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Prep 11/2hrs (+ cooling time)Bake 3hrs and 20minsMakes 10-12 serves
I often create unique cakes for friends to celebrate special occasion and milestones – cakes that reflect their personalities and our friendship. This one was for my close friend, Tina, to celebrate her 50th. It is based on a recipe by well-respected Australian cooking teacher Greta Anna Teplitzky (from her cookbook The Greta Anna Recipes, published by Angus & Robertson in the 1970’s). Tina’s mum made it often while she was growing up and it became childhood favourite. I have zhooshed the original up with a dried orange and pistachio praline and some fun dried pineapple flowers to match Tina’s gorgeous, vibrate and creative personality – quite appropriate I think!
Orange and pistachio praline
- 1 orange
- 45g (1/3 cup) pistachios
- 55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
- 11/2 tablespoons water
Dried pineapple flowers
- ½ firm, ripe pineapple
- 300g (2 cups) plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 2 teaspoons mixed spice
- 300g brown sugar
- 200ml light olive oil, plus extra to grease
- 4 eggs, lightly whisked
- 2 teaspoons natural vanilla essence or extract
- 450g tin pineapple slices in syrup, drained and finely chopped
- 300g (2 cups, firmly packed) coarsely grated carrot
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 250g cream cheese, at room temperature
- 75g butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract
- 200g icing sugar mixture, sifted
- To make the Orange and pistachio praline, preheat the oven to 100°C. Remove the rind from the orange with a vegetable peeler and then use a small sharp knife to remove any white pith from the rind. Place the rind on a wire rack over an oven tray and place in the preheated oven for 2 hours or until dry and crisp but still bright orange in colour (see Baker’s Tips). Remove from the oven and set aside (leave the oven on). Line an oven tray with non-stick baking paper. Spread the pistachios and dried orange rind close together on the lined tray. Combine the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan and use a wooden spoon to stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium and bring to the boil. Boil for 8-10 minutes without stirring, brushing down the side of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to dissolve any sugar crystals, until the mixture turns a deep caramel. Pour immediately onto the lined tray over the pistachios and rind. Set aside to cool completely (this will take about 30 minutes). When cool, use a mortar and pestle to grind the toffee into a coarse praline. Transfer to an airtight container and set aside (see Baker’s Tips).
- To make the Dried pineapple flowers, stand the half pineapple upright on a cutting board and use a large sharp knife to cut off the skin in strips. Use a mandoline slicer to cut the pineapple into very thin rounds (about 1-2mm thin). Use a small sharp knife to remove any remaining dark bits of rind from the slices and then pat both sides with paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Place the slices on a wire rack on an oven tray (see Baker’s Tips). Place in the oven for 21/2 hours or until crisp around the edges but still slightly pliable. Remove from the oven and pinch each slice in the center while still warm to form a flower. Set aside to cool and then store in an airtight container until needed (see Baker’s Tips)
- To make the Cake layers, preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Brush two 18cm round cake tins with extra olive oil to lightly grease and line the bases with non-stick baking paper.
- Sift together 150g (1 cup) plain flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda and 1 teaspoon mixed spice into a large bowl. Add 150g brown sugar and stir to combine, breaking up any lumps.
- Combine 100ml of the olive oil, 2 of the eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, half the chopped pineapple and 300g grated carrot and mix well. Add to the flour mixture and use a spatula or large metal spoon to gently mix until just combined.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared tins and spread with the back of a metal spoon to smooth the surface making a shallow well in the center of each cake. Bake in preheated oven for 25 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). Repeat with the remaining cake ingredients to make 2 more cake layers.
- To make the Cream cheese frosting, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until very smooth. Gradually add the icing sugar, beating well after each addition and beat until well combined and really creamy.
