Perfect to share over a cuppa or drop off to those who need a little comfort
Prep 10minBake 35-40 minMakes 8-10 serves
If you are looking for a quick, easy, impressive, and not to mention delicious, cake, this is the one. Lots of clever shortcuts (like using your food processor to make it) means that this cake will be in the oven in less than 10 minutes!
Melted butter, to grease
100g (3½oz) chilled unsalted butter, cubed
110g (½ cup/4oz) caster sugar
75g (¾ cup/2¾oz) almond meal
75g (½ cup/2¾oz) plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract
150g (5¼oz) fresh or frozen raspberries
25g (¼ cup/¾oz) flaked almonds
Icing sugar, to dust
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (160°C/315°F fan-forced). Grease a 20cm/8in springform (base measurement) with the melted butter and then line the base with a piece of baking paper.
Put the butter, sugar, almond meal, flour and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor. Process until well evenly combined and the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the eggs and vanilla use the pulse button to process until smooth and just combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle evenly with the raspberries and then use the back of a clean spoon to press the raspberries into the cake mixture. Sprinkle with the almonds.
Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden and cooked in the centre when tested with a skewer.
Stand the cake in the pan for 5 minutes before removing the side of the pan and placing the cake (still on the base) on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature dusted with icing sugar.
The raspberries can be replaced with 150g (5¼oz) blueberries or quartered strawberries.
For a nut-free version, the almond meal can be replaced with 75g (2¾oz) desiccated coconut and sprinkle with 25g (¼ cup/¾oz) flaked coconut.
This cake will keep in an airtight container in a cool spot (but not in the fridge) for up to 3 days.
Bakewell tart is simply a buttery almond cake in a tart case with a welcome layer of jam in the middle. On first consideration you may not think this combination would work, but take my word for it, it does!
1 quantity sweet shortcrust pastry 115g (⅓ cup) raspberry or cherry jam 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature 110g (½ cup) caster sugar 3 drops of almond essence or finely grated zest of 1 lemon 3 eggs 100g (1 cup) almond meal 35g (¼ cup) self-raising flour icing sugar, to dust
Preheat oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan-forced).
Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the pastry on a lightly floured bench top to a round about 3mm thick. Carefully drape the pastry loosely around the rolling pin. Place it over an ungreased round 23cm (base measurement) tart tin with a removable base and then unroll the pastry being careful not to stretch it. Gently lift the edge of the pastry and ease it into the tart tin to line the base and sides and settle it into the corners. Use your fingertips to press it gently into the corners without stretching it. Then, working around the tin, press the pastry into the side using your thumb or finger. Roll the rolling pin over the top of the tart tin to trim any overhanging pastry.
Place the tart tin on an oven tray. Prick the pastry base with a fork about 12 times. Line the pastry case with baking paper or foil and fill with pastry weights, dried beans or raw rice, making sure they press into the corners and they fill the case. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Remove the pastry case from oven and use the paper or foil to lift the weights out of the case. Return to the oven and bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until cooked through and lightly golden. Remove from the oven.
Spread the jam evenly over the base of the tart case and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 160ºC (140ºC fan-forced).
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar and almond essence or lemon zest until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the almond meal and flour, add to the butter mixture and beat on lowest possible speed until just combined. Spread the mixture evenly over the jam in the tart case.
Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing, dusting with icing sugar and serving warm. Alternatively cool in the tin and serve at room temperature.
This tart will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
This banana bread is heaven. The addition of coconut oil adds a wonderful richness and heavenly aroma that you won’t be able to resist. This loaf also keeps well and becomes more moist and flavoursome with time, so try not to eat it all at once! It's wonderful served on its own or toasted and spread with butter or ricotta and drizzled with honey.
Melted coconut oil, to grease 240g (1½ cups) wholemeal spelt flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 70g (1 cup) shredded coconut 100g (½ cup) coconut oil, at room temperature 180g (1 cup) coconut palm sugar 1 egg 2 large (about 200g each) very ripe bananas 130g (½ cup) Greek-style natural yoghurt
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease a 21 x 10.5cm (base measurement) loaf pan with the melted coconut oil and line the base and two long sides with one piece of non-stick baking paper.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl, returning any husks to the flour mixture. Stir in the coconut.
Use an electric mixer to beat the coconut oil and sugar in a mixing bowl until well combined (it will look like wet sand). Add the egg and beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Mash the bananas, add to the coconut mixture with the yoghurt and beat until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until just combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface and then tap the tin lightly on the benchtop to settle the mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand in the tin for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool. Serve in slices.
