Orange and Lemon Polenta Poppy Seed Cake

I am supposed to be sleeping, getting ready for a long flight to Hawaii in the morning.

But no, I cannot leave on holiday without first getting my affairs in order (ie posting for both of my blogs).

I made this cake last week with my excellent cousin Georgia. We were lacking in a car to drive places and we both kinda felt like cake.

For Mum's birthday Jack and I bought her the new Ripe Deli book

Ripe Recipes: A fresh batch.

Boy is it a great book! I have photocopied what seems to be every second page.

Amongst the wonderful recipes in this book was a recipe for gluten free orange and lemon polenta loaves.

They looked so moist and excellent in the picture. We had polenta, and ground almonds and plenty of oranges and lemons! The only thing we didn't have were the two loaf tins required. So we decided to turn this into a cake. And a large cake at that.

We used a 23cm round tin with decently high sides. The cake rose right to the very top! It was seriously the tallest single layer cake I had ever seen. It was really impressive looking. The high fat content also ensured the cake's easy removal from the tin. Overall making this cake was almost as much of a dream as that heart shaped feijoa cake a few weeks back.

This recipe was supposed to have chia seeds in it. We used poppy seeds instead. Sure they don't have all the super nutrients that chia seeds supposedly have but they give the same speckled effect.

Polenta comes from very finely ground corn, hence why this cake is gluten free (provided you use maize corn flour and gf baking power). The polenta lends quite a corny taste to this cake as well as a soft gritty texture. It is interesting and strangely addictive. The moistness of this cake is to die for. Make sure you put plenty of zest lemon icing on the top as well! We were too impatient to munch on cake while watching a movie so the warm cake caused the icing to dribble everywhere but really at the end of the day who cares?

We found the method of this cake really really weird. You have to boil the oranges and lemon for ten minutes then whizz them up in the blender to a pulp. Then this all gets added to the cake. Adding to the moistness I suppose.

Are you uncomfortable with the number of times I have said moist in this post so far?


Orange and Lemon Polenta Cake with Poppy Seeds

Makes one very tall 23cm cake

2 oranges, topped and tailed so that they can stand without rolling around in the saucepan.

1 lemon, topped and tailed

1 1/4 (210g) cup finely ground polenta

1/4 cup (35g) cornflour

1 cup (100g) ground almonds

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 tablespoons poppy (or chia) seeds

250g butter, softened

2 cups (440g) castor sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

6 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees on bake.

In a medium sized saucepan, place the oranges and lemon and then pour in boiling water until it reaches two thirds of the way up the fruit. Boil for five minutes, flip over the fruit then boil for another five. Remove from the water and set aside to cool a little.

Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time until the incorporated and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, mix together the polenta, almonds, corn flour, baking powder and poppy seeds.

In a blender or small food processor, blend the oranges and lemon to a smooth pulp.

Add a cup of the dry polenta mix and a few dollops of the pureed fruit mix to the butter-sugar-egg mix and mix until incorporated. Continue adding the polenta and puree alternately until it has all been mixed in.

Pour the mixture into a large, tall, lined and greased cake tin.

Bake for an hour then cover the tin with tin foil and bake for a further 30-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool before removing from the tin.

Once fully cool ice with a lemon glaze:

25g melted butter

2 cups icing sugar

juice of 1 lemon


Banana and Feijoa Cake

This cake uses probably the best cake tin I have ever experienced. I only made this cake because of this tin. I didn't care for the cake itself, I just wanted to try this baby out.

Linda at work scored the bargain of the year at the recycling shop. It was this old, massive heart shaped cake tin and she got it for a song! (ie $1!!!) Yes one dollar. I am so jealous. It is the sturdiest tin I have ever seen and looks like it has been through a war or two. It would make an excellent fruit cake. So generously she offered to let me borrow it so the next day at work I walked home with this beautiful baby in my arms (quite literally my arms were wrapped around it in a caring an loving manner).

Re-wind back to last Sunday.

My love of baking was gone. I feared I would never bake a cake again. At least never for another boy again! My secret ingredient in all my baking is love and all that was left of my love supply was a few measly stale crumbs at the bottom of the barrel (yes I usually have quite a lot of love hence the massive but empty barrel). I think what I was most annoyed about was the amount of butter I wasted on him. So annoyed! Do you know how much that stuff is going for these days?

On Wednesday I met up with my friend Evan for coffee and he reassured me that not all boys are as dumb as what I had been believing at the time. Anyway, long story short my frown had been turned upside down and I bounced back to the lab and proceeded to have an excellent day (despite being up to my elbows in a very foul smelling milk experiment).

