passover week 2020 - apple and almond layer cake

2 Apr 2020

Welcome to Day 4 of Passover Week 2020.

I've had this Nigella Lawson apple almond cake recipe bookmarked for ages and it was very well reviewed on her website. This cake is both gluten and dairy free making it perfect for Passover and if served without cream, it's also pareve.

The cake is a light and airy confection made from stewed apples flavoured with lemon, eggs, sugar and almond meal. Many of Nigella's readers separated the eggs; whisking the whites then folding them into the batter. That sounded like a good idea so that's what I did.

Another of the commenter's mentioned that she made the cake into a layer cake for her daughter's birthday. That also sounded like a great idea and with a pot of berry jam to use, I sandwiched the layers together with softly whipped cream and jam.

Originally I was going to decorate the cake with even more whipped cream but in the end I decided all the cake needed was a light dusting of icing sugar.

Here's the recipe for you which make a 17 cm cake or a 16 cm layer cake. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional gas oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Apple and Almond Layer Cake (adapted from Nigella Lawson) – makes a 16 cm layer cake. 

Apple Puree
1-2 Granny Smith apples 
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp caster sugar

Oil or butter to grease the tins
4 large eggs, separated
165g almond meal
135g caster sugar, reserve 1 tbs
3tsp lemon juice

¼ cup flaked almonds
½ cup raspberry jam
1 cup whipped cream
1 teaspoon icing sugar
Fresh raspberries

Peel, core and chop the apples roughly. Place the apples in a microwave proof bowl with the lemon juice and sugar and loosely cover. Microwave on high for 4 minutes or until you can mash the apple to a rough puree with a wooden spoon or fork. You can also stew the apples in a saucepan. (You should have about 143g /generous ½ cup of puree.) Leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and flour two 16cm sandwich tins with butter or oil and potato starch. Line the bases with baking paper. You can also bake this in a 17 cm spring-form tin.

Put the cooled puree into a large bowl. Blitz to a puree using a stick blender. Stir in the egg yolks, almond meal, caster sugar and 3 tsp of lemon juice to make a thick batter. Whip the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until the egg whites have formed stiff peaks. Add the remaining tablespoon of caster sugar and beat until combined. Gently fold the egg whites through the apple puree mixture.

Pour half the mixture into each of the prepared tins and bake for 35-40 minutes for the sandwich tins. If you’re making a single cake then sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top of the cake mixture and bake for 45 minutes. It's worth checking 5 minutes before the suggested time, as ovens do vary. Put the tins onto a wire rack to cool slightly before unmoulding.

When completely cool, remove the lining paper from the cakes and sandwich the cakes with whipped cream and jam. I decorated the top of the cake with a sprinkle of icing sugar, some whipped cream and fresh berries.  If you bake this as a single cake, sift some icing sugar over the top of the cake, just before serving.  

This was devoured so quickly I didn't have a chance to snaffle a piece but I was assured it was delicious.

See you all again tomorrow with the final day of Passover Week 2020.

Bye for now,


passover week 2020 - lemon drizzle friands

1 Apr 2020

Welcome to Day 3 of Passover Week 2020. Well you asked for a passover friand recipe and I delivered.

I did a little research and found many friand recipes that didn't include baking powder. I've only ever made friands with baking powder and it's essential to provide the spring you'll find in a regular friand. Matzo meal and potato flour also absorb more liquid than regular flour so I had to change the proportions in the friand batter quite a little and even then it was still thicker than a regular friand batter. 

I had lemons in the fruit bowl so decided to make a batch of lemon friands. For the first time ever, I found some legitimate kosher for Passover icing sugar so I decided to top the friands with lemon flavoured icing. The friands looked a little lonely without some form of topping so I made a small batch of candied lemon rind. Please don't feel you have to do this, a few strands of freshly grated lemon rind would do the trick. If you do make the lemon rind, it needs cooling and drying time so you may want to make this the day before. 

I wouldn't make these friands without the icing. I think the friands need it for an extra kick of lemon. I took these into work and labelled them 'sturdy lemon friands' because without baking powder they were more dense than a regular friand. I needn't have worried because they disappeared in the blink of an eye and every-one thought they were simply delicious.

Here’s the recipe for you. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20ºC.

Passover lemon friands - makes 12
125g unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing the moulds
75g Passover baking mix (equal quantities superfine matzo meal and potato flour)
Pinch salt
130g almond meal
190g icing sugar, sifted
2 tsp grated lemon rind
180g egg whites or 6 egg whites, slightly whisked

To decorate
Lemon icing/candied lemon rind or grated lemon rind

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter 12 friand moulds or cupcake tins.

Sift the Passover baking mix and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the almond meal, the icing sugar and lemon rind and mix until combined. Stir in the butter and then sufficient egg white to form a loose batter. Spoon the mixture evenly into the moulds, filling them to about three-quarters full. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes are golden brown. You may need to increase the temperature to 200°C for the last 5 minutes to ensure the friands colour nicely.

Leave the cakes to cool in their moulds before unmoulding onto a cooling rack. When completely cold, top with the lemon icing and decorate with some candied lemon rind if desired. They will keep in an airtight container for a few days.

