Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Let Them Eat (a little) Cake

Last night I lay in my bed tossing and turning, making origami out of my sheets and doing a rather impressive impersonation of an egg beater. 
The reason for my turmoil - cake.
Layers of sponge; chocolate, vanilla, orange, cardamom, coffee studded with walnuts....
Luscious whippings of butter cream frosting, Italian meringue, whipped cream and jam, cream cheese, citrus glaze....
Endless combinations of flavours and textures danced through my mind; a parade of baked creations each more enticing than the one before.
I didn't need Jung, Freud or Hall to psychoanalyse these nocturnal visions I knew exactly what I needed to do.
Get in the kitchen amongst the flour and the butter, sprinkle some sugar, beat some eggs, pour the batter, bake away and let them eat cake!

I was lucky to steal some hours today where the kitchen was my own kingdom and my wooden spoon was my magic wand. My fairy dust - poppy seeds. My magic pumpkins - mandarins.
My creation - mandarin poppy seed mini cakes with mandarin butter cream frosting.

Mandarin Poppy Seed Mini Cakes with Mandarin Butter Cream Frosting
This recipe makes four mini cakes in a 12 x 1 cup capacity pan (like this one). You could use a large capacity muffin pan instead if you prefer.

95 grams self raising flour
30g ground almonds
20g poppy seeds
90g butter
80g caster sugar
40g orange or apricot jam
2 teaspoons finely grated mandarin rind
40 ml mandarin juice
1 egg and 1 egg white


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and lightly oil four spaces in a 12 x 1 cup capacity pan.
  2. Sift flour into a large bowl and add almonds and poppy seeds and combine.
  3. In a medium saucepan melt together butter, sugar, jam, rind and juice. Stir constantly until smooth.
  4. Add butter mixture to the flour mix and stir with a whisk.
  5. Add egg and egg white and whisk until smooth and combined.
  6. Divide mixture amongst prepared spaces and slide into the oven.
  7. Bake for about 15 - 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minute before turning out to cool completely.

Mandarin Butter Cream Frosting

1/2 cup butter softened
2 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon mandarin rind
3 teaspoons mandarin 

  1. Beat butter and zest with a handheld electric mixer until smooth and glossy
  2. Add icing sugar and juice and beat on medium until pale and fluffy
  3. Refrigerate for about 5 minutes and then spoon into a piping bag.

Putting it all together
Use a serrated edge knife to split cakes in half horizontally once cool.
Pipe about a tablespoon and a half of butter cream into the cut middle of the cake.
Place other half of cake on top and then decorate the top with the remaining butter cream.

There were just enough cakes for my family to enjoy one each. Judging from the silence, punctuated only by the scraping of cake forks on porcelain plates, they taste pretty good.
Smiles of sugary satisfaction are worthy of a sleepless cake dream filled night.

My world today was a mix of different flavours:

Cardamom pistachio sugar and Viennese Christmas sugar purchased in Melbourne.

Cardamom Pistachio Sugar
Delicious sprinkled on:

Oats with raisins, cardamom and a dollop of natural yoghurt.
Snack from my garden:
Garlic chives with avocado on corn thins
A gift for my friends at work:
Vanilla and sea salt cake with vanilla syrup
I wonder where my dreams will take me tonight....

An epilogue to this piece.
I must take a moment to make a special mention of my friend Matt (also Casey's boyfriend) who is always supportive of baked goods, loves mandarins as much as I do, gives awesome hugs and reads my blog every day. I can't wait to see you and Casey for family dinner some time very soon.

1 comment:

  1. i love the speckled poppy-seeds throughout the cupcakes. they are gorgeous! what an amazing creation on your part ;)

    and cardamom pistachio sugar? it doesn't get more amazing than that!