Category Archives: fruit

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.

Poached pears in red wine


So as promised here is the poached pears in red wine recipe that I mentioned in my post Mascarpone and cinnamon ice-cream.


I would love to say that this is my recipe, but it came from a great food blog I follow night quite Nigella. This dessert is De-lish, rich syrupy spiced red wine covering soft but not too soft beurre bosc pears, the ideal pear variety for poaching.


The Mascarpone and cinnamon ice-cream match these pears beautifully, carrying through with the cinnamon, and the ice-cream being subtle enough not to take away the star of this desert that is the poached pear.


Make sure that you use a good quality wine what’s that saying “if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it” (or something along those lines). I really think that analogy is really important in this recipe as the wine really is the main flavour ingredient, and then whats left in the bottle well you may as well drink that, then maybe open up another bottle :-). Nothing like a good full bodied red wine to warm the soul in winter :-).




  • 5 large beurre bosc , firm
  • 2.5 cups red wine
  • 1 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 inch piece of mandarin or orange peel or zest
  • 2 inch piece of lemon zest


1. Place the red wine, sugar, cinnamon stick and zests onto the heat to boil in a pot that fits all of the pears snugly upright. Meanwhile peel the pears well making sure that you get all of the skin off (the skin that remains won’t colour). By the time you’ve finished peeling, your wine should be boiling. Add the pears and cook turning three or four times for 25 minutes  (check as it also depends on how big your pears are). Remove the pears as soon as they are done to prevent further cooking (you don’t want them to become too soft).

2. Taste the syrup and if you want it thicker, then put it back on the boil and reduce until syrupy-anywhere from 5-12 minutes.

Lemon and raspberry madeleines


The other night I was channel surfing and I came across this great cooking show, Little Paris Kitchen.  In this show Rachel Khoo cooks classic but simple French dishes in her tiny kitchen. On this particular episode  Rachel was making Madeleines.


I have seen madeleines on many occasions at many different cafes and coffee shops but I have to be honest they never really appealed to me. Well I must say that all changed after watching Rachel cook them, hers looked delicious especially with the addition of a raspberry in each one.


So off to the shops I headed the next day and brought myself a madeleine tin. These dainty shell shaped cakes are so easy to make and are delicious, so soft and light in texture. I love the zestyness of the lemon in them and the delicious raspberry when you get to the middle. I am usually very controlled when I eat cake and sweets and just have a small serve, but with these  dainty little gems I just couldn’t stop at one, my only regret is that it has taken me so many years to make these sweet little cakes.



  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • zest 1 lemon, finely grated
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 60g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 12 raspberries
  • icing sugar, to dust


  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC and grease a madeleine tin
  2. Place eggs, sugar, lemon zest into a bowl using electric mixer, mix until pale, thick and doubled in volume
  3. Gently fold in flour, baking powder and butter using a metal spoon
  4. Place tablespoons of mixture into prepared madeleine moulds, pressing a raspberry into the centre
  5. Bake in oven 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden and cake springs back when pushed in centre
  6. Cool slightly before removing from moulds, cool on wire rack and lightly dust with icing sugar

Raspberry and apple muffins


I have been making muffins lately to put into the kids and hubbys lunch boxes for school and work , and they are really enjoying them. I particularly like the base recipe I have been using as it only has a little sugar, 70g which I think is great, the sweetness comes from the fruit that I put into the muffins.



I can put these muffins into the kids lunch boxes knowing that they are getting a yummy energy boosting snack, without all those horrible numbers and long words…..also mummy gets to have a clear conscience. I don’t know about you other mums and dads out there but I always suffer a terrible guilt trip when I allow my children to eat processed food. I am a big believer in fresh, local and natural ingriedents and of course homemade when I can.

My youngest son Alex said in the car the other night “can I take some food to share at Drama when its my birthday”, sure  says Daddy “what would you like to take” his reply was simple “something made by mum”. I loved it I’m trying to raise my children to understand and appreciate good food and where it comes from, and I think this simple statement said I’m doing something right.



  • 195g plain flour
  • 30g hazelnut meal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 100g melted butter
  • 70g vanilla sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 125ml milk
  • 110g raspberries ( fresh or frozen)
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and diced into small cubes


  1. Preheat oven to 190ºC
  2. combine sifted flour, hazelnut meal, baking powder, bicarbonate soda, salt and sugar into a bowl
  3. add fruit and stir to combine, make a well in the centre
  4. in a separate bowl whisk together egg, milk and butter
  5. pour milk mixture in the centre of flour mix and stir until just combined
  6. spoon into prepared muffin tins
  7. bake for 15-20 minutes or until skewer comes out clean when inserted in centre