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Strawberry Ripple Cake Revisited

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I was looking back at my archives and I found this lovely cake that I made a while back. I thought it might be nice to revisit it. It’s a simple butter cake, with a strawberry jam ripple. The addition of sour cream makes it a very moist cake too!

Summer in Sydney is all about the berries. Every supermarket and green grocer is practically giving away strawberries! And blueberries and raspberries are, well, as cheap as chips or … berries. So I use berries, and in particular strawberries, in cakes, puddindgs and pies quite a lot.

Ingredients

150g unsalted or salt reduced butter, at room temperature

215g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2  large free-range eggs

300g  self-raising flour

300g  sour cream

1/2 cup strawberry jam (preferably home-made, see recipe below)*

Icing

200g icing sugar mixture

15g butter, at room temperature, chopped

1 1/2-2 tablespoons hot water

1-2 drops red food colouring

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C or 160 degreees C fan-forced.

The cake looks nice in a decorative mold like a rum baba tin, which I used, or a bundt tin. Otherwise use a large cake tin. Grease the mold or tin with butter or non stick spray.

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla in a food processor until pale and thoroughly amalgamated. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour and sour cream, alternately, using a metal spoon. Tricky but not impossible in a food processor!

Pour half the mixture into the prepared mold or tin. Spoon over half the jam. Using a skewer, ripple the jam through the mixture.  Spoon the rest of the cake mixture in to the mold or tin, add the remaining jam and ripple again.

Bake for 40-50  minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.  The cake will take longer in a deep mold, it will take a shorter time in a conventional tin. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Icing

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Put the butter into a cup, pour over the hot water, and stir until the butter is dissolved. Mix into the icing sugar. Stir in the food colouring. Icing is not an exact science, so carefully add more icing sugar or a little water as needed, to get the icing to the right consistency. You can ice with a knife or just spoon over the cake and let the icing drip down the sides. Set aside until set.

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Simple Quince Tart

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This is a really easy tart. Some short crust pastry blind baked in a flan dish and some wonderful baked quinces layered in the pastry. Serve with cream. Bliss.

A few weeks ago I had a wonderful dinner with friends. Slow cooked lamb followed by tarte tatin made with quinces, which were redolent with heady spices. Cooked overnight, the quinces were a beautiful deep ruby red colour, and the cooking liquid had become quince jelly.

To me, baked quinces are the epitome of gorgeous winter comfort food!

My tart was not so elaborate as the tarte tatin but easy to knock up on a winter weekend afternoon, and quite delicious. This is a small flan just enough for 3 or 4 people.

Baked Quinces

Ingredients
50g butter
2 quinces
120g caster sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Method
Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Peel the quinces, halve lengthways and remove cores. Cut in quarters or slices. Melt butter in a heavy oven proof baking dish. Roll the quinces in the melted butter. Scatter over sugar and squeeze the lemon juice over the quince pieces.

Cover tightly with a doubled sheet of foil. Bake the quinces for 2-3 hours, basting a few times through the process, until the quinces are soft and a ruby red colour. Remove from the dish to cool.

Short Crust Pastry*

Ingredients
100g chilled unsalted butter
125g plain flour
75g sour cream

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, 170 degrees C fan forced. Pulse the butter and flour in a food processor until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Add the sour cream and continue to pulse until the dough starts to incorporate into a ball. Remove from the processor and shape pastry into a ball. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
 Roll the pastry out to 3mm thick and place in a well greased flan dish or mold, about 18cm or 7 inches in diameter. Any small mold will do.

Rest for 15 minutes in the fridge. This will help reduce shrinkage when cooking. Remove from the fridge, place some pie weights or rice on the baking paper inside the tart, and bake blind in the pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove the weights or rice and the baking paper.

To assemble

When cool, place slices of baked quince as elegantly or as rustically as you please in the flan. Serve as is or with cream or creme fraiche.

*This makes enough for a small flan. Doubling the quantities will give you a large pastry shell. You would need 4-5  baked quinces to fill a larger flan.

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Blueberry and Marmalade Cake with Sugared Pecans

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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.

Ingredients
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.

Method

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.

