Tag Archives: Bake

Happy Christmas

Christmas is a time for gratitude, remembering all those things you are thankful for, and indulging in things that make you happy, spending time with loved ones and overdosing on favourite foods. I have a lot to be grateful for, and one thing that is high on my happiness list is chocolate. I decided to revisit a recipe from last year and improve on it by combining cocoa with my gingerbread recipe to create a chocolate version, and substituted milk for ginger beer.

This gingerbread is delicious by itself, dressed up with your favourite icing or used in trifle, which is what I will be doing later this week for Christmas.

Wishing you a very happy Christmas.

What I was cooking this time last year: Gingerbread Trifle

Chocolate Gingerbread


  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 cup ginger beer
  • 1 cup sugar
  •  2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 125g butter
  • 1 cup golden syrup
  • Cooking oil spray


  • Melt butter and syrup in saucepan over low heat until butter is melted and set aside to cool a little.

Butter and syrup

  • Sift the flour, cocoa & spices into a bowl.

Sift flour spice cocoa

  • Add sugar, eggs, ginger beer and butter syrup and mix well.

Cake batter mixing

  • Spray your baking tin(s) with cooking oil spray. Pour cake batter into tins – I used mini-cupcake tins.

Chocolate cake batter in tins

  • Bake for 20 minutes at 170°C [fan-forced] or 180°C normal oven (you will need to adjust the cooking time if using larger tins). Remove from oven when cooked – ie skewer comes out clean or the gingerbread springs back with lightly touched.

Chocolate gingerbread

What is your favourite food that makes you happy? Has this post inspired any new ideas?


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Filed under Baking, Cake, Chocolate, Recipes, Spices, Sweet, Vegetarian

Poppy Seed cake

In preparation for embracing the “Swank Diet” in the new year, I am taking steps to wean myself off certain favourite foods. A lot of the diets books I have been reading say it is important not to put your body through sudden and / or drastic changes, so I am currently cutting back on coffee and dairy products, and if I am eating dairy, using low-fat or no-fat versions. If you are regular follower of this blog, you may have detected that I love baking and I believe cake should be classified as its’ own food group. The inspiration for this recipe is to come up with a cake that doesn’t use butter. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s healthy, but for me, it’s a step in the right direction.

The cake has been drowned in a sticky syrup, which you could skip if you want or need to reduce your sugar intake. Delicious served warm alongside a scoop of fat free natural yoghurt.

Lemon poppy seed

What I was cooking this time last year: Veggie Burgers

Lemon Poppy Seed Yoghurt Cake



  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1 cup zero fat yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup rice bran oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • 2 lemons
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Generous pinch salt
  • 4 tablespoons poppy seeds

Lemon Syrup

  • 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • Water


  • Turn the oven on to 180°C to pre-heat.
  • Add the flour, sugar, eggs, salt, vanilla, lemon zest, yoghurt and oil to your food processor bowl.
  • Juice the zested lemons, and add 1/2 cup lemon juice to the food processor bowl.


  • Mix until the cake batter is combined.
  • Add the poppy seeds to the food processor bowl and pulse until mixed into the cake batter.

Poppy seed cake batter

  • Grease a cake tin.
  • Pour the cake mix into your greased cake tin, and set a timer for 45 minutes (you may need to adjust the cooking time depending on your oven and cake tin size).

Poppy seed cake batter

  • To make the syrup zest 2 lemons to produce long strips of zest. Add to a saucepan.

Lemon zest strips

  • Juice the lemon, to create 1/4 cup lemon juice, add 1/4 cup of water and add to the saucepan.
  • Add 1/2 cup of sugar to the lemon zest and juice mix.

Lemon syrup

  • Cook the syrup mixture over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to the boil.
  • Take the syrup off the heat and set aside to cool.
  • Once the cake is cooked, remove from the tin and pour over the syrup while the cake is still hot.
  • Serve warm or once cooled. Enjoy.

