Mini Banana Cakes with lemon cream cheese icing

IMG_1468I have been making this banana cake recipe for years, and before I was making it my mum was. Not sure where she got this recipe, but it’s a winner :-).


There is something quite nostalgic when you make a recipe that you grew up eating as a child, it invokes memories and feelings, it’s what we call comfort food.


This banana cake is moist and soft the only important thing in making this recipe is make sure you have very ripe bananas, the riper the better.



RECIPE for Banana cake:

  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 165g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 260g Self Raising Flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp bi-carbonate soda
  • 2 Tsp milk


  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
  3. Add eggs 1 at a time beating well between each addition
  4. Mash bananas, then beat in with vanilla
  5. Fold in half the sifted flour and bicarbonate soda, add milk, then fold in remaining flour. (try not to work batter too much at this will make for a tough cake, as you over work the gluten in the flour)
  6. place batter into prepared cake pan(s) (I used mini loaf tins, but you can one big cake or cupcakes or 1 large loaf cake)
  7. bake in oven until skewer comes out clean when inserted into centre, (cooking times will vary depending on the size of your cake, the bigger the cake the longer it will take. My mini loaf cakes took about 20-25 minutes)

RECIPE lemon cream cheese icing:

  • 250g cream cheese, softened
  • 80g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups pure icing sugar, sifted
  • Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated


  1. Cream butter and cream cheese together until soft and smooth
  2. add icing sugar and lemon zest, mix to combine
  3. spread generously on top of banana cake(s) and decorate as desired

Orange and Cardamom Syrup Cake


A moist sweet cake bursting with citrus flavour and the undertones of the exotic cardamon spice.


There is no arguing the natural marriage of these two flavours, a match made in heaven…..

Dress this cake with sweet fresh strawberries covered in the orange and cardamon syrup.


Cut a generous slice and serve with vanilla cream. Mmmmmmm dessert time.


This recipe is adapted from the cookbook; Delicious, Simply the best by Valli Little


  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 220g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 50g plain flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • finely grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
  • 250g fine semolina
  • 250g almond meal, pushed through a course sieve
  • 120g this Greek-style yoghurt
  • 250g punnet strawberries, halved or quartered


  • finely grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
  • 6 cardamon pods bruised
  • 2 cinnamon quills
  • 275g caster sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 170ºC and Grease a 23cm round springform pan, line the base with baking paper and lightly dust sides with flour, shaking off any excess
  2. Beat butter and sugar until thick and pale, add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition
  3. Fold in the flour and baking powder, followed by the orange zest, almond meal and semolina
  4. Add orange juice and yoghurt and stir until combined
  5. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour or until skewer comes out clean when inserted into centre
  6. cool n pan for 5 minutes
  7. Meanwhile, for syrup, place all ingredients in a saucepan with 375ml water
  8. Stir over low heat to dissolve the sugar, then simmer for 15-20 minutes until slightly thickened
  9. Prick surface of the warm cake all over with a skewer, slowly drizzle over half the syrup, then allow to cool
  10. Toss strawberries in remaining syrup, then drizzle over cake

Lemon Curd Cupcakes



There you have it, these descriptive nine words sum up these SCRUMPTIOUS (now make that 10 words :-)) Lemon Curd Cupcakes.


I made lemon curd using this recipe (here) from POPSUGAR Food. To make these cupcakes you only need to make a half batch of this lemon curd recipe, or you could make the whole batch like I did and make this Lemon Curd and Strawberry Pavlova , with the left over lemon  curd, trust me its worth it :-).


RECIPE CREAM CHEESE LEMON CUPCAKES:  (Recipe converted and adapted from POPSUGAR)

  • 225g Plain flour, sifted
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 285g caster sugar
  • 125g cream cheese, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Lemon curd


  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC and line two cupcake pans with cupcake liners.
  2. Whisk together the flour, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. In a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar, until fluffy and lightened in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the cream cheese and beat until completely incorporated.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until no streaks of yolk remain. Add the lemon juice and vanilla, and mix until incorporated.
  5. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula between additions. Mix together until just combined.
  6. Divide the batter among the cupcake molds, filling each mold about 3/4 full.
  7. Bake for 24-28 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into one of the cupcakes comes out clean.
  8. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then move to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before filling with lemon curd.
  9. Using a watermelon baller scoop out a round in the centre of each cupcake.
  10. Sift powdered sugar over the tops of the cupcakes using a fine mesh strainer.
  11. Pipe the lemon curd into the cupcakes until it’s flush with the tops of the cupcakes.