To say thank you for this restoration of faith and to celebrate my renewed stash of baking-grade love I decided to bake a cake.

Well it turned out to be nine cakes.

Nine small cakes.

We had debated the merits of the old feijoa (for those who don't know what a feej is, google it). I am not a fan of the feej but Mr Evan is. A compromise was made when it was decided that the best way to eat a feej is in a feijoa and banana cake.

So feijoa and banana cake it was going to be.

I wanted to use a Texan muffin pan to make large but still individually portioned cakes. I made a single banana cake recipe and it managed to fill nine patty cases really rather nicely.

They turned out wonderful. But alas I did not take any photos of them.

It was a shame to waste such a good cake recipe and not share it with you guys so out of duty I decided to make another.

Fast forward to Saturday.

I had this tin. It was marvellous. I needed a good reliable cake that was going to stay moist and luscious.

Enter my friend Lars.

It was a Saturday night, neither of us had anything cool to do so I was like, hey, come over and lets bake a cake then you can take it back to your flat. Win win. I get to blog about a cake and not have to eat it all myself and his flat gets a cake. It was a perfect arrangement. And I have to say he is the best banana and feijoa masher I have ever seen.

This is Lars. Does he not have the most excellent mop of hair ever?

He thought he was fast enough to avoid being snapped. Guts for him.


I had to make a double recipe, just so that it would fill the tin a few centimetres deep!

Basically all you have to do is add a few extra feijoas to the mix and you are good to go. They were really expensive at the supermarket so we only added six to the entire cake. I would suggest at least five good mushy ones for each cake recipe you make (as in I really should have added around 10 feijoas to mine).

The moment this cake came out of the oven was one of the proudest of my cake making life. The top was so flat, it had pulled ever so slightly away from the edges making removing it a dream!

Then we just simply iced it with a light and fluffy vanilla buttercream icing and we were good to go!

If you are doing a really large cake and you double this recipe, reduce the temperature to 170 degrees and increase the bake time to an hour to seventy minutes testing with a clean knife every ten minutes from the fifty minute mark. Cooking time will depend on depth of cake. If the top gets too brown, cover with tin foil and return to the oven.

Banana and Feijoa Cake

a single recipe for a normal 23cm cake

125g butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cup plain flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 small mushy bananas, mashed

5-6 very ripe feijoas, mashed

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line and grease your cake tin.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add in the eggs one at a time and beat until as fluffy and voluminous as it can get. Add in the vanilla and mix.

Mix in your mashed banana and feijoa.

Sift in the flour, baking powder and baking soda and gently mix until just combined but the batter is smooth and there are no flour lumps.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, smooth out and bake for 35 minutes or until a clean knife or skewer comes out clean.

Once the cake has completely cooled, ice with a simple vanilla butter cream.

Cream together 40g softened butter with three cups of icing sugar a teaspoon of vanilla and a wee splash of milk. Beat until fluffy. You can add more milk if its not smooth enough or more icing sugar if you need a bit more icing.

Slap this on the cake and you are now ready to consume! And consume you certainly will as this cake is so moist!


Oh yeah, this cake is great for breakfast too!

Date and Apple Crumble Cake

Hello hello.

I have been feeling as though a chocolate/nutella/peanut butter/brownie/cookie cleanse is in order.

I know, don't shun me! You will forgive me once you have tried out this cake.

Ok so there was me 7pm on a Friday night up to my ears in the most foul smelling, off milk you could ever imagine (yay for honours!) when my good friend Jelley came to visit me in the lab. We decided that since we were both being incredibly antisocial and lame for a Friday night in the prime of our lives that we should probably compensate with ice cream and baking of some sort.

So after stocking up on treats at the shop in the link (we needed snacks to buy snacks) we stopped off at Kmart first to see what new wares I could purchase for $2. After leaving with a new blue spatula, some egg rings (for making crumpets in) and another packet (or two) of M&Ms (hey we needed more snacks for the trip to New World) we set off towards my happy place (aka the supermarket).

There we purchased all the necessary ingredients for an ice cream binge and an almond and apple cake.

I had spied a recipe of Donal Skehan's recipes a month or so ago for a yummy looking cake. However I regret to inform you that it did not work out so well. I feel as though my eggs were a tad on the old side so a lovely smooth batter did not form. It was still delicious. Especially for breakfast the next day when heated in the microwave.

I had not given up on the mighty apple cake though! I had seen a delicious looking cake in Julie Le Clerc's Favourite Cakes book. It had a crumble topping and looked delicious and moist.

Buuut I made some adjustments.

A lot of adjustments now that I think about it.