- To assemble the cake, first trim the tops of the cake layers if necessary (if the well you made in the mixture before baking was deep enough you won’t have to do this). Place one cooled cake layer, top side up on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread with ½ cup of the Cream cheese frosting and then sprinkle with about 11/2 tablespoons of the Orange and pistachio praline. Continue to layer with the remaining cake layers, spreading each with ½ cup of frosting and sprinkling with about 11/2 tablespoons of praline, and finishing with a cake layer, top side down. Spread a thick layer of frosting over the top of the cake, evening the surface with a large palette knife. Spread any remaining icing around the side of the cake to create a ‘naked’ look. Decorate with the Dried pineapple flowers and sprinkle with a little of the remaining praline.
- You can dry the orange rind for the praline (in step 1) and the pineapple for the flowers (in step 2) at the same time if you like.
- The praline will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
- You will only need 5-6 slices of pineapple to make the dried pineapple flowers for this cake but if you would like to make more, place the slices on an extra wire rack on top of the first one and separate the racks with balls of foil at the corners between them.
- The Dried pineapple flowers will keep in an airtight container in a cool spot for up to 4 days. If they soften too much and lose their shape, return to an oven preheated to 100°C for 20-30 minutes or until crisp around the edges again. Reshape as in step 2.
- This cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.
Prep 2hrBake 40-45minMakes 12-15 serves
This impressive cake was created by Débora Bueno Leite, one of our Make Me a Baker students, for her graduation. It marries two gems from the state of Minas Gerais in her native Brazil, guava paste and cheese – when served together they are known as ‘Romeo & Juliet'.
- 250ml (1 cup) milk combined with 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
- 11 guava macarons, to decorate
- Melted butter, to grease
- 375g (2½ cups) plain flour
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 250g butter, at room temperature
- 440g (2 cups) caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract or essence
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 250ml (1 cup) full-cream milk
- 200g good-quality guava paste (available from good delicatessens and specialty food stores)
- 125ml (½ cup) water
Cream Cheese Filling
- 300g cream cheese, at room temperature
- 200ml cold thickened cream
- 160ml (2/3 cup) sweetened condensed milk
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 680g cream cheese, at room temperature
- 115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 240g icing sugar, sifted
- 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract or essence
- Queen red food colour gel, to tint
- Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease two deep 20cm round cake tins with melted butter and line the bases with non-stick baking paper.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Use an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla for about 8 minutes, scraping down the side of the bowl when necessary, or until pale and creamy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the side of the bowl when necessary, until well combined.
- Add the flour mixture in four equal portions, alternating with the milk in three portions, mixing on lowest possible speed until just incorporated before adding the next; do not overmix.
- Divide the batter into the prepared tins and use the back of a metal spoon to smooth the surface. Bake in preheated oven, swapping the tins around halfway through baking, for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean.
- Transfer the cake tins to a wire rack and allow the cakes to cool completely in the tins. Once cool, cover each tin tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- To make the Guava Filling, combine with guava paste and water in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until the paste is creamy. Set aside to cool completely.
- To make the Cream Cheese Filling, use an electric mixer with a paddle attachment to beat the cream cheese for about 3 minutes or until soft and creamy; set aside. Whisk the cream with a balloon whisk or electric mixer with a whisk attachment in a clean bowl until soft peaks form. Add the cream cheese with the condensed milk and whisk until just combined and smooth. Set aside.
- To make the Cream Cheese Frosting, use an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to beat the cream cheese for about 3 minutes or until smooth and creamy; transfer to another bowl and set aside. Beat the butter about 3 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla and beat until well combined and frosting is creamy.
- Remove the cakes form the tins. Cut each cake layer in half horizontally and then brush with the milk and sweetened condensed milk mixture to moisten. Place one layer on a serving plate or cake stand and spread with some of the Cream Cheese Filling and then one third of the Guava Filling. Continue layering with the remaining cake layers, Cream Cheese Filling and Guava Filling, finishing with a cake layer, top side down.
- Spread the side and top with Cream Cheese Frosting to cover, using a spatula or cake scraper to smooth evenly.