Lemon Poppy Seed Yoghurt Cake

What is your favourite healthy(ish) cake recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?


Filed under Baking, Cake, Lemon, Pudding, Recipes, Sweet, Vegetarian

Gingerbread Trifle

Continuing with my Christmas theme, I wanted to share my Christmas Trifle recipe. Cherries are abundant in Australia at Christmas time, so I have combined cherries with the more traditionally European Christmas flavours of gingerbread and mulled wine inspired custard. If you can’t get fresh cherries you could use tinned or jarred cherries, but I don’t recommend you use maraschino cherries.

This recipe uses quantities when you are cooking for a crowd, for occasions when you are asked to bring a desert to share for a large family or other Christmas gathering. You may end up with extra gingerbread left over depending on the size of the serving dish(es) you use. If you are catering for smaller numbers, you could half the quantities of everything and make a smaller batch of trifle.

If you are catering for vegetarians, vegetarian jelly is available from Kosher or Asian supermarkets. You could make some alcohol free trifles for the kids with a cherry or berry jelly, then use port wine jelly for the brandy infused adults version.

The gingerbread does seem to have an alarming amount of sugar and golden syrup, but the spices do balance this out and you end up with a sticky gingerbread.

I mentioned in my candy cane chip chocolate ice cream post, if you are worried about your custard splitting or turning into scrambled eggs, half fill the sink with cold water and ice cubes so that you can set the saucepan in the cool water to immediately stop the cooking once it starts to thicken. If you do happen to split the custard slightly, you can sometimes save it by blending thoroughly in a blender to recombine everything (after removing the vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, star anise and cloves).

Gingerbread Trifle


  • 500g cherries, pitted [you might need plastic gloves for this because cherries can stain your hands, clothes, etc.]
  • 2 packets jelly
  • Gingerbread
  • Spiced custard


  • Make the gingerbread and spiced custard according to the recipes below. Allow gingerbread and custard to cool completely.
  • Make the jelly according to packet instructions and refrigerate until almost set.
  • You can either make individual trifles in small glass cups / bowls, or a large one. I like to use glass so that you can see all the layers. Add a layer of gingerbread to the bottom of the bowl[s]. Next add cherries, then top with custard, leaving about 1cm at the top for the jelly
  • Gently spoon over the almost set jelly and refrigerate the whole lot until set and ready to eat.

Gingerbread trifle

Gingerbread recipe


  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  •  2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 125g butter
  • 1 cup golden syrup


  • Melt butter and syrup in saucepan over low heat until butter is melted.

Butter and syrup

  • Add the flour & spices together into food processor bowl. Add sugar eggs, milk and butter syrup and mix well [or if you don’t have a food processor use a mixer or beaters or wooden spoon].


  • Pour into tins – I use cupcake tins. Bake for 40 minutes at 170°C [fan-forced] or 180°C normal oven. Remove from oven when cooked – ie skewer comes out clean or the gingerbread springs back with lightly touched.

Spiced Custard


  • 500mls full cream milk
  • 500mls thickened cream
  • 100g sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks and 5 large whole eggs
  • 2 vanilla pods or 1 tspn vanilla paste or 2 tspns vanilla essence
  • zest from one orange
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg or mace
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tablespoons brandy [or calvados – apple brandy] *optional*


  • Put the milk and cream in a saucepan with the sugar.
  • Split vanilla pod in half, scrape out seeds, add vanilla seeds to the pan, together with the scraped pods. [Or just add the vanilla paste or essence if using.]
  • Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, nutmeg or mace, star anise, eggs and egg yolks.
  • Whisk to combine the eggs, and place the saucepan on medium heat on the stove top.
  • Cook, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until it thickens.
  • Immediately remove the pan from the heat, add the brandy (if using) and strain the custard through a sieve into a chilled bowl or jug.  Cover and allow to cool.

What is your favourite dish to bring along to a large get together? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Baking, Cake, Custard, Recipes, Spices, Sweet, Vegetarian