I added apple slices rather than grated apple.
I added chopped dates rather than sultanas.
I used my Mum's crumble topping rather than the one suggested.
I added like a tonne more spices.
Used a totally different method
Aaand I made it into a rather tall 20cm round tin rather than the large, flat rectangular number as suggested.

So basically it is a totally different cake. Sort of.

I would definitely say use a larger spring form cake tin if you have one. This cake took a good hour and a bit to bake (I kinda lost track of time). This cake was rather tall and so the centre took quite a while to bake at I feel the detriment of the outer portion of cake. If you do end up over cooking your cake, pop a piece in the microwave and pour over some custard or a dollop of cream and all will be rectified!

I actually wish I had custard for this. That would have been amazing.

So let me try and remember what I threw into this cake :)

Apple and Date Crumble Cake
adapted from Julie Le Clerc's Apple Crumble Cake in her book Favourite Cakes

125g butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1 cup dates, chopped
1 cup rolled oats
 apples, peeled, cored and sliced

for the crumble topping (you may need to increase the amount of topping if you use a larger tin)
50g butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup almonds, slivered or flaked, up to you
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 180 on bake.

Line the base of your 20 to 25cm spring form tin (or 17x27 cm brownie tin) with baking paper. Grease the sides if you are using a round tin.

Cover the dates in hot water and leave to soften.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Once light and fluffy add the eggs in one at a time and beat until voluminous and fluffy.

Add in your spices and vanilla. Then gently mix in your sifted flour and baking powder as well as the oats and dates (which have been drained of excess water).

As you mix, slowly add in the milk until a more moist and slightly sloppy batter is formed.

Stir in the apple slices.

Spoon the mixture into the cake in and smooth flat.

Rub together the crumble ingredients with your fingers then sprinkle over the top of the cake.

Bake in the oven until cooked. Haha when this is I do not know. I would say around an hour but I would definitely start testing it at 10 minute intervals (by inserting a skewer - if it comes out clean it is done) to see if it is done after 40 minutes. If you use a bigger tin it will take less time of course. If the crumble starts getting too brown place a sheet of tin foil over the top and return to the oven.

Serve warm with a good dolloping of whipped cream, ice cream or custard! (or all three . . .)


Baby Banana and Caramel Cakes with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Icing

I tried to explain to my parents that baking Jack banana cakes was a sibling bonding activity and that they should appreciate the fact that we don't fight and hate each other and therefore is totally necessary.

They bought it.

 Yuss another baking escapade completed without too much parental hate. Having me in the house is like living in a bakery. You get chubs. There is always cake or something delicious around to munch on. I think they enjoy it when I leave. Wait, there is no 'I think' about it. I know they love to see me hop on that plane to Dunedin where they don't have to see/live with me for months at a time.

Anyway Jack and his friend Will (Hi Will!) were going to the gym together and they needed post gym nutrition. I don't know where they got the idea that banana cake was a good option for post exercise sustenance but regardless, I was going to be the source of this cake.

Ever since receiving my Treats from Little and Friday book for Christmas I have been wanting to try something out.

The problem with this book, whilst it looks beautiful, all the recipes have hideous quantities of ingredients and last time I checked I didn't have my body weight of eggs and chocolate lying around the house. The same with the ground nuts that are required for a few of the cakes. Seriously, who can afford 4 cups of ground hazelnuts for a spot of afternoon treat baking?

The one small cake recipe that wasn't atrociously expensive to make was the mini banana cakes. They used the recipe from the Edmonds cookbook but frilled it up with a few lashing and dashings of cream cheese icing, mascarpone and caramel.

It said it would make 12 small texan muffin pan sized cakes.


It said to use a texas muffin tin that had the sides lined up with baking paper so that the cakes could be made quite tall. I ended up making 6 smallish texas sized ones (I didn't know how far to fill them so a erred on the side of caution) and used some of the left over batter to make 3 small baby bundt ones. The batter definitely wouldn't have made 12 large ones. Awkward.

The next weridity was the amount of mashed banana the recipe required. Your standard banana cake recipe calls for around about 3 ripe bananas.

Haha but not this one.

It called for three CUPS of mashed banana. I mashed up four bananas and that only achieved one and a half cups. Who has eight bananas lying around for SIX wee cakes. I am hoping it was a typo. I only added four bananas worth. You could probably increase this to five bananas and that would make it quite moist but also a wee bit on the dense side.

I don't know about you but I am all into simple methods. Methods that are minimalist on the word front because seriously who can be bothered reading methods when there is cake to be had! The method for these had a crazy number of steps (one of which was to sift the flour into a separate bowl - uuuh extra dishes anyone?). So here I am going to condense all these steps into a more manageable and easy to read format.

