Fast and easy baking

I don’t eat cakes (just don’t have a sweet tooth) but I do enjoy making them.  Recently I’ve been making cakes and taking them to the yoga studio to share with the lovely teachers there.  It’s a win, win for all – they love the cakes and I get pleasure making them.

This berry and banana loaf is a fabulously easy cake to make – no butter to beat, no appliances to wash.  Just one bowl.  And perfect for those leftover bananas that look too ripe to eat but stay in the fruit bowl.

Berry and banana loaf

  • 1 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar (I use coconut sugar)
  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 1 banana, mashed

Preheat oven to 160c.  Grease and line a loaf tin (22 x 8 cm) with baking paper.

Place the yoghurt, oil, eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Sift flour and add to the mixture, stirring until just combined.  Fold through the banana and berries.

Spoon mixture into the lined tin and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  To test, insert a skewer into the middle.  If it comes out clean, it’s ready.  I also find that when the cake starts to shrink away form the edges of the tin, it’s usually done.

Dust with icing sugar before serving.




Never too old for birthday cake

One of the best things about birthdays is celebrating them. I used to work with a great bunch of women – all of a certain age – and birthdays were always celebrated with some style. A cake would be brought in – some rather wonderful creation, wether  home made or purchased from a fabulous bakery. Morning tea served with appropriate ceremony: plates and napkins, tea and coffee pots, flowers and candles on the cake. We always made time for this little ritual irrespective of how busy or frantic our day was. And of course there was a present. Great thought would be put into this gift – invariably something somewhat indulgent. All unnecessary but very much appreciated. It marked a sense of occasion.

This year, having moved from Sydney I found myself having no-one to play with on my birthday and no celebratory feasts organised and realised how much I missed the birthday cake, the bestowing of warm wishes and gifts. It doesn’t matter how old you are or even if you don’t (generally) eat cake. The birthday cake is always a treat and a gesture of friendship and love.

So having missed out on cake (and presents) I decided to treat myself and make my own birthday cake: apple and blueberry with ground almonds and a sticky flaked almond topping. It ticks all the boxes – even the (almost) healthy one.
It’s easy to make and is quite a stunning looking cake. Just right for someone’s birthday.
Apple Blueberry cake
Apple blueberry and almond cake
125g butter, softened
125g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
100g (3/4 cup) self-raising flour
50ml milk
125g ground almonds
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 punnet (125g) blueberries

125g butter, melted
2 eggs
125g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
50g flaked almonds

Preheat oven to 180C.  Grease the base of a 20cm spring-form cake tin.  Beat butter, sugar and vanilla extract until fluffy then gradually beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add a little sifted flour if the mixture looks as if it might separate.  Lightly fold in remaining flour, milk and half the almonds until combined.  Spread into the base of the cake tin.  Sprinkle with remaining ground almonds then top with apples and blueberries.

To make topping, put melted butter in a bowl and whisk in eggs, sugar and cinnamon. Pour over cake.  Sprinkle with flaked almonds.  Bake for about 60 minutes; when ready it should be firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean.  Cool completely in the tin before turning out.  Dust with  little icing sugar to serve.