Lemon curd and Strawberry Pavlova


So I made some lemony deliciousness the other day, that deliciousness being lemon curd. I made the lemon curd to fill some sweet little cupcakes, (recipe for lemon curd cupcakes coming soon).

So having made lemon curd I had quite a few left over egg whites,  and the first thing that came to mind was Pavlova. I love Pavlova it’s one of my favourite desserts, sweet but at the same time light. Its topped with yummy fresh fruit so it almost makes it healthy WELL ALMOST :-).


I also had left over lemon curd, so a lemon curd and strawberry pavlova it was to be, plus I added some mascarpone cream, whats a pavlova without cream right!!!!!!



  • 2 whole eggs plus 8 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 6 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature


  1. Add the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice to a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together to combine.
  2. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until it has jelled up slightly and coats the back of a spoon.
  3. Take the pot off of the heat and add the butter cubes one at a time, whisking until they have melted completely.
  4. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into whatever container you plan to store it in, and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd so that it doesn’t form a skin. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Makes about 2 cups.

PAVLOVA RECIPE: (Recipe from Donna Hay)

  • 150ml eggwhite (approximately 4 eggs)
  • 1 cup (220g) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch), sifted
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F). Place the eggwhite in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, whisking well, until the mixture is stiff and glossy.
  2. Add the cornflour and vinegar and whisk until just combined.
  3. Shape the mixture into an 18cm round on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Reduce oven to 120°C (250°F) and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven.


  • 300ml pure cream
  • 250ml mascarpone cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. combine all ingredients into a bowl , using whisk attachment whisk cream until soft peaks form.

To put Pavlova  together spread mascarpone cream on top, then spread on a layer of lemon curd, then dress with chopped strawberries.

Little Custard Tarts


So it has been awhile since my last post…………. busy busy busy studying.

But alas I have made some time to bake, albeit that my floors are still dirty, oh well they will still be there tomorrow unfortunately………. it would be so nice if the cleaning fairies came to visit me tonight…(yeah yeah I know I’m dreaming!) Any how this post is not about my lack of time and dirty floors it is about these amazing little custard tarts I made and yes I know I may be bias as made them but truly they are amazing 🙂


I have been studying pastry at tafe this week; puff, short, choux and sweet so with pastry fresh on my mind I though custard tarts would be a yummy sweet treat.

These yummy custard tarts can be made with both puff or sweet pastry, the puff pastry making them more of a Portuguese custard tart. You can also make one large tart or little ones I made mine in a muffin tin.


The custard  is quite flexible as well as you can use just milk or just cream or a combination of milk and cream in what ever ratio you like, just knowing that the cream will make your custard much richer. I used 300g of cream and 100g of milk. You can also play around with the sugar making your custard to suit. So have a play around with the ratios and see what works best for you.




  • 190g caster sugar
  • 300g butter
  • 2.5g salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 225g bakers flour
  • 225g cake flour or plain flour


  1. Mix sugar, salt and butter until well blended but not creamed
  2. Add eggs one at a time mixing well between each addition
  3. Add the sifted flours and mix until dough forms
  4. Knead lightly together on bench, shape into a a oblong shape and place in fridge to rest


  • 3 egg yolks
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 2 Tsp cornflour
  • 300g cream
  • 100g milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean spilt in 2 and seeds scraped out


  1. place egg yolks, sugar and cornflour into a bowl and whisk together till smooth
  2. place cream, milk and vanilla into a saucepan and bring to the bowl
  3. slowly pour boiling milk/cream into egg mixture making sure that you are stirring continuously
  4. pour mixture back into saucepan over medium heat stirring continuously until custard boils and thickens
  5. pour custard into a bowl , cover with plastic wrap pushing down onto the top of the custard to prevent a skin from forming and allow to cool
  • Preheat oven to 200º C
  • roll out pastry to 2-3mm thick using a circle cutter cut out circles the appropriate size to fit your muffin tin
  • lightly grease muffin tin and line with the pastry circles making sure to press out all the air from the edges
  • fill with the cooled custard and bake until pastry is golden and custard has set

Baking Bread on the Weber

IMG_1413 IMG_1412

So it’s been a few weeks since my last blog post…… It really hasn’t been my intention but going into full time study and being a mum, a wife etc etc etc has kept me very busy. But alas all the stars have aligned and I have had a free weekend.


well almost all the stars anyway………. I am oven-less, I know right OMG NO OVEN, to me thats like having no arms 😦 . MY oven door has broken and hubby is waiting on the parts to arrive…….. waiting waiting waiting.


So this weekend I decided to improvise and I fired up the Weber to bake some bread. So for my first time baking bread in the Weber I must say I am very pleased.



