Sour Cream Coffee Cake (Ina Garten)

Barefoot Bloggers time again, the first recipe chosen by Gwen of Cooking in Pajamas was for this very yummy cake, I love walnuts so this one went down really well, I think I made it 3 times this month. Give it a go.




  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the streusel:

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Mix in the walnuts, if desired.

Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup streusel. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up, onto a serving plate. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup together, adding a few drops of water if necessary, to make the glaze runny. Drizzle as much as you like over the cake with a fork or spoon.


Cherry & Almond Tart with Brandy Custard (Matt Moran)

I have been wanting to make this Matt Moran recipe for a few months now, & today I finally made it, (with a couple of changes).  It was in the December issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly magazine. I didn’t have any cherries or cherry jam but I did have frozen blueberries & raspberry  jam, I also didn’t have slivered almonds but did have flaked almonds. It still turned out great & tasted even better. I didn’t have time so I didn’t make the Brandy Custard. So here’s Matt Moran’s recipe.





Serves 10


2 cups plain flour

1/2 cup icing sugar

180g butter, chopped into 1cm cubes

1 egg, beaten lightly

1 egg yolk, beaten lightly

2 tablespoons cherry jam

500g cherries, pitted

1/3 cup slivered almonds


250g butter, softened

1 cup caster sugar

3 eggs

2 cups almond meal

1/3 cup plain flour

Brandy Custard:

2 cups milk

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/4 cup brandy



Combin flour and icing sugar in a large bowl, rub in the butter. Stir in the egg and mix until ingredients just cling together, press the pastry into a ball. Knead the pastry gently on a lightly floured surface and press into a flat disc. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for approximately 2 hours.

Pre-heat oven to 180C or  (160C fan forced).

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry until large enough to line a 28cm loose based flan tin. Ease pastry into the tin, gently pressing pastry into the base and side, trim the edge.

Place tin on a large oven tray, cover pastry with baking paper, fill with pastry weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove paper and beans. Brush with a thin coating of egg yolk. Return to the oven and cook a further 5 mins.


Beat the butter and sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Sieve the almond meal and flour together, then fold into the butter mixture.

Spread the cherry jam over the base of the cooked pastry case, then spoon in the filling, smoothing the top with a spatula. Top evenly with the pitted cherries, pressing down slightly into mixture. Sprinkle with the almonds. Bake for about 45 minutes or until set.

Brandy Custard:

Combine the milk, vanilla seeds and pod in a medium saucepan. Bring milk to a simmer, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale. Add one third of the infused milk, then pour the egg mixture back into the pan with the remaining milk.

Return the pan to a low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the custard has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add the brandy. Strain the custard through a seive and pour into a serving jug.

Serve the tart with the Brandy Custard.

This recipe is suitable to freeze.

Custard Tarts

Here’s a very easy custard tart recipe, you use frozen shop bought tart cases for this. I’ve adapted this recipe slightly, it comes from the Australian Women’s Weekly Chinese Cooking Class Cookbook.



12 frozen tart cases

3 eggs

1/2  cup sugar

1 1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

yellow food colouring ( the more you put the brighter it becomes, I used 3 teaspoons)





Place frozen tart cases onto a baking sheet, set aside

Put the eggs & sugar in a medium bowl or jug & whisk  together,  while whisking gradually add the milk & then the vanilla & yellow food colouring until all the ingredients are combined.

Fill each of the tart cases almost to the top & bake for  15 to 20 mins  or until set  they should still have a slight wobble when done, they continue to set on cooling.

Makes 12

Red Velvet Cupcakes Go GREEN


This recipe is for Red Velvet Cupcakes, but because it’s St Patricks Day I thought I’d make them green for our Irish friends out there.



2 ½ cups plain flour

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 x 50ml bottles green food colouring

1 cup of vegetable oil

1 ½ cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon peppermint or vanilla extract  (I used peppermint to go  with the green colour)

1 cup buttermilk

1 ½ teaspoon  baking soda

1 tablespoon white vinegar



Preheat oven to 180C/350F, line your cupcake tins with paper liners


In a bowl sift together the flour and salt, set aside

In a small bowl mix the colour and cocoa powder together until completely mixed, set aside

Using an electric mixer,  mix the oil and sugar on medium  speed until  combined, add eggs one at a time then add the peppermint or vanilla extract  and  mix until light and creamy , scraping the sides of the bowl as you go,  Now add the colour and cocoa powder mixture until evenly mixed.

Add the flour and buttermilk alternately starting and ending with the flour, mix until just combined

In a small bowl stir together the vinegar and baking soda, this will fizