Organic Coffee Layer Cake - Great for Birthdays!

This recipe makes two loaf-shaped layer cakes. The recipe seems complicated as it has many ingredients but if you prepare your ingredients in the three bowls as suggested below this cake will quickly become your favorite thing to bake.

Bowl one (medium bowl):
1/4 cup organic espresso coffee, cold (Laura likes Kokako Organic)
1/4 cup rice bran, sunflower, vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
6 egg yolks

Bowl two (largest bowl):

1 1/3 cups stoneground white flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder, sifted
1/2 tsp cinnamon, sifted
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup caster sugar

Bowl three (large bowl):
6 egg whites
1 tsp white vinegar

1/2 cup caster sugar, extra

300 mL cream, whipped
2 tbsp icing sugar

To make:
Preheat oven to 175ºC or 155ºC if fan-bake.Line the bottom of 3 loaf pans with baking paper - do not grease.

  1. Combine ingredients in each bowl as listed. add bowl one to bowl two and combine roughly.
  2. Using electric beaters beat egg whites with vinegar until foamy, slowly add the reserved sugar until a soft meringue forms (soft peaks).
  3. Add a large spoon of the egg white mixture to bowl two and combine. Fold through remaining egg whites.
  4. Divide mixture between the three pans and cook for 17-20 minutes until the cakes spring back lightly to the touch. Leave in pans until completely cool.
  5. Cut each cake in half and spread with cream whipped with icing sugar. Sandwich together to make two loaf cakes. Sprinkle with icing sugar to serve.

Some Baking Hints and Tips: I

Baking is reassuring, results are gained as with a science - care and precision get results. On a shifty day with a relative in hospital baking spins time out, fills the tins and keeps my mind off other things. Here are a few hints and tips that have occurred to me throughout todays morning of baking. I wish you - great results. xx L

The Oven
Always preheat your oven.
When switching the oven on to preheat check there are no pots or pans inside.
If using a fan-bake oven confirm you have chosen the specified fan-bake temperature.

Ingredients need to be at the temperature stated:

Butter may need to be chilled for pastry making or softened and at room temperature for cakes made with the creaming method.

Eggs are always to be used at room temperature. Eggs can be warmed by placing in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes.

Milk is always to be used at room temperature. Rather than leaving milk out, warm the required amount slightly (to blood temperature) in a pan or for 5-10 seconds in the microwave.

Pear and Cinnamon Sponge Pudding

The first of the Autumn puddings

Autumn nudges through the chill of the earliest morning. I knew things had changed when I noticed my friends tree dripping with pears. Instead of salad my thoughts turned to warm puddings with pouring cream, so we celebrated the oncoming season with this recipe lightly spiced pear dotted sponge.

Cinnamon Pear Sponge

3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
120 g butter, melted
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch salt

1-2 cups pear halves, poached or canned

2 tbsp raw brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180ºC or 160ºC for fan bake.

1. Beat together sugar and eggs until really pale and fluffy (best to use an electric beater) or whisk by hand for a good 5 minutes.
2. Add butter, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt, fold quickly to form a batter.
3. Pour batter into a greased baking dish and drop in pear halves. Sprinkle top with sugar and cinnamon.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes to one hour until springs back lightly to touch.

Cooking Temp: 170 ºC or 150ºC fan bake
Cooking Time: 45 minutes - one hour
Prep Time: 10 minutes

smoking fish on the gas bbq

Todays Good Morning TV recipes

Chunky Smoked Fish and Bread Salad with Chili Yoghurt Dressing

Salad Ingredients:

1/2 loaf wholemeal bread (about 300g)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
zest of one lemon
mineral salt
500 g smoked fish (about 300g with bones and skin removed)
1 small red onion, sliced
1 bunch parsley, leaves only
1 bunch chervil or mint or coriander leaves (or a mixture)
1 punnet cherry tomatoes,halved

Dressing Ingredients:

1 red chili
1 tsp capers or 1 anchovy (or a generous pinch of salt)
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup yoghurt
1 tbsp olive oil
juice of one lemon

1. Preheat oven to 200ºC.
2. Roughly tear the wholemeal bread into bite-sized chunks.
3. Combine olive oil with garlic, lemon zest and pepper. Toss through the bread. Bake in the oven turning once for 7-10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and allow to cool a little.
4. Carefully remove any bones from the smoked fish and break into large pieces before combining with croutons and remaining ingredients.
5. Crush red chili, capers and garlic together in a pestle and mortar or chop finely. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Serve tossed through salad.

Cooking Temp: 200ºC
Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4-6
Cost per serve:$3.17
(Autumn only as this recipe is written with fresh seasonal ingredients)

Barley and Brown Rice Salad with Flaxseed Oil Dressing

Salad Ingredients:

1/3 cup brown rice
1/3 cup barley
3 cups vegetable stock (preferably salt free)
1 onion, cut into wedges
1 aubergine, cubed
1 red capsicum, cubed
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 sprig thyme
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 bunch parsley or coriander leaves
1/2 bunch mint leaves

Dressing Ingredients:

3 tbsp flaxseed oil
1 tbsp your favorite chutney (Laura used sun-dried tomato and olive chutney)
juice of one lemon

1. Preheat oven to 200ºC.
2. Bring brown rice and barley to the boil in vegetable stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.
3. Toss onion, aubergine and red capsicum together with oil, thyme and parsley and roast for 20 minutes.
4. Combine cooked grains with roasted vegetables and chopped herbs.
5. Mix together dressing ingredients and thoroughly stir through salad. Serve warm or chilled.

Cooking Temp: 200ºC
Cooking Time: 2o minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4-6
Cost per serve: $2.40
(Autumn only as this recipe is written with fresh seasonal ingredients)

Autumn Walnut and Fresh Date Loaf

A favorite recipe of mine first published in my column "Local Faire", Walnut and Date Loaf is fantastic with a cup of tea. New season walnuts are due any day so keep your eyes open. All nuts keep best in a dark cool environment as this helps protect their natural oils. I like to keep mine in a glass jar in the fridge.

This recipe has less cane sugar than the average muffin so is perfectly suitable in my opinion for breakfast.

Autumn Walnut and Fresh Date Loaf

1 cup apple juice
1 tbsp butter, softened (25g)
7 fresh medjool dates, stones removed, chopped
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg, beaten
1 cup dark brown soft sugar
1/2 cup chopped wild walnuts (this season)
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp cardamon
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 180ºC or 160ºC if fan-bake.
1. Warm the apple juice with the butter until the butter has melted. Add the dates and baking soda, mix well.
2. Add the egg, sugar and walnuts and combine.
3. Sift together flour, cardamon and baking powder. Fold into the date and walnut mixture.
4. Bake in a lined loaf pan for 40-45 minutes or until the the loaf springs back to the touch. Allow to rest in the pan for ten minutes before turning out.

Cooking Temp: 180ºC or 160ºC if fan-bake
Cooking Time: 40-45 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes

* Medjool dates are available in New Zealand and are generally imported from America. They are available in the fruit and vegetable section of the supermarket and should be kept in the fridge.