This banana bread will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Originating (and excessively popular) in America, Hummingbird cake is a tropical mix of banana and pineapple, and when layered with an orange cream cheese frosting makes a great celebration cake. Sweet and indulgent, a small slice is all that is needed to satisfy.
Edible flowers, to decorate (optional)
150g (1 cup) plain flour 75g (½ cup) self-raising flour ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 220g (1 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar 45g (½ cup) desiccated coconut 2 very ripe large bananas (about 250g each) 440g crushed pineapple in natural juice, drained and juice reserved 2 eggs, lightly whisked 185ml (¾ cup) sunflower oil, plus extra to grease
Orange cream cheese frosting 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature 250g cream cheese, at room temperature 1 orange, zest finely grated 375g (3 cups) icing sugar mixture, sifted
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Brush three 20cm round cake tins with extra sunflower oil to lightly grease and line the bases with non-stick baking paper.
Sift together the plain and self-raising flours, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon. Add the brown sugar and coconut and stir to combine, breaking up any lumps.
Mash the banana and combine with the drained pineapple, 80 ml (⅓ cup) of the reserved pineapple syrup, eggs and oil. Add to the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix until just combined.
Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared tins and spread with the back of a metal spoon to smooth the surface. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
Stand the cakes in the tins for 5 minutes before turning onto wire racks to cool (this will take about 1 hour).
Meanwhile, to make the Orange cream cheese frosting, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, butter and orange zest until very smooth. Gradually add the icing sugar, beating well after each addition and beat until well combined and really creamy. Divide the Orange cream cheese frosting evenly among 3 bowls.
Take one portion of the Orange cream cheese frosting and use a palette knife to spread half over one cake layer. Top with a second cake layer and spread with the remaining frosting of the first portion. Top with the remaining cake layer. Spread another portion of frosting over the sides and the remaining portion over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with the pecans to decorate
This cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.
Scones are what I whip up if time is short – they are simple, fast and everyone loves them. The secret to the lightness of these scones is the surprising combination of lemonade and cream (instead of milk) – it may seem a little odd but, believe me, it works!
450g (3 cups) self-raising flour, plus extra, to dust Pinch of Salt 80g butter, cubed, softened slightly 125ml (½ cup) lemonade, at room temperature 185ml (¾ cup) pouring cream, plus extra to glaze Berry jam and whipped cream, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a baking tray with butter and then lightly dust with flour, shaking off any excess.
Put the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Use your fingertips to rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs and the butter is evenly incorporated. Make a well in the centre.
Combine the cream and lemonade, add to the flour mixture and use a flat-bladed knife to mix with a cutting action until the dough comes together in clumps.
Use lightly floured hands to bring the dough together – it will be soft, but not sticky. Place on a lightly floured surface and knead lightly and briefly (only about 6 times) to bring it together in a smooth ball.
Use the palm of your hand to flatten the dough out to about 2cm thick. Using a floured 6 cm round cutter, cut the dough into 9 rounds. Gathering the offcuts and, without over handling, pressing out as before, when necessary. Place on the prepared tray, 1-2cm apart. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the top of each scone with a little extra cream, then dust with a little extra flour.
Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, until the scones are lightly golden and cooked through; they are ready if they sound hollow when you tap them on the base. Serve warm or at room temperature, split and topped with jam and cream.
These scones are best eaten on the day they are made.
Chocolate buttercream 125g butter, at room temperature 185g (1½ cups) icing sugar, sifted 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease a square 20cm cake tin with melted butter and line the base with non-stick baking paper.
Combine the butter, sugar and milk in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until butter melts, sugar dissolves and mixture is combined (see Baker's Tips). Remove from heat and use a fork to whisk in the eggs and vanilla.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in the coconut. Add the butter mixture and use a balloon whisk to stir until just combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and use the back of a metal spoon to smooth the surface. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Stand in the tin for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool (this will take about 1½ hours).
To make the Chocolate buttercream, use an electric mixer to beat the butter, icing sugar and cocoa powder in a medium bowl until pale and creamy and it is a smooth spreadable consistency. Spread the cooled cake with the buttercream and cut into portions to serve.
Don’t overheat the butter mixture – as soon as the butter melts and the sugar has dissolved, remove it from the heat.
This cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool spot for up to 3 days.