Candied lemon rind
Finely shredded zest 1 lemon, no white pith
¼ cup caster sugar
¼ cup water
Extra caster sugar

Place the lemon rind in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 30 seconds, then drain.

Place the caster sugar and water into a small saucepan. Bring to the boil stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemon rind and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the rind is translucent. Take the saucepan off the heat and allow the rind to cool in the syrup. 

When completely cool, drain the rind trough a sieve. Separate out the strands, roll in the extra caster sugar then allow to dry out on some baking paper. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

½ cup icing sugar, sifted
25g melted unsalted butter
Juice ½ lemon

In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients to form a runny icing. If it thickens you can add a little boiling water. Once the icing has set, the friands will keep for a few days stored in an airtight tin, if they last that long!

See you again tomorrow for Day 4 of Passover Week 2020.

Bye for now,


Passover week 2020 - crushed almond and orange cake

31 Mar 2020

Welcome to Day 2 of Passover Week 2020. Claudia Roden's orange and almond cake has been around for a long time and this cake is a variation of that recipe. I've made the cake twice now using both oil so that it's pareve for Pesach and also using butter. I have to say I preferred the flavour of the cake made with butter so I'm sharing that recipe with you today. 

If you'd like to make the oil version just swap the unsalted butter with 1/2 cup oil neutral flavoured oil. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy before drizzling in the oil, then continuing with the rest of the recipe.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17cm cake or a small loaf. If you'd like to make a 23cm cake then double all the ingredients. The baking time will stay the same. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional gas oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Crushed almond and orange cake
1 large orange 
125 grams unsalted butter, softened
150 grams caster sugar
4 eggs, separated
75 g Passover baking mix (superfine matzo meal and potato starch)
75 g almond meal

1 – 2 tbs apricot jam or marmalade, warmed and thinned with water
Toasted flaked almonds

Prick the orange a few times. Place into a microwave safe bowl with 1 tbs water. Loosely cover the bowl, then microwave on high for 3-4 minutes until the orange is soft. Leave to cool a little then quarter the orange and remove the seeds. Process until smooth in a food processor, then weigh out 150 grams of orange pulp.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease and line the base and sides of a 17cm tin or small loaf tin. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks beating until combined. Combine the Passover baking mix and the almonds in a small bowl then add alternately with the pulp to the egg and sugar mixture.

Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form and carefully fold into the batter. Pour into the prepared tin. Lower the oven temperature to 180°C and bake for an hour or until the cake tests cooked with a skewer. Cool the cake on a rack. When completely cold turn out of the tin and peel off the lining paper. 

To decorate, brush over the warmed jam and top with a few flaked almonds.

This a really lovely moist cake, almost pudding like in texture and bursting with orange flavour.

See you all again tomorrow with some more baking for Passover Week 2020.

Bye for now,



passover week 2020 molten chocolate skillet brownies

30 Mar 2020

Wecome to day one of Passover Week 2020. Goodness gracious the world has changed so much since I started baking for Passover week. Covid-19, social distancing and job losses to name but a few. Hopefully these recipes will provide some distraction for you all while you're self isolating.

When I first saw this recipe for a molten chocolate skillet brownie in Delicious magazine, I was intrigued by the thought of using a skillet for baking. I didn't own an ovenproof skillet at the time but once that hurdle was overcome, I looked closely at the recipe and realised it would be easy to make for Passover as it contained such a small quantity of flour.

I changed the proportions a little as is my wont and came up with my own version which came out very chocolately and very squidgy. Most Passover recipes are heavy on eggs and nuts but this is one recipe where you could leave the nuts out and not notice their absence.

As the brownie is made with oil, it's pareve and I'm sure it would be delicious served with almond milk or coconut milk ice cream. 

Here's the recipe for you which makes an 8 inch round molten chocolate brownie. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional gas oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Molten chocolate skillet brownie inspired by this recipe
150g dark (70%) chocolate, chopped
½ cup (125ml) sunflower oil
¾ cup caster sugar
Seeds ½ vanilla bean
pinch sea salt flakes
2 whole eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
50g Passover mix sifted (equal quantities superfine matzo meal and potato starch)
2 tbs cocoa powder, sifted
100g peeled hazelnuts, skins removed and coarsely chopped
Extra 80g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
Vanilla ice cream, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 20 cm wide, 5 cm-deep, heavy-based oven-proof frying pan. Fill a small saucepan one-third full with water and bring to a gentle simmer. Place chocolate, oil, sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt in a small heatproof bowl. Set bowl over pan and stir occasionally until chocolate mixture is melted (don’t let the bowl touch the water). Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Beat the eggs and egg yolk into chocolate mixture. Fold in the baking mix, cocoa and 60g of the hazelnuts, then spoon into prepared pan. Gently push about half the remaining chopped hazelnuts and the extra chocolate into batter, then bake for 30 minutes or until brownie has risen and come away slightly from edges of pan. The centre will still be liquid when tested. Stand for 5 minutes, then scatter with the remaining hazelnuts and serve with cream, ice cream or both if you prefer.