Candied orange Shortbread


I definitely cannot claim this recipe as my own, in fact I rarely can, I am the recipe “High-jacker”……….Now I do like to take a recipe and tweak it to make it my own… But this recipe needed no tweaking it is perfect just as it is, and why mess with perfect?


These delicious orange shortbreads are straight out of the latest issue of Gourmet Traveller Magazine, in fact they are on the front cover, and they enticed me as soon as I picked up the magazine. Sweet crumbly shortbread gently flavoured with orange and for a little texture some roasted pistachios YUM YUM YUM oh and lets not forget a little splash of Grand Marnier just to make these shortbread really special.





  • 40g pistachios
  • 220g butter, softened
  • 375g pure icing sugar, sieved
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) orange juice appox 2 oranges
  • 30ml Grand Marnier
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 330g plain flour
  • 40g candied orange, diced


  1. preheat oven to 180ºC
  2. spread pistachios onto a baking tray and roast until just golden, set aside to cool, then coarsely chop
  3. beat butter, 75g icing sugar and half the zest in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy
  4. combine orange juice and Grand Marnier set aside
  5. add egg yolk to butter mixture and beat until combined, then mix in half the orange juice mixture
  6. add flour, candied orange, pistachios and a pinch of salt, beat until mixture just comes together, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a flat disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (1 hour)
  7. roll out shortbread on a lightly floured surface to 1cm thick and cut out 6.5cm- diameter rounds
  8. place onto lined baking trays and bake until pale golden on the edges 15-20 minutes (swapping trays halfway through cooking)
  9. cool on trays for 5 minutes then sprinkle with remaining orange juice mixture
  10. combine remaining icing sugar and orange zest, then shake through a course sieve over shortbread, dust heavily

Hamburger cake and biscuit fries


Well another week has been gone by, time goes so quickly……

This week it was my youngest son Alex’s 9th birthday, I can’t believe my baby has turned 9. So exciting to watch them grow, but I wish I could slow it down just a little!!!!!! I remember when I had my first son Aden and so many people said to me, enjoy every second because it will be gone before you know it, man they weren’t kidding……………..


So of course birthday means, birthday cake. I love making the kids birthday cakes some years they pick what they want and other years I surprise them. This year it was a surprise for Alex, one of Alex’s favourite foods is hamburgers, and I have seen some great hamburger cakes on the internet, So it was a hamburger cake and biscuit fries for Alex this year.


The look on his face when he saw his cake was priceless, that look alone was enough for all the hours I spent baking and decorating. Big eyes, a big smile and a big hug what else could a mum possibly ask for.



I didn’t really follow a recipe to create this cake, I basically made two butter cakes and one chocolate cake, the chocolate cake being for the meat patty. I used plastic icing, red for the tomatoes cut into circles and yellow for the cheese, cut into squares. For the lettuce I used butter cream coloured green, which I piped on. I then covered the butter cake in a light brown icing to make the burger roll I had two shades of the brown butter cream to add some depth. once iced I sprinkled with sesame seeds.

To make the biscuit fries, I made a simple short bread which I rolled out into squares and then scored in some straight lines the width I wanted my fries to be. I brushed with egg white and sprinkled with raw sugar, then baked. Once cooled I cut along the score lines to create my fries.

Roast pumpkin and goats curd tart


It has been a busy week. I have just finished my first week at tafe, for those of you who don’t know I am doing a certificate III in patisserie. A very big change going from a full-time stay at home mum for the last 14 years to a now full-time student, but I am loving it 🙂 this week we put our attention to pastry, puff, short, and sweet. I know sounds basic and pastry making is if you follow a few simple rules, but there is still so much to learn. I learnt how the gluten works, the best ways to roll the dough to prevent shrinkage, the different functions of different flours and so much more.


Since I have been learning about pastry, I have taken home my new knowledge and made a rough puff pastry for the base of this delicious Roast pumpkin and goats curd tart. I found this delicious recipe in my Gourmet traveller annual cookbook from 2012, and having bought 3 gorgeous butternut pumpkins straight from the farmer on the way home from Canberra, this delicious tart just had to be made :-).


There is a little bit of work involved in making the pastry but it is most definitely worth it. You can make the pastry well ahead of time, as it will keep well in the fridge for a good week or more, or alternatively you can freeze it for up to 3months.

This tart is delicious for dinner, and works perfectly as a packed lunch, hell its even great for a snack.



