Winter Wishing – Quince Cake

What’s in the pot?

Well… now that the weather has turned in time for Spring, do you really care what’s in the pot? Clearly it’s something that involves baking and we all know that the hot Australian summer is not conducive to baking. But Spring/Summer baking is not what this post is all about. While I love the sunshine and flowers, a part of me yearns for the sharp clarity of winter mornings and the satisfaction of warm winter desserts. So this post is a throw back to all the things we wish for during winter. Mostly…


I hate that the Quince season is so woefully short. I hate that Quinces are not readily available as they should be. I hate that I don’t have my own Quince tree in my own backyard. And while I am trying harder to make the most of produce that is in season, I wish that Quinces that had been transported in cold storage did not taste so awful. Then we wouldn’t have to wait until winter to enjoy them. But all things come to those who wait, and as I wait patiently all year I know that I will always have time for at least one Quince Cake during winter.

Look at those beautiful pieces of quince. Yummo!

This particular recipe is quite simple, the only time consuming part is poaching the quinces but

1. having the oven on for so long keeps the house warm

2. the smell is gorgeous! I would like nothing better than to have my house continuously smell like quinces poaching

 So in the end, after all the deliciousness and warmth of the poaching process you end up with a wonderful buttery, soft, sweet, spicy cake. Particularly tasty with the crunchy munchy cinnamon topping and jewels of quince peeking out.


So, my lovelies, what seasonal food would you eat all year round if you could? I’ll give you three wishes!


Poached Quince – From The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander


6 Quinces, peeled and cored

2.25 litres sugar syrup (2 parts water to 1 part sugar, heat and dissolve sugar to make the syrup)

1 vanilla bean

juice of 1 lemon



1. Put sugar syrup into a large enamelled cast iron casserole dish along with the quinces, vanilla bean and lemon juice

2. Cover tightly and bake at 150 degrees celsius  for at least 4 (and up to 8) hours until the quinces are a deep red colour. Do not stir.

3. Cool


Quince and Cinnamon Cake – From The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander


180g softened butter

150g caster sugar

135g plain flour

135g self raising flour

pinch of salt

2 large eggs (lightly beaten)

70ml milk

1/2 cup almond meal

poached quinces


60g butter

1/2 cup caster sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

2 large eggs



1. To make the topping, melt the butter and stir in the sugar and cinnamon, then allow to cool a little. Whisk the eggs and stir into the cooled butter mixture

2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy

3. Mix in flours and salt

4. Mix the eggs with the milk and add to the flour mixture. Mix to a softish dough.

5. Spoon the batter into a prepared tin (it will rise quite a bit so don’t overfill) and sprinkle the almond meal over the top

6. Arrange the quinces cut side up on top of the batter and spoon the topping over and around the quinces.

7. Bake at 180 degrees celsius for 50 mins-1 hour

8. Serve warm with cream



Chocolate Cake like your Grandma used to Make

So I have to start this post with a disclaimer: I don’t ever remember my grandma making cakes. My mum assures me that she did, and regales me with tales of amazing pavlovas made by whipping the eggs and sugar on a giant plate with a knife, but have no memories of this whatsoever. The cake I am going to tell you about is the kind of cake I imagine my grandma would have made.

The chill of winter calls for simple food and after browsing through my cookbooks again I stumbled upon my CWA cookbook. An oldie but a goodie. And no requirements for crazy fancy or difficult to find ingredients which is a huge saving on my time poor days. Having said that, I did use two rather special ingredients that were not necessary but definitely added to the final cake. These were some particularly indulgent cocoa and chocolate sprinkles that I bought on a trip to Josophans chocolate shop in Leura, Blue Mountains.

I have a thing about cocoa powder. I used to be a staunch Bourneville user until I realised how much lighter in colour it and the Nestle cocoa powder was compared to other brands. While expensive, Josophans’ cocoa powder drew me in with its rich, dark colour and I knew it would be a winner in any recipe.

I had intended to make this cake and bring it in to work for morning tea but I was turning into the driveway at work when I realised that I had left it at home. Along with my sanity it seems.

So, there was nothing else for it but to serve it as a particularly tasty morning tea on Saturday morning. Remember, when there’s chocolate cake involved the glass is always half full people! It was lightly chocolatey and moist. Definitely not the super rich chocolate hit of other cakes ive made but just right for morning tea. Simple yet satisfying.

Now I know that this photo is grainy, but I wanted to show you the tea I drank with this cake. It was Wedgewood Earl Grey that I was given as a present for Christmas. It was absolutely delicious! One of the best Earl Greys i’ve tasted in a long time.

mmmmmmmm…. chocolate cake…..

So, my lovelies, are you as forgetful as me? My terrible memory has been well documented in this blog. What is the silliest thing you have forgotten and did it turn out ok in the end? Tell me a story to help me procrastinate from doing my marking!

Recipe – Kim’s Chocolate Cake – From the CWA Cakes Cookbook


2 cups self raising flour

3 tablespoons cocoa

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups milk

2 eggs

2 tablespoons butter, melted


1. Sift flour and cocoa into a bowl

2. Add the sugar, milk and eggs and beat well

3. Add the melted butter and beat for another two minutes

4. Pour into a tin (recipe does not specify, use your common sense!) and bake in an oven at 180 degrees celsius for 1 hour

Icing Note:

You can use your favourite chocolate icing for this cake but I used the Donna Hay Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting that you can find here. Enjoy!

