Passionfruit cupcakes

passionfruit cakes

Another delightfully simple Lois recipe; the kind you might glance at on a page and not give too much thought to. It’s another matter entirely when a plate of these little passionfruit bejeweled beauties is in front of you at afternoon teatime. Even when you’ve just eaten a couple of cheese scones, eh Lily and Ollie.

Passionfruit cupcakes (Lois Daish, A Good Year, p. 36).

110g butter, softened

110g caster sugar

2 free-range eggs

120g plain flour

2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons milk

To finish:

3 passionfruit

Icing:

1 tablespoon butter, softened

3/4 cup icing sugar, sifted

pulp of 1 small passionfruit

Preheat oven to 190°C and thoroughly grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper patty pans. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Sift the flour and baking powder together and beat into the mixture together with the milk. Spoon into the tins and bake for about 15 minutes until the cakes are golden brown and when lightly pressed with a finger, the cakes spring back. Remove cakes from the tray and cool on a rack.

Once the cakes are cool, use a small sharp knife to cut a cone-shaped plug out of the middle of each cake. Cut the passionfruit in half and scoop out the pulp and spoon a little into the hole in each cake and then replace the plugs.

Make the icing by beating the soft butter and icing sugar together until smooth, then adding the passionfruit pulp. Spread a little of the icing over each cake to cover the plug. Eat within a day (you won’t have any trouble with this last part, I promise you).

 

Blueberry buckle

 

IMG_4769Lois’ blueberry buckle is a perfect way to use up any frozen blueberries lurking in your freezer which you’re feeling a little hesitant about eating after hearing about this. That aside, this buckle is an extremely delightful dessert with a cute-as-a-button name.

Blueberry buckle (adapted slightly from Lois Daish, NZ Listener, 8 January 2005)

Topping:

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

To make the topping, rub the butter into the dry ingredients. Alternatively chuck the whole lot into a food processor or mixer and process until combined. Set aside.

Buckle:

100g butter, softened

3/4 cup caster sugar

1 free-range egg

zest of a lemon

1 1/4 cups plain flour

2 teaspoon baking power

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup milk

1 heaped cup of blueberries, fresh or frozen (if using frozen berries don’t defrost first)

Preheat oven to 180°C and line a 25cm loose-bottomed cake tin with baking paper and lightly grease the sides. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and lemon zest. If using a food processor scrape the mixture out into a large mixing bowl at this point. Sift the dry ingredients and add these to the creamed mixture alternating with the milk, mixing until fully combined.

Scrape the cake batter into prepared tin, cover with blueberries and sprinkle over the topping. Bake for about 35-40 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. If using frozen berries the cake might take a little longer, but start checking it from the 35 minute mark.

Macaroon syrup cake

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I’ll leave it to Lois to convince you that you need to make this cake:

‘In this luscious sryup-soaked cake, a high proportion of coconut ensures a rich, moist, chewy texture. On first tasting it, my daughter [Mary Daish] described it as “Bounty bar cake”.’

Sold.

Macaroon syrup cake (adapted slightly from Lois Daish, Listener, February 17, 2001 p. 43)

150g butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

4 free-range eggs

1 cup flour

1 heaped teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 cups desicated coconut

1/2 cup ground almonds

Syrup:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

zest of 1 lemon or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste

Preheat oven to 160˚C and butter a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour and baking powder and fold into the creamed mixture followed by the coconut. Scrape into the prepared cake tin, smooth off the top, and bake for 45 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes away clean.

While the cake is baking prepare the syrup by gently heating all three ingredients together in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the hot syrup over the warm cake and leave for a few hours before serving.

Apple & almond cake

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This recipe contains only a small amount of flour, so you can easily sub in some gluten-free flour to make a gluten-free cake if that’s what you’re into; it’s already dairy-free just the way it is. Lois suggests baking the cake in two tins and then sandwiching the thin layers with some whipped cream, which sounds like a bloody excellent idea to me.

Apple & almond cake (Lois Daish, Good Food, p. 114)

3 free-range eggs

150g caster sugar (I used vanilla sugar; I keep a vanilla pod in a jar of caster sugar to gently infuse it)

50g flour (can use a gluten-free flour here)

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch salt

170g ground almonds

2 apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla (I used vanilla paste)

1 tablespoon sugar, for sprinkling on top 

Preheat oven to 160˚C and line a 22cm loose-bottom cake tin with baking paper. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until the mixture turns light in colour and thickens. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and ground almonds and then fold this mixture into the eggs. Stir in the chopped apples and vanilla. Scrape mixture into tin, smooth the top, sprinkle with the tablespoon of sugar and bake for 35 minutes until browned on top and firm to touch.

Note: I baked this cake using a conventional oven and when I checked it after 30 minutes the cake was still pale on top, so I turned the oven to fan bake and left the cake for another 5-7 minutes.