The caramel I used was from a tin of condensed milk that I had boiled away (in the sealed tin!) for three hours rather than boiling sugar and cream etc for which you need a candy thermometer (which I don't). I boil up around three tins at a time and then keep them in the cupboard for when we need it.We also didn't happen to have any mascarpone in the fridge so I left that out too.

I think it is cake time.

Individual Banana Cakes with Caramel and Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Icing
Adapted from Treats from and Little and Friday
Makes 8

125g butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 large eggs
5 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons hot milk

Cream cheese icing:
30g butter, softened
50g cream cheese
3 cups icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or one teaspoon vanilla essence)

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees on bake. Line a texas sized muffin tin with baking paper. Cut a circle for the bottom then a long strip around 25cm long and 10cm wide and place that around the edges of the tins. Make sure the strip is long enough to overlap at the ends when in the tin. It will stand up in a tall cylinder but as you place the cake batter into it it will stretch out and line the edges of the tin exactly.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time then continue to beat until fluffy and voluminous.

Beat in the mashed banana.

Dissolve the baking soda in the hot milk.

Gently fold in the milk and sieved flour and baking soda in three equal lots.

Divide the mixture evenly between the tins. If you want really tall cakes then you may only get 6 but the shorter ones may be better if you or your guests aren't very good at tackling huge quantities of sickly sweet food.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool before removing from tins and removing baking paper.

To make the cream cheese icing, cream together all the ingredients until light and fluffy.

To assemble the cakes, cut the cakes in half horizontally. You may need to level the tops of the cakes if they have domed substantially. Spread around two teaspoons of caramel over the base of the cakes then follow with a good dollop of the cream cheese icing. To the top layers, spread over the cream cheese icing followed by a small drop of caramel. Place the top halves onto their matching bottoms. Garnish with a slice or two of banana or some banana chips if you wish.

Enjoy! :)

Lemon Blueberry Sour Cream Cake

Also known as the best summer fruit based cake known to mankind.

Today was one of those crazy baking days where you just seem to make one thing after the other.

Jack and his friend Will wanted banana cake. So I made banana cake.

Then my friend Ashleigh came around with a box full of blueberries. So we made this blueberry cake.

Then I felt like sending Jamal something in Dunedin. So I baked a brownie.

Then before you knew it I was getting everything out to start cooking dinner.

Anyway Back to the blueberry cake.

Ashleigh took a trip to the Coromandel and on her way stopped off in Ngatea to pick some blueberries. I have decided that another trip to Ngatea needs to be made as they were the best blueberries I had ever tasted and better still they were only $9 a kg. Brill!

I saw a recipe in my Julie Le Clerc Favourite Cakes book for a frosted lemon blueberry slab cake. I'm not a fan of slab cakes, they never look as pretty as a nice circle, so we decided to use a 23cm circular tin instead. You don't want too small a tin as the blueberries sink which would leave you with a massive layer of plain cake over the top of the blueberries.

I feel like the blueberries could also be substituted for raspberries if you happened to have those in the fridge. What I think makes this cake great is the lemony tang of the lemon is softened with the delicate flavour of the blueberries.

The sour cream also makes it delicious and moist. The sourness counteracts all the sugar making it less sickly sweet.

Then you add delicious, whipped and luscious lemony icing to the top.

Just make this cake ok. It is so great. I know I say that about a lot of cakes but this is different. It is Summery. It isn't chocolatey and heavy but light, airy and fruity. And since fruit is good for us, especially blueberries, it is basically calorie free.

But as we all know, calories don't even count between December and February.

True story.

Did I mention this was super easy to make?

Ok I'll stop blabbing now and get straight to the important bit.

Lemon Blueberry Sour Cream Cake
Adapted from Julie Le Clerc's Favourite Cakes
Makes a 23cm diameter cake

125g butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
Zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or thawed frozen ones)

Lemon icing:
30g butter, softened
2 cups icing sugar
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees on bake.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs in one at a time, beating well between each addition. Beat until fluffy and voluminous.

Mix in sour cream and lemon zest.

Sieve in the flour and gently fold in until just combined.

Add the blueberries and delicately mix in.

Transfer into a lined cake tin (preferably one with a removable base) and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top turns golden and a skewer comes out clean. I found that the top of the cake browned quickly so to stop over browning I placed a piece of tin foil over the top.

Leave to cool for half an hour before removing from the tin and transferring to a cake rack. Leave to cool completely before icing.

To make the icing, beat all the icing ingredients together until smooth and fluffy. You may need more icing sugar or lemon juice depending on the resultant consistency.

Garnish with strips of lemon zest if you wish.

Enjoy with a nice glass of iced tea (we did!)