Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Peach, raspberry and almond cake

 
 
A few weeks ago I went to Brisbane. It was my first trip in over a year because of all the border closures that have characterised COVID in Australia. In the whirlwind of catching up with all the people I hadn't seen in so long in a short space of time, I spent a delightful afternoon with my friend's daughters (one a high schooler, one primary) making a cake. It's a tradition now - every time I come up we cook. Once it was these little Ottolenghi teacakes, a total hit. Another time it was this pie. This trip, it was a peach, raspberry and almond cake. 
 

 
To be clear, I actually do no cooking, only supervision. My friend sits back with a coffee and watches with amusement as I adjudicate fights over who gets to crack how many eggs, or fold in the flour. I get a swim or a gymnastics/trampoline/diving/clarinet show while whatever it is is in the oven, then - best of all - we eat it afterwards with their parents. This time I didn't take photos, so when I got home I made the cake again myself.

 
I've been trying to make the most of the stone fruit while it's in season, and this cake is an excellent vehicle for it. The juiciness of the fruit is soaked up by the ground almonds, and its softness contrasts beautifully with the sprinkle of chopped nuts on top. The orange zest rounds it all out and as my story attests, it's absolutely not difficult to make, as long as you fairly distribute the cracking of the eggs among all parties (one each for the girls, and I did the third). The reviews were excellent, from the Queenslanders, to the bush turkey who stole some slices I took on a bush walk on the weekend, to my 85 year old neighbour returning the Tupperware that contained a wedge I left on her doorstep. Couldn't put it better myself: such good cake.
 


 

 

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Raspberry, coconut and lime cake


 

A sign of a good cake is how often you make it. Since the recipe for this one was published on The Design Files mid-October of 2020, it's been in heavy rotation in my repertoire and has come to be associated with bright spots in what was undoubtedly a challenging year. The first time I made it was to take with me to see my dad for the first time since January in the border bubble between Queensland and NSW. In early November I caught a plane to Ballina, he drove down from Brisbane to pick me up at the airport and we pulled over at the first sign of a picnic table to eat this cake, a belated birthday one for him. I made it again it to take to my cousin and his wife who'd just had a baby (once they got home from hospital, where visitors weren't allowed) and, more recently, when a Victorian friend I hadn't seen all year because of their state lockdown, swung by Sydney on her way to Byron Bay for Christmas with her family. We ate it for dessert after dinner and the next morning I packed her off with a few fat slices for the road. Loaf cakes, as all this attests, are incredibly portable. Maybe it's partly the emotion of the occasion but there's something really joyful about the combination of flavours and colours in this cake - the tropical feel of the coconut, the pop of pink raspberry and the the zing of the lime. I'm always partial to sour cream in cakes, because of the taste and also as it keeps well.. which means it's both brilliant for leftovers and can be made in advance.