  • 750g pumpkin
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 6 thyme sprigs, plus extra to serve
  • 150 goats curd, coursely crumbled
  •  40g butter
  • 3 leeks, white part only thinly sliced
  • 150 dry white wine
  • 1 egg lightly beaten , for egg wash

Parmesan rough puff pastry

  • 225g plain flour
  • 40g finely grated parmesan
  • 1 Tsp thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 225g butter, coarsely chopped


  1. for the pastry, sift flour and a pinch of salt onto a work surface, add parmesan, thyme and fennel seeds, mix to combine
  2. add butter, cutting it through with a pastry scraper, until mixture resembles very coarse crumbs
  3. make a well in centre, add 100ml cold water and mix with pastry scraper until dough just comes together form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest about 20 minutes
  4. roll onto a lightly floured surface to a 1.5cm-thick rectangle, fold shortest ends together to meet in centre, then fold in half again to form a book fold.
  5. wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerate (20 minutes) to rest, then repeat twice. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until required
  6. meanwhile, preheat oven to 180ºC
  7. scatter pumpkin in a single layer on an oven tray lined with baking paper, drizzle with olive oil, scatter with thyme leaves, season to taste and roast until just tender (30-35 minutes) set aside to cool
  8. heat butter in a large frying pan over medium heat, add leek, stir occasionally until tender (10-12 minutes)
  9. add wine, stir occasionally until evaporated, season to taste, set aside to cool
  10. roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thick
  11. cut a 25cm diameter circle, place on an oven tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate to rest (30minutes) \score a 1cm border halfway through the pastry, prick inside border with a fork
  12. spread leek mixture onto pastry leaving the 1cm border clear, scatter with pumpkin, crumble over goats curd, season to taste
  13. roll edges slightly to contain filing,brush with egg wash and bake until golden and cooked through (25-30 minutes),cool scatter with extra thyme and serve with a bitter leaf salad

Cabbage Rolls (Golabki) and a family reunion


I have just recently made contact with my Nanna after 27 years, the last time I saw her I was 10 years old…..I know a long long time. Seeing my Nanna after so many years was both exciting and nerve racking, so many emotions rushing through me. Hubby and kids came with me, I proudly got to introduce her to her great grandchildren and my fabulous hubby, so many years of lost contact, but still we are family, and there is something very special about family. Family is something you belong to, part of who you are, where you have come from and it gives you a sense of worth. It is nice to know you belong somewhere, are a part of something.


My Nanna is an immigrant from Germany and she told us her story of coming to Australia with my Pop who sadly passed away 5 years ago. She told us some lovely stories, one I especially loved was about her and my pop (who is Polish) meeting  during the war, a real love story. She is a sweet, lovely, kind strong and independent woman and at the amazing age of 90 still living on her own.

I have some early childhood memories of my Nanna, I remember Mum taking my sister and I to her cute little cottage to see her and Pop. Every time we visited my Nanna would always make Cabbage rolls, potato salad and cucumber salad, I loved it and it was one of my favourite meals and nobody could make it like Nanna.IMG_1350

After seeing my Nanna I of course had to make Cabbage Rolls, now unfortunately I do not have her recipe, and although it was not exactly the same it was still delicious.

I find it amazing how foods, tastes and smells can bring back memories and feelings. When I was eating this meal if I closed my eyes I could see myself sitting at her kitchen table, I could hear the chatter between my mum and Nanna, the chickens clucking outside, I can see my pop in his overalls sitting opposite me calling me his little munchkin. Nice memories they bring a smile to my face and warm my heart.


So having shared all this with I will now share my cabbage rolls, which I have adapted from several different recipes on the internet.


  • 1 large savoy cabbage
  • 1/4 cup rice
  • 1 Tsp oil
  • 11/2 Tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 250g pork mince
  • 250g beef mince
  • 1 bottle passata
  • 1 tsp hot paprika (optional)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed


  1. bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil over medium high heat
  2. add cabbage and simmer for 5 minutes, then turn cabbage over and simmer for another 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes, using a slotted spoon carefully remove cabbage from saucepan and let cool
  3. heat oil in fry pan over medium-low heat gently sauté onion, once onion is soft add garlic,sauté for 1-2 minutes
  4. add paprika, thyme, rice, pork and beef mince ,using a wooden spoon breaking up the lumps as you go cook until mince is brown
  5. season to taste with salt and pepper
  6. gently remove leaves from the cabbage
  7. place 1 leaf on work bench, using a sharp knife remove the thickest part of the stem
  8. place 1-2 Tsp of mince mixture onto cabbage leaf, fold in ends and roll up firmly to enclose filling, repeat with remaining leaves
  9. heat oil in a large saucepan add garlic and paprikas and sauté for 1-2 minutes
  10. add passata, stir to combine and season to taste
  11. gently place cabbage rolls in sauce seam side down, cover with lid and simmer gently for 40 minutes, checking occasionally making sure sauce is not sticking