See you all again tomorrow with Day 2 of Passover week.

Bye for now,



blackberry crumble tart

23 Mar 2020

I'm a firm believer that you shouldn't bake when you're tired. I drop things and do silly things I wouldn't normally do. Well last Sunday I failed to follow my own advice and oh what fun we had.

Even though my holiday to Italy, Croatia and Slovenia has been postponed indefinitely, I decided to bake a Croatian blackberry crumble tart, the recipe for which I found in Gourmet Traveller magazine. It looked pretty easy to make, just a buttery crust that you press into the tin and a filling made from berries folded through meringue. What could go wrong?

The recipe asked for a 20cm pie tin, which I don't have. I have a 23 cm pie tin, a 17cm springform pan and a 17 cm ring which I place on a tray whilst baking, which is the one I decided to use. Big mistake. The tart leaked like crazy while baking so please don't do this. The egg whites had been frozen and defrosted and failed to whip to soft peaks. I don't think this affected the end result but boy did it contribute to the mess in the oven. There was a bit too much filling for the smaller shell and I could have used 3/4 of the mixture but I decided to cram in as much filling as I could. Again, don't do this.

Despite all this troubles, the end result looked fine and tasted even better but next time I will make this in a pie tin or a springform pan which will reduce my oven cleaning time no end.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 20cm/8 inch tart. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20ºC.

Nino Zoccali's Croatian Blackberry Crumble Tart
150g (1 cup) plain flour
¹⁄₃ teaspoon baking powder
170g cold butter, diced
110g (½ cup) caster sugar
2 egg yolks

Blackberry filling
2 egg whites
110g (½ cup) caster sugar
500g blackberries fresh or defrosted
1 tsp vanilla or the seeds of ½ vanilla bean
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbs icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 20cm pie dish and set to one side.

To make the pastry, mix the flour, baking powder, butter, sugar and egg yolks in a food processor until a dough ball forms. Turn out of the processor and set aside one-third of the dough to make the topping. Firmly press the remaining dough into the base and side of the dish to form a crust. 

For the blackberry filling, whisk the egg whites and sugar into soft peaks. Fold in the berries, vanilla seeds and lemon zest and pour into the pie dish. Crumble the reserved pastry dough over the top of the blackberry filling. 

Bake the crumble in the oven for about 1 hours, or until golden. (I put the temperature up to 200°C for the last 10 minutes). Allow to cool a little, then dust with icing sugar. This is beautiful with vanilla-bean gelato or cream.

Next week will be Passover week 2020. I've just finished the final bake, which is a bit of a showstopper. 

I hope this little bit of sweetness brightens your day in these troubling times. See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



chocolate buttermilk cake with chocolate cream cheese icing

16 Mar 2020

Charlotte Ree's Chocolate Buttermilk Cake is all over the internet. I made my own version of her cake, took the cake into work and everyone agreed the chocolate icing was the bomb.

I'm not a huge fan of the texture of a melt and mix cake so for my brother's birthday, I remade the cake using my favourite chocolate cake recipe which I sandwiched and topped with the chocolate cream cheese icing. It was so good I decided to share the recipe with you.

Here’s the recipe for you which makes a 17cm layer cake. If you'd like to make a 23 cm layer cake, double all the ingredients. The bake time will stay the same. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20ºC.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing (Icing from the Charlotte Ree recipe)

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake
1 cup plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate soda
¼ tsp baking powder
½ cup strong hot coffee
40g cocoa, sifted
125g room temperature unsalted butter, chopped
¾ cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg
⅓ cup buttermilk

Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing
65g unsalted butter, at room temperature
160g cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
65g icing sugar, sifted
35g Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted 


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base and sides of a 17cm spring-form pan with baking paper. Sift the flour with the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Mix the coffee and cocoa together in a small bowl to make a paste, then set aside to cool. 

Cream the butter and sugar together with the vanilla until pale and fluffy. Add the egg then mix the flour into the mixture alternating with the chocolate mixture and the buttermilk. You should be left with a creamy smooth chocolatey batter. 

Pour the batter into the prepared tin, smooth the top then place the tin onto the middle shelf of the preheated oven. Bake at 190° C for 1-1¼ hours or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out dry. 

Leave the cake to cool completely before turning out onto a wire rack. When cool slice horizontally into 2 even layers leaving the best layer for the top layer. While the cake is cooling, make the icing.


Place the butter, cream cheese and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat until pale and creamy. Scrape down the side of the bowl, add the icing sugar and cocoa, and mix until just combined. You can also do this in a food processor. Whiz the dry ingredients together to remove any lumps before adding the softened butter cream, cheese and vanilla. Blend until the icing is streak free.

To assemble, place one cake half onto a serving plate. Spread half the icing over the cake, then top with the second cake layer. Spread the remaining icing over the top of the cake. Refrigerate until serving time.

Unfortunately my brother couldn't make it to his birthday dinner because of social distancing but there will always be a next time.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen now that I've managed to buy some flour. Honestly.

Bye for now,

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