Flapjack

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Lois’ flapjack is basically a giant Anzac biscuit baked in a tin. Perfect for those times when you have the mental capacity for weighing, melting, stirring, pouring, and baking, but shaping individual biscuits is a bridge too far.

Lois’ original recipe calls for the addition of sultanas or raisins, but I used dates as their chewy caramel-ness is perfect with oats and coconut. I think this recipe would also benefit from a sprinkling of pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds.

Flapjack (Lois Daish, Fuss-Free Food for Two, 1997, p.59)

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup dessicated coconut

1 cup sugar (I reduced this to 3/4 cup and it worked fine)

1 cup flour (I used wholemeal flour)

100g butter

2 tablespoons golden syrup

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 tablespoons boiling water

1 cup raisins, sultanas OR 1/2 cup chopped dates and 1/2 cup sunflower and pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 170°C and line a baking tin (mine was 20cm x 20cm) with baking paper. In a large bowl stir together the rolled oats, coconut, sugar and flour. Melt the butter and golden syrup together in a small pot. Put the baking soda in a cup and add the boiling water. Pour this into the melted butter mixture and stir before pouring over the dry ingredients. Add the raisins or sultanas or date and seed mixture and stir thoroughly. The mixture will look a little crumbly. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin, push down and flatten out evenly and bake for 20 minutes. Cut into squares while still warm.

Chocolate & marmalade cake

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This is chocolate cake perfection. Two layers of darkly moist chocolate cake sandwiched together with a slather of bitter marmalade. This cake isn’t iced, but is so moist and rich that it doesn’t need it, and the absence of icing makes the marmalade layer really shine.

This cake can be thrown together very quickly, making it a perfect midweek evening bake for taking to work for a birthday shout, or for an impromptu whim of ‘let’s have chocolate cake on a Thursday night’.

Chocolate & marmalade cake (Lois Daish, Listener, July 14, 2001, p.42-3)

85g cocoa

1 1/2 cups boiling water

3 free-range eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

300g plain flour, sifted

435g brown sugar

2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

230g butter, softened until almost melting

For finishing:

bitter marmalade (Seville, if you have it)

icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line the base of two 23cm loose-bottomed cake tins with baking paper and lightly grease the sides.

In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Cool to room temperature. In another bowl lightly combine the eggs, a quarter of the cocoa mixture and the vanilla.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda and mix on a low speed for 30 seconds. Add the very soft butter and remaining cocoa mixture. Mix on a low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake’s structure. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the beaten egg mixture in three batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure.

Pour the batter into the prepared tins and smooth the top. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a skewer pushed into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool the tins on a rack for 10 minutes, then loose the sides with a butter knife and invert onto a greased wire rack (the cakes are quite sticky and greasing the rack will help to ensure the cake doesn’t adhere to the rack).

When cold, place one cake upside down on a serving plate and spread with a good slather of marmalade. Place the second cake on top, right side up. Just before serving, sift icing sugar over the top.

Folded currant scones

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Scones have the shortest lifespan of any baking. They really are best straight from the oven and with each passing hour they lose their crisp edges and lightness and soften to become heavy. The consolation for this small window of optimum deliciousness is that scones are very quick to make; I was surprised at how quickly I had a tray of scones ready for the oven. The only slightly labourious part is cleaning up the floury bench afterwards, but that can surely be delegated to an eager scone awaiter.

Lois’ folded currant scones are one of the nicest scones I’ve tried. The folding technique creates layers which gives the scones a light and flaky quality. Now that I have been reminded just how quick scones are to make, a repeat bake is on the horizon for this weekend.

Folded currant scones (Lois Daish, Dinner at Home, p.85)

2 cups standard flour

3 tablespoons caster sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

80g cold butter, cut into small cubes

1/2 cup currants

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup plain unsweetened yoghurt

Preheat oven to 200°C (fan bake setting). Sift the flour, sugar and baking powder; if using unsalted butter add a pinch of salt. Add the butter and use your fingers to rub the butter into flakes about the size of cornflakes. Add the currants.

Combine the milk and yoghurt in a small bowl and add to the mixture. Using a cutting action than stirring action, use a blunt knife to mix to a soft dough. You may need to add a little more milk if there is lots of unincorporated dry mixture at the bottom of the bowl. Don’t overmix the dough; some of the butter flakes should still be visible.

Place the dough on a floured bench and use a rolling pin to roll out into a 1-2cm thick rectange. Fold over into thirds and roll out again. Fold into thirds a second time, then roll out into a rectangle. Fold this rectangle in half so that you have a thin long rectangle about 10cm by 30cm. Cut the length into around 8-9 rectangular-shaped scones.

Put on a baking tray and bake for about ten minutes until puffed and golden brown. Transfer the scones to a rack covered with a tea towel and fold the tea towel over the top of the scones until it is time to serve them.