Good muffins should have substance. They shouldn't be too light and airy, or overly sweet – they are muffins, after all, not a cake. My favourites are dense with fruit (like this one), include wholemeal flour to add texture (and a little wholesomeness) and are subtly spiced (cinnamon is always good). This recipe is particularly easy to whip up.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F (170°C/340°F fan-forced). Line 12 x 80ml (⅓ cup/2½fl oz) muffin tray holes with muffin paper cases.
Sift together both the flours, the baking powder and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl, returning any husks to the bowl. Stir in the sugar and coconut. Gently stir in the frozen berries. Make a well in the centre.
Use a fork to whisk together the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla in a bowl. Add to the flour mixture and use a spatula or large metal spoon to fold together until just combined. (Don’t overmix – the batter should still be a little lumpy.)
Spoon the mixture into the paper cases, dividing evenly. Bake in preheated oven for 25-28 minutes or until the muffins are golden and cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool for 3 minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
You can replace the raw caster sugar with 220g (1 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar if you like.
You can replace the wholemeal plain flour with 150g (1 cup/5¼oz) wholemeal spelt plain flour.
There’s no need to thaw the frozen berries before using them in this recipe.
These muffins are best eaten the day they are baked, however they freeze well. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and then seal in a plastic bag or airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.
This is one of my favourite cakes – ever! Not only is it super easy to whip up and can be made with a whole variety of different fruits (you can replace the pears with the same quantity of plums, firm ripe nectarines or peaches for example), but it is also incredibly versatile when it comes to serving it. It not only makes for the perfect morning or afternoon tea cake but it is also wonderful served warm with lashings of cream or ice cream for dessert. I’ve also been known to eat the leftovers for breakfast (which I would also highly recommend!)
Melted butter, to grease 185g (1¼ cups) self-raising flour 165g (⅔ cup, firmly packed) brown or raw caster sugar, plus 1 tablespoon extra 125g salted butter, at room temperature 85g (⅓ cup) sour cream 2 eggs, at room temperature 1½ teaspoons natural vanilla extract or essence 2 (about 200g each) firm but ripe Williams pears, cored and each cut into 12 wedges Icing sugar, to dust Cream or ice cream, to serve (optional)
Preheat oven to 170°C/340°F (150°C/300°F fan-forced). Grease a 21cm (8 1⁄4in), base measurement, springform tin with melted butter and line the base with non-stick baking paper.
To make the Crumble Topping, combine the flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Use your fingertips to quickly rub in the butter just until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs (it will be quite moist). Stir in the almonds. Cover and put in the fridge while making the cake.
To make the cake, place the flour, sugar, butter, sour cream, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to beat on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to high and beat for 3 minutes or until the mixture is well combined, very pale in colour and silky smooth in texture. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.
Toss the pear wedges with the extra 1 tablespoon sugar. Arrange the pears evenly over the top of the cake and then press gently into the batter. Sprinkle with the prepared Crumble Topping to cover.
Bake in preheated oven for 65-75 minutes (the baking time will depend on how juicy the pears are) or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand the cake in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring, still on the base of the tin, to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature on its own or accompanied by cream or ice cream, if desired.
This is a wonderful cake that was originally inspired by a recipe my Aunt Joey used to make. No, it isn’t a mistake, a whole orange, rind and all goes into this cake. It is best to use a thin-skinned navel orange that is around in winter and spring, as it has no seeds and very little bitter pith.
It makes a wonderful dessert when served warm with vanilla ice-cream or a perfect picnic cake as it travels really well. The syrup keeps this cake deliciously moist and saves you from icing it – another great shortcut. If however you would prefer to ice it, a buttercream or glace icing flavoured with finely grated orange zest would be perfect.
Melted butter, to grease 1 orange, quartered, core and seeds removed 220g (1 cup) caster sugar 125g salted butter, melted and cooled 2 eggs, at room temperature 225g (1½ cups) self-raising flour
Preheat oven to 170°C (150°C fan-forced). Grease a 20cm round cake tin with melted butter and line the base with non-stick baking paper
Place the quartered orange, sugar, butter and eggs in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the orange is finely chopped. Add the flour and process using the pulse button until just combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface. Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack. Stand the rack over a baking tray.
Meanwhile, to make the Orange syrup, place the orange juice, marmalade and sugar in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil. Boil gently, uncovered and without stirring, for 5 minutes or until reduced slightly.
Use a skewer to prick cake all over. Gradually pour the hot syrup over the hot cake, allowing it to soak in. Pour any syrup that has collected on the tray into a dish or jug, Serve warm or at room temperature with any syrup caught on the tray in a jug on the side.
This cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.