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Strawberry Ripple Cake

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This is a version of a recipe I found while “recipe surfing”. I was looking for something to something to do with strawberries, which are plentiful and cheap in spring in Sydney. The cake has ripples of home made strawberry jam through the cake, creating a tangy – and pretty effect. The addition of lot of sour cream in the mixture is great – lovely flavour, and I hope may give the cake some longevity. That may be hard to prove, as the cake tasters I made it for today have done a thorough job!

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Ingredients

150g unsalted or salt reduced butter, at room temperature

215g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2  large free-range eggs

300g  self-raising flour

300g  sour cream

1/2 cup strawberry jam (preferably home-made, see recipe below)*

Icing

200g icing sugar mixture

15g butter, at room temperature, chopped

1 1/2-2 tablespoons hot water

1-2 drops red food colouring

Method

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.

The cake looks nice in a decorative mold like a rum baba tin, which I used, or a bundt tin. Otherwise use a large cake tin. Grease the mold or tin with butter or non stick spray.

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla in a food processor until pale and thoroughly amalgamated. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour and sour cream, alternately, using a metal spoon. Tricky but not impossible in a food processor!

Pour half the mixture into the prepared mold or tin. Spoon over half the jam. Using a skewer, ripple the jam through the mixture.  Spoon the rest of the cake mixture in to the mold or tin, add the remaining jam and ripple again.

Bake for 40-50  minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.  The cake will take longer in a deep mold, it will take a shorter time in a conventional tin. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Icing

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Put the butter into a cup, pour over the hot water, and stir until the butter is dissolved. Mix into the icing sugar. Stir in the food colouring. Icing is not an exact science, so carefully add more icing sugar or a little water as needed, to get the icing to the right consistency. You can ice with a knife or just spoon over the cake and let the icing drip down the sides. Set aside until set.

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*Home-made strawberry jam

This is an adaptation of my strawberry conserve recipe found on this blog. The difference is much smaller quantities and I mushed the strawberries so that they would ripple nicely through the cake.

Take 200g strawberries and cover with 100g sugar in a bowl (non metallic). Leave for at least 2 hours. The strawberries will have started to give up their juices. Place into a saucepan with the juice of a lemon. Heat slowly, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When all the sugar is dissolved, boil on a moderate heat until setting point is reached. Mush the strawberries, if still whole, into a jam like consistency. Take off the stove and allow to cool.

For more on jam making, click here

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Smoked Salmon with Horseradish Cream, Salad Greens and Irish Soda Bread

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This is a simple lunch or dinner for the start of spring, even better served in the garden! Very rustic and easy to prepare. Jamie Oliver was the inspiration.

Just pile smoked salmon onto a platter with tons of greens – I used a selection of lettuces, snow peas and rainbow chard. Serve with horseradish cream:

Mix a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream or creme fraiche with a teaspoon full of creamed horesradish and a little french mustard.

And serve with any good rustic bread –  I love Irish soda bread –  this is the link to the recipe on a previous post:

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/04/27/irish-soda-bread-with-black-treacle/

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Pumpkin, Leek and Wild Garlic Soup

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A visit to the wonderful Orange Grove Markets in Lilyfield this morning and the tempting produce available made me want to make soup. I was quite taken with the wild garlic featured on one particular stall, so I created a soup in which it could feature.

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Pumpkin and leek go well together, and the garlic gave the soup a mild yet slightly pungent flavour. A definite improvement on traditional garlic or onion!

This soup allows you to be flexible with quantities – be creative!

Ingredients

1 tbl extra virgin olive oil

A knob of butter

2 heads of wild garlic

1 large leek

Generous grind of rock salt or to taste

1/4 medium-sized pumpkin

500 mls chicken stock

Black pepper

Sour cream and thyme leaves, to serve

Method

Heat oil and butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Fry roughly chopped wild garlic and the leek with the salt. Cook for a couple of minutes until the garlic and the leek begin to soften.

Add the pumpkin chopped in large chunks to the saucepan. Pour in the chicken stock, and season with black pepper. Increase the heat and bring to the boil. Turn heat back to medium, cover with a lid and cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 – 30 minutes.

Remove from heat, leave to cool for about 10 minutes, then blend with stick blender in the saucepan until the desired consistency. I usually like my soup a little chunky, but on this occasion I opted for a smoother consistency.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and fresh thyme leaves.