Malteser Cake – and why I am the way I am

I’ve spent the day watching the news reports about the QLD floods. It’s a very sobering sight. I find it absolutely incomprehensible that something like this can just happen by the will of the weather, and that overnight something that was a crisis can blow out into a catastrophe. I am lucky in that I have no family or friends in Queensland but my heart goes out to anyone who is touched by this disaster. Im sure the people of Queensland could use all the help they can get in rebuilding once the floodwaters recede, so if you want to make a donation you can do so here at the official Queensland Government website. Please forgive me if this post is not executed with my usual enthusiasm.

If you are feeling a bit down and at a loose end, then this is a cake that will cheer you up. First viewed on Chocolate Suze’s blog but originally from a Nigella Lawson recipe, this cake is one that goes that little way beyond a plain chocolate cake (although, what could be wrong with a plain chocolate cake?). I thought it would be a good way to use up the packet of Maltesers that somehow made it safely out of the cinema after I saw Harry Potter recently. Don’t ask me how that happened. They are tricksy little creatures, those Maltesers…

So they had to be taught a lesson. There is no escaping the tummy of Katie.

I wanted to use my new Heart shaped springform tin that I had snagged in the post christmas sales. I also got a madeleine tin which I will be using shortly. The heart tin worked well but did leak a little so be careful, you may want to put a little alfoil around the bottom to stop any batter leaking out into your oven.

The cake was moist and came out of the pan easily and then I had some fun decorating!

and I used my new turn table to boot 😉

I decorated the edges with half cut maltesers and sprinkled some crushed ones over the top

mmmmmm… maltesery

and I reserved some of the crushed maltesers for eating with the cake. Yummo!

I added extra malt to the mix but my real secret ingredient was a handful of maltesers thrown into the batter before baking. They leave a gooey, malty, caramely surprise in the centre of your cake

This final picture is of the serving I gave to the mothership, after she asked for more cream. I used double thick cream and she was satisfied with this amount. I think she may be using cream as an alternate fuel source. And if, while reading this blog, you were ever wondering where I got my sweet tooth and insanely skewed understanding of the food pyramid, there you go. Like mother, like daughter!

So, my lovelies, what eating habits did you inherit from your parents?

A pretty amazing (cake) sandwich

When I think of a pretty amazing sandwich, I can see two slices of beautifully soft, fresh white bread framing crisp and succulent greens, a thin smear of home made mayonnaise, marinated artichoke, a few sundried tomatos and some pieces of tangy, tasty salami. It’s enough to get me salivating just thinking about it. And then I think of this


And all my healthy eating plans go out the window. Heart healthy it is not, but tasty and satisfying it most certainly is. A pretty amazing sandwich.

This concoction is simple by nature. Two pieces of Cream Cheese Pound Cake framing gooey, melted lindt chocolate. Normally I don’t mind what kind of chocolate you use but today the Lindt Cafe at Martin place had 50% off christmas chocolate. Who could go past that? I had a few pieces of Cream Cheese Pound Cake (the most amazing pound cake in the world) lying around, so I defy anyone to have a different thought process to this

50% off Lindt chocoate –> left over pound cake –>new years resolution to eat healthier –> sandwich? –>chocolate and pound cake sandwich!

ok, so my logic may be flawed.

But this cake is seriously good. Normally I like my cakes gooey and chocolatey and unbelievably sweet, but I would quite happily eat slice after slice of this gorgeous dense pound cake. Hell, I might even choose the pound cake over the chocolate cake! Does that convince you? Not quite? Read on, my lovelies and hear my case!

I found this recipe in a book called Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor that I picked up in England this time last year. With a title like that, cute pastel design and drool-worthy pictures, I was hooked! You can see how cute the page designs are, thats the cookbook in the top left hand corner. And, while im talking about this picture, how good does that cake mix look? This is definitely a cake mix I could consume (new years resolutions be damned!) before even baking.

I may have licked the bowl.

Look at that sucker! All golden and puffy. Deeelicious!

I know all the other cookbooks behind are are envious that they couldn’t produce such a fine looking cake. Pipe down Nigella! Back off Bourke St Bakery! Mellow out Magnolia! I still love you all xoxo


And it is loaf shaped. Like bread. Therefore making it healthier…

(see, I can construct a compelling case)

Apologies for this pic, but I was feeling faint from the heady aroma of cake, melting chocolate and sizzling butter. Can you blame me? You heartless wench!

Once you have made your cake, all you need to do to construct the sandwich is lightly butter one side of each slice of cake, place one piece butter side down on a frying pan on medium heat and scatter it liberally with your crushed or chopped chocolate. Top with the other slice of cake (butter side up) and cook until brown on the bottom, then flip and cook some more, until the chocolate is melted. Voila! A pretty amazing sandwich.

So, my lovelies, what filling would you have in your amazing pound cake sandwich? And will you be taking advantage of some 50% off chocolate this new year? A little bird tells me that you can find discounted chocolatey treats at many supermarkets still…

My Favourite Cream-Cheese Pound Cake – From Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor (The original recipe makes two loaves, I have halved the recipe so as to only make one. Feel free to double it!)


170g unsalted butter

110g cream cheese

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder


1. Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature and preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius

2. Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. With the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar and continue beating until pale and fluffy

3. Beat in the salt and vanilla

4. Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time and beat well after each addition

5. sif the flour and baking powder into the batter and fold in until smooth

6. Pour the mixture into a prepared loaf tin and bake 60-75 mins or until the tops are golden and slightly cracked. Check with a skewer if you are unsure, and if the top is browning too quickly make sure you place some aluminium foil over the top top stop it burning.