turkish chocolate torte

turkish chocolate torteWithout a doubt this is my favourite cake. It also becomes the favourite cake of anyone who tries it when I make one.

the cake:
6 egg whites
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
1 cup (125g) almond meal
500 g halva, roughly chopped
150 g pitted dates, chopped
Grated zest of 2 oranges
120 g dark chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup (60ml) brandy

chocolate ganache:
100 ml pure (thin) cream
150 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

decorations to serve:
2 tablespoons edible dried rose petals (optional)
2 tablespoons slivered pistachios
4 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
Small mint sprigs

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 24cm springform cake pan with baking paper. Beat egg whites with electric beaters until stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating constantly, then beat for 5 minutes or until thick and glossy.

Fold in almond meal, halva, dates, zest and chocolate until just combined. Spoon mixture into the cake pan, then bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until dry and firm to the touch (the cake will still be moist in the centre when tested with a skewer).

While hot, poke several holes in the top of the cake with a skewer. Pour brandy over cake, then cool completely in the pan.

Meanwhile, for the glaze, place cream and chocolate in a pan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stand for 30 minutes or until a thick pouring consistency.

Remove the cooled cake from the pan, transfer to a platter and pour over the chocolate glaze, allowing it to drip down the sides. Decorate with rose petals, nuts, pomegranate seeds and mint.

Recipe: Valli Little


dark chocolate and raspberry brownies

I’ve passed a significant mothering milestone: I baked for the school fund raiser. I’m a little bit proud of myself … don’t tell anyone that these brownies are super easy to make.

brownies choc raspberry

125g unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate melts
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 180°C and grease then line a 20cm x 31cm baking tray with baking paper.
In a small saucepan melt butter and chocolate over a low heat (or microwave gently).
Once melted (but not so hot as to cook the eggs), add eggs and vanilla essence and beat to combine.
Add sugar, flour and baking powder, stir well to combine.
Add the raspberries and gently mix through, then pour into the baking tray.
Bake for 30 minutes. Ideally your brownie will have a crackling top with a fudgy middle.
Remove from oven and let cool for 15 mins in the tin before cutting into portions and leaving to cool on the rack.

I don’t bother with dusting with icing sugar, when you are eating something this yummy, you don’t need to be worrying about making a mess.

a silky white russian cocktail

For a while I had been fantasising about the Russian Torte “Mashenka” posted on one of my favourite blogs* and I finally succumbed and made myself one. Although mine is not as beautiful to look at as the original, and my lesson learned was to have more layers not less – It’s divine!! I’m enjoying it immensely.

I baked it in the quiet of the evening and by the time I had reached the point of layering the delectably creamy sauce, I was thinking about a nightcap. With about 2 tablespoons of cream left in the mixing bowl, I created a silky smooth white russian cocktail that didn’t seem as heavy as with pure cream.

white russianIf you don’t happen to be making the cake at the time, here’s what would achieve the result:
2 tbsp sour cream
¼ tsp caster sugar
30 ml Kahlua
30 ml vodka
½ cup milk

Combine well and serve with lots of ice.

Thank you Anastasia for a very decadent evening!!

My attempt at Anastasia's Mashenka Torte

*While Chasing Kids

rum raisin chocolate fudge tart

rum raisin choc fudge tartI had some sultanas soaking in rum which were left over from Christmas puddings. The drunken dried grapes had absorbed as much rum as they possibly could and had almost fully re-hydrated. What better to use them up in a very simple, no cook, ganache tart. My supportive man called this one, “freaking awesome!!”

biscuit base:
150 g ‘digestive’ wheat biscuits
30 g butter, melted

250 g dark chocolate, broken
200 ml cream
¼ to ½ cup rum soaked raisins/sultanas (either will work and amount is your preference)

rum raisin tart in the tinMake boozy sultanas by putting them in a clean jam jar, covering the sultanas with rum and leaving for about a week (or more), with the lid on, in the fridge. If you need them in a hurry, warm the rum and let them sit for an hour or so.

Make the base by processing the biscuits until fine then add the butter, combine well.
Line the base of a springform tin with greaseproof paper and press the crumbs into the base and a little way up the sides of the tin. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (an hour is better).

