouring will easily give you the colour you need.

I decorated with a few crystallized rose petals – fresh petals would be pretty too!

Ingredients

Cupcakes

125g self-raising flour

125g caster sugar

125g butter

2 large free-range eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tblsp milk

Handful of frozen raspberries

Raspberry Buttercream Icing

50g butter, softened

250g icing sugar, sifted

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tblsp raspberry fondant creme

A drop of red food colouring

Method

Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a muffin tin with cup cake cases.

Put all the ingredients except the milk and raspberries in a food processor and blitz till smooth. Add the milk while pulsing to make a soft, dropping consistency.

Carefully fold in the raspberries.

Spoon mixture into the cases, filling the cases equally.

Place the tin in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the cup cakes are cooked and golden on top.

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

Ice with the raspberry buttercream icing.

Raspberry Buttercream Icing

In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and icing sugar until combined, then add the lemon juice, raspberry fondant creme and a drop of red food colouring, beating continuously.

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Lemon Curd Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

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Another one bowl cake  – I love them as they  are SO easy! This cake has a good dollop of my home-made lemon curd in the cake, and spoonful or two also in the cream cheese frosting.

The 2 tone colour combo was a bit of an experiment. I recently acquired a 3 cake mold set complete with plastic divider so you can make a layered cake with different colours. I only made one layer, and tried just two colours. Below is the picture from the box the molds came in.

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Not so sure of the success of the colour combo idea, maybe it needs practice. So the following recipe is for the cake alone –  if you want to try different colours, have a go!

The recipe makes 1 big cake or 2 smaller, flatter ones.

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Ingredients

Cake

225g softened butter

225g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

200g golden caster sugar (ordinary is fine too)

4 large free-range eggs

1/4 cup lemon curd* (bought is fine)

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C or/160 degrees C  fan forced. Grease 1 large cake tin (23cm/9″) or 2 smaller tins (18cm/7”). Place all the ingredients except the lemon curd in a food processor or stand mixer until well combined and smooth.Gently stir in the lemon curd.

Spoon the mixture into 1 or 2 cake tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin(s) for 5 minutes, then remove from the tin(s) and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

These quantities are for the frosting for the top of the cake. Double if you want to fill the centre of 2 cakes.

100g softened butter

200g icing sugar

50g cream cheese

1 tbls lemon curd*(bought is fine)

Method

Cream the butter and icing sugar until soft and well combined. Beat in the cream cheese and lemon curd, being careful not to overbeat, but make sure there are no lumps.

To Assemble

For 1 cake, ice the top of the cake with the frosting using a palette knife. Be liberal!  Drizzle the top with extra lemon curd. For 2 cakes, fill the centre of the cakes with frosting. Alternatively, you could fill with whipped cream.

*Lemon Curd

Ingredients

Juice of 2 lemons

4 tbls sugar

2 tbls butter

2 egg yolks, beaten lightly

Method

Place all the ingredients in a double boiler or bain marie. Cook over a medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and place in sterilized jars. Refrigerate before using.

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Easter Sunday Pastries

 

IMG_0754Easter Sunday 2014 and another beautiful balmy day in the Easter holiday break. Lunch in the garden again, this time lamb to mark the special day.

I barbecued a butterflied leg of lamb, served it with baby new potatoes, Bill Granger’s Asparagus, Pea and Feta Salad (again) and a green salad.

Dessert was the star today – two different pastries focusing on seasonal fruit.

Fig and Raspberry Mille Feuille

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Not really a recipe, more an assembly.

Roll out a quantity of store-bought puff pastry (I buy Careme brand as it’s a butter puff and is very light).  The amount you use is entirely dependent on how many mille feuilles you want to end up with.

Cut into long rectangles. Bake according to the directions on the packet, usually about 10-15 minutes at 200 degrees C.

Remove from the oven and cut rectangles into individual pastry lengths. Whiles still warm flatten gently if the pieces are too”puffed”. You can also split the pastry in half to make it easier to fill, and also so that each half of the pastry is not too hard to eat.

When cool, fill with whipped cream flavoured with a little vanilla paste and fresh fruit. I used figs and raspberries as both are delicious and good value at the moment in April in Sydney.IMG_0739

Bill Granger’s Pear Shortcake

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I made a strawberry version of this cake last week and it was so more-ish I had to do it again! This recipe is closer to Bill’s but I included plums as well as a good dollop of my plum and raisin jam.

Ingredients

Filling
30 g unsalted butter, softened

40 g caster sugar

2 small pears and 4 plums

1 tsp vanilla paste

2 tbsp plum jam*

Milk, to brush the pastry

1 tbsp demerara sugar

2 tbsp flaked almonds

Shortcake pastry


125 g unsalted butter

125 g castor sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

175 plain flour

50 g ground almonds

1 tsp baking powder

Method
Place the butter, caster sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over a low heat. Cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes until the butter melts and sugar dissolves.

Add the chopped pears and plums and cook over low heat for 8 minutes or until the fruit is soft. Remove from the heat and stir through the plum jam, being careful not to break up the fruit. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

For the shortcake, beat the butter and castor sugar until thick and creamy. Add the egg and mix well. Add the flour, almond meal and baking powder, then stir until combined. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly to just bring the mixture together. Divide the dough in half, pat in to discs, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Grease and line a 24cm springform cake tin. On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough portion into a round about the size of the tin, then press one round into tin. Spoon the pear and plum mixture and any juices over the dough, leaving a small border around the edge.

Top with the remaining dough round and press the edges together to seal. Brush with milk and sprinkle with demerara sugar and flaked almonds.

Bake for 30 minutes or until until golden (cover loosely with foil if browning too quickly). Cool in tin for 20 minutes before carefully removing from the tin.

*The recipe for plum and raisin jam: https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/04/28/autumn-jams/

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