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Blueberry and Cumquat Cake with Sugared Pecans

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The basis of this cake is a recipe from Annabel Langbein in the July 2013 delicious. magazine – Blackberry and Orange Teacake. I had some cumquat marmalade left over from a bottling session earlier in the week, plus some frozen blueberries on hand, so I used these to add my stamp to the cake. The recipe called for chopped almonds – I’m a big fan of pecans, so I used these instead in the topping.

Ingredients

125 gms softened butter

3/4 cup caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla paste

2 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

2-3 tbls cumquat marmalade (or substitute any 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.

Method

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 with more berries, a sprinkling of sugar if desired, and lots of thick cream!

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Passionfruit Cake with Passionfruit Butter

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This is my latest tweaking on the passionfruit cake theme. I used the vanilla butter cake recipe from the post: https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/06/21/vanilla-butter-cake-with-white-chocolate-and-hundreds-and-thousands/. On this occasion I omitted the hundreds and thousand of course!

I halved the white chocolate, adding 50 gms only, and added a generous tablespoon of sour cream.

Because of the high butter content, the butter/sugar mixture needs lots of creaming. The resulting cake texture, with so much butter and the white chocolate and sour cream, is incredibly moist!

I served the cake with a passionfruit icing, pasionfruit butter and cream. Very moorish!

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Butter Cake

Ingredients

250 gms butter softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups caster sugar

3 eggs

2 1/4 cups self-raising flour

3/4 cup milk

50 gms white chocolate, melted

1 tbl sour cream

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan-forced. Grease and line a 22 cm round cake tin.

Beat butter, extract and sugar in a food processor until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in flour and milk in 2 batches.  Stir in melted white chocolate and sour cream.

Spread mixture into the tin. Bake about 45-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of  cake comes out clean. Stand in cake tin until cake is cool. Turn out onto wire rack.

Icing

2-3 passionfruit, depending on the size and juiciness of the fruit

Enough icing sugar to make a stiff but spreadable icing

Method

Mix the passionfruit pulp with the icing sugar, adding more icing sugar as necessary to make a smooth paste.

Ice the top of the cake, letting a little of the icing drip down the sides of the cake.

Passionfruit Butter

Ingredients

4 tbls sugar

2 tbls butter

Pulp from 3-4 passionfruit, depending on size and juiciness

2 egg yolks

Method

Place a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water. Bring water to the boil over a medium heat.

Turn heat down to medium-low. Add butter and sugar to bowl and stir with a wooden spoon to melt and combine.

Mix together passionfruit pulp and eggs in a small mixing bowl. Add to butter/sugar mixture and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. This should take about 10-12 minutes over a medium-low heat.

Once thickened, remove bowl from heat and allow butter to cool completely before storing in a sterilized airtight jar.

Refrigerate to store.

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Baked Cheesecake with a Sour Cream Topping

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This is a baked cheese cake and was first made by one of Quirky’s siblings, a very good if somewhat infrequent cook. The recipe hails from the Sydney County Council in the 1960s.

This version comes from a handwritten recipe from a family cookbook. I have left the measurements in Imperial, as this rather adds to the charm of the recipe. They can be easily converted.

I would suggest using vanilla extract or vanilla paste, and would also recommend the use of a food processor.

Ingredients

Crumb Crust
I/2 lb plain sweet biscuits
1/2 level teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 level teaspoon cinnamon
3 oz butter

Cream Cheese Filling
1 lb cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 eggs

Topping
1 carton (1/2 pint) sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 dessertspoon lemon juice
1 level tablespoon sugar

Method

Crush biscuits very finely and add nutmeg and cinnamon. Melt butter in a saucepan, remove from heat and quickly stir in biscuit crumbs.

Press firmly into greased 8″ springform tin bringing mixture within 1/2 ‘ from the top of the tin.

Put cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice in a bowl and beat well. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

Pour mixture into uncooked crumb crust and bake in a moderate oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven.

Beat together the topping ingredients and pour over hot cheesecake. Return to oven and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Cool, then store in refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Decoration

Decorate with sugar frosted fresh fruit and chocolate leaves. I used cherries, strawberries and black grapes for this particular birthday cheesecake. To make the sugar frosted fruit, coat fruit in lightly beaten egg white then dip in caster sugar.

To make the chocolate leaves, dip camellia leaves in melted dark chocolate, leave to set in the fridge, then gently peel away the leaves leaving the chocolate imprint intact.

Serves 10 -12.

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