Make the gananche by pouring the cream into a medium sized microwave-proof glass bowl. Heat cream until just below boiling, then add chocolate. Mix until chocolate has melted.
Add the boozey sultanas, mix. (Don’t get too heavy handed with the rum, otherwise your chocolate will struggle to set)
rum raisin chocolate fudge cakeLet the chocolate cool to room temp before pouring into the base.
Then return it to the fridge for 1-2 hours.

I like to eat this in small slices with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a short black espresso.

Tip: Use a hot knife to slice it.

date and banana pudding loaf cake

vegan date and banana loafI originally got this is a recipe from my dear friend, modernwomansociety.wordpress.com, but I have added bananas as inspired by frugalfeeding.wordpress.com, the result was something much closer to a caramel [vegan] pudding than a loaf or cake – totally delicious!

¾ cup brown sugar
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 tablespoon margarine (or melted butter if you prefer)
1 pinch salt
1 cup boiling water
1 ¾ cups self raising flour
3 small overripe bananas (optional – if you leave them out, you’ll have a vegan date loaf, bake time is 30 mins)

Preheat oven to 180c
Combine sugar, dates, bicarb, margarine and salt in a bowl.
Then pour 1 cup boiling water over the above, stir and leave to cool. The mixture will become lighter and foamy.
Add flour and bananas then mix until combined and similar to a batter consistency.
Pour into a greased (I used light olive oil spray) and lined loaf tin and bake for 40 mins* in a moderate oven until a skewer comes out clean-ish (the banana will make it like a pudding so don’t over cook it).

* During baking I thought individual puddings would be great, perhaps pour the batter into patty-cases in a muffin tin and reduce the bake time. I haven’t tried this yet myself so I’ll add a cook time retrospectively – unless someone else tries first and lets us all know?!

Serve it warm with honey, ice cream, cream and/or yoghurt – whatever grabs you. Or just a dab of butter is great too.

date and banana pudding loaf


carrot cake with lime cream cheese icing

carrot cake with lime icingThis is a winner. It’s the orange in the cake mix and lime in the icing that makes this cake so scrumptious. Most of this cake was eaten before I could take a glamour shot to show you.

200 g butter, softened
240 g caster sugar
4 eggs
180 g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
200 g carrot, grated (that’s 2 medium carrots)
60 g coconut, shredded
60 g walnuts, crushed
1 orange zest
½ orange juice
extra 50 g coconut, shredded, roasted

130 g cream cheese
100 g icing sugar
1 lime zest, fine
½ lime juice

Preheat the oven to 170c.
Grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin.
Place butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric beater until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
Sift in flour and baking powder then mix to combine.
Add carrots, coconut, zest, walnuts and orange juice.
Mix to combine and pour into cake pan.
Bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer to the centre comes out clean.
Let cool in the tin for 10 minutes then move to a rack.

Garnish: Put the extra coconut in an oven proof dish and dry roast for about 5 minutes – don’t leave it long, you want it to be just golden. Then remove and set aside to cool.

Icing: Beat ingredients until smooth. Spread over cake and garnish with roasted coconut.

carrot cake with lime cream cheese icing

blood plum clafoutis

blood plums in a blue dishI’ve made a few ‘clafouti’ in my time and they have always been well received. Use whatever fruit is in season (peaches, poached pears, plums, etc). You can also successfully use frozen raspberries, blueberries or cherries. Or cherries in a jar work just fine too. Essentially, it’s a bit like a custard batter with fruit baked in, yum! Super easy, super impressive.

Blood plums
200 ml cream
3 eggs
60 g plain flour
⅓ cup vanilla infused caster sugar*
Butter to grease

Preheat oven to 180c
Cut the plums in half, remove seeds.
Grease a baking dish with butter and place the plum halves into the dish, skin down.
Beat the remaining ingredients to form a smooth batter, then pour the batter into the dish. (Pour around the plums so the fruit looks pretty – but some of it will sink anyway, no perfectionists here).
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

* Keep a jar of caster sugar in the cupboard with a vanilla pod in it.

plum clafoutis

golden plum clafoutis