The “Everything” cake

Photo by Gary Corbett

“This cake came about when I was asked to make a gluten-free cake for a catering gig. I wasn’t happy with the texture of my mud cake when I use GF flour so I decided to try something else. It’s a combination of a carrot, banana and hummingbird cake with added crunch from nuts, pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips. The layers are smothered with moorish cream cheese icing and it’s decorated with toasted coconut and pineapple flowers. Needless to say it’s a real show stopper and utterly delicious! Enjoy”

You can watch the video here:

https://youtu.be/MOpNdupeArE

Cake ingredients

  • 150g GF plain flour
  • 150g almond meal
  • 150g desiccated coconut
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 200g olive oil
  • 250g brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 100g soft butter
  • 80g yoghurt
  • 200g crushed and drained pineapple
  • 400g mashed banana
  • 200g grated carrot
  • 100g chopped walnuts
  • 60g pumplin seeds
  • 80g chocolate chips
Cake method
  1. Heat your oven to 180 Celsius
  2. Combine GF lour, almond meal, coconut, baking powder, baking soda, mixed spice and salt. Mix and set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer whisk together oil, brown sugar, eggs, butter and yoghurt until combined.
  4. Add the pineapple, banana and carrots and mix to combine.
  5. Stir in your dry ingredients and mix to combine.
  6. Stir through the walnuts, pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips.
  7. Spray and line 3 x 20cm cake tins and divide the batter between them, smoothing the tops.
  8. Bake at 180 Celsius for 40-45 minutes then allow to cool.

 Cream cheese icing ingredients

  • 300g soft cream cheese
  • 300g soft butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon coconut essence
 Cream cheese icing method
  1. Whip the cream cheese, butter, lemon zest and coconut essence together until combined.
  2. Add the icing sugar in stages and beat until smooth.
  3. Refrigerate until needed
Pineapple flowers method
  1. Peel your pineapple and remove any eyes or blemishes.
  2. Cut into thin disks and lay on a lined baking tray.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes at 100 Celsius.
  4. Remove and flip the pineapple and bake for another 30 minutes.
  5. Place each pineapple ring in a muffin tin and bake for a further 30 minutes. You can turn the heat off and let them cool in the oven.
To make the cake
  1. Cut each cake in half.
  2. Spread a layer of cream cheese icing between each slice.
  3. Spread icing on the top and sides of the cake and smooth down with a cake scraper or offset spatula.
  4. Decorate with toasted coconut and pineapple flowers.

Vegie Bolognese

“Recently, in an attempt to have less meat in our diet, I’ve been trying to create vegetarian and vegan recipes that still satisfy me and pack a punch of flavour and texture.  My favourite would have to be mushroom parmigiana.  Right up there with the chicken version!  One dish we eat heaps of is Bolognese or Chilli con carne and I’ve started using half beef, half lentils to great effect.  I still wanted to do a vegan version, so started experimenting with this recipe.  My aim was to get a dish that felt like you were eating the original and still had heaps of complex flavours.  The fact that my carnivorous husband loves it means it must be a success. This is a good recipe for doing in bulk and freezing for later.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 stick of celery, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp star anise powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 x 400g can of tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g can of lentils
  • 1 x 400g can of chick peas
  • 1 x 400g can of black or red beans
  • 400g mushrooms
  • 4 tbsp Kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup Barbecue sauce (optional)
  • 100g pecans, finely diced
Method
  1. Cook the carrot, onion, celery and garlic in a large frypan until soft.
  2. Add the tomato paste, star anise, cumin and paprika and cook off for a few minutes.
  3. Add the red wine and tomatoes then let it simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Put the mushrooms in a food processor until diced. You want to keep a bit of texture. Do the same with the chick peas.
  5. Put mushrooms, lentils, beans and chickpeas in a large stockpot or slow cooker.  Pour in the tomato and red wine mixture and combine.  Allow this to sit on low heat for at least an hour.  If the mixture gets too dry, add more red wine or vegetable stock.
  6. Add the kecap manis (or dark soy sauce) and balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste. If you want a smokey flavour add the barbecue sauce.
  7. Stir in the pecans just before you serve for added texture.
  8. Serve with the pasta of your choice and parmesan cheese.

 

Vegan carrot and lemon cupcakes

“Once a month we have “Cake-day” at the QLD Symphony Orchestra.  It’s an opportunity for us all to gather for morning tea and try a lavish selection of baked delicacies by our industrious members.  I’ve taken on the role to provide cakes for the vegan members of the orchestra, so I’m always looking for new recipes that taste just as good as their non-vegan versions.  Sometimes it takes a few tries to get the recipe up to the standard I want but some are so delicious on the first attempt that I don’t need to change anything.  For this recipe I found a basic vegan cupcake recipe and changed it into this zingy little number with the addition of carrots, currents and walnuts.  Enjoy!”

You can find the video on my Musical Menus YouTube page.

https://youtu.be/Kjb4nhnIYbw

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup soy or almond milk
  • 2 bananas
  • Juice and rind from 2 lemons
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 cup currents
  • 3 cups self raising flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the glaze

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • Juice and rind from 1 lemon
Method
  1. Place coconut oil, soy or almond milk, bananas and lemon juice and rind in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Mix together the grated carrot, currents, flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and mixed spice.
  3. Add the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  4. Line 2 cupcake tins (makes about 20) with cupcake papers and fill 2/3 full with the mixture.  Sprinkle the walnuts on top.
  5. Bake in a 180 degree celsius oven for 20 minutes.
  6. While the cupcakes cool, mix the icing sugar with the lemon juice and rind until smooth.  Top each cupcake with a small wedge of lemon, then using a teaspoon drizzle with the glaze.
  7. Eat as many as you like!