- Add a little red gel colour to the remaining Cream Cheese Frosting and swirl so that it is marbled. Place in a piping bag fitted with a small star nozzle (Débora used a Wilton #18 star) and pipe small rosettes around the side and top of the cake (as shown in the image). Place the macarons between the rosette on the top to decorate.
- This cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature.
This recipe was created by Débora for her Make Me a Baker graduation using inspiration from a number of different recipes including those from www.howtocakeit.com, Gretchen’s Bakery YouTube channel, Karen Munhoz YouTube channel and a class she took with MakMak Macarons.
Photography by Amy Piddington.
Prep 25min (+cooling time)Bake 18-20minMakes 8-10 serves
This sponge will have you wanting an excuse to make afternoon tea every day. There are two main tricks when making a sponge: don’t over-whisk the mixture once you have added the flour – only whisk it until the mixture is just combined. Also, sponges don’t take long to bake and, if overcooked, will easily become dry, so keep a close eye on them when baking.
160ml (2/3 cup) thickened cream
80ml (⅓ cup) fresh passionfruit pulp
Melted butter, to grease
4 fresh eggs, at room temperature
165g (¾ cup) caster sugar
60ml (¼ cup) milk
30g butter, diced
110g (¾ cup) self-raising flour, plus extra to dust
30g (¼ cup) cornflour
180g (1½ cups) pure icing sugar
1½ tablespoons fresh passionfruit pulp
Approx. 3 teaspoons boiling water
- To make the Sponge Layers, place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and then preheat it to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Brush two 20cm shallow (sandwich) cake tins with a little melted butter to lightly grease. Line the bases with circles of baking paper. Lightly brush the paper with a little more melted butter and then dust the bases and sides of the tins with a little flour to lightly coat, tapping out any excess.
- Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment on medium-high speed to whisk the eggs in a medium bowl until frothy. Add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the mixture is very thick and pale and the sugar has dissolved (this will take about 8 minutes). Lift the whisk out of the mixture and draw a figure eight, if the trail stays on the surface long enough for you to finish drawing then the mixture is ready. If not, continue to whisk for a further minutes and then test again.
- Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture is almost simmering. Remove from the heat. Pour the hot milk mixture down the side of the bowl with the egg mixture. Quickly sift the flour and cornflour together over the egg mixture and then immediately whisk again with the electric mixer briefly, until the flour mixture is just incorporated (make sure there is no flour caught at the bottom of the bowl and be careful not to overmix).
- Divide the mixture evenly between the cake tins (see Baker’s Tips) and gently tap the tins on the bench top three times to settle the mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until the cakes are a pale golden colour, spring back when lightly touched in the centre and start pulling away from the sides of the tins. Remove from the oven and stand for 1 minute before turning onto a wire rack, top side up (see Baker’s Tips), to cool completely.
- When ready to fill, to make the Passionfruit Icing, sift the icing sugar into a medium bowl. Add the passionfruit pulp and enough boiling water to mix to a thin, spreadable icing. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside. Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment or a balloon whisk to whisk the cream in a medium mixing bowl until soft peaks form. Use a large metal spoon or spatula to gently fold the passionfruit pulp through the whipped cream until just swirled through. Place one layer of the sponge on a serving plate or cake stand and spread with the passionfruit cream. Top with the remaining sponge layer. Spread the Passionfruit Icing evenly over the top layer of the sponge, allowing it to drip down the sides slightly. Set aside or 20 minutes or until the icing sets before serving in slices.
- You will need about 5 large passionfruit for this recipe.
- To divide the mixture evenly between the tins, weigh the tins with the mixture in them to make sure they are the same weight.
- When removing the cakes from the tins, turn them onto a wire rack covered with a tea towel before inverting onto another rack. The tea towel will prevent the rack marking the tops of the cakes.
- The unfilled sponge cakes will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day. Once filled, the cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.
This recipe is from Anneka's SBS Food online column, Bakeproof: Sponge Cake.
CLICK HERE for more Bakeproof recipes.
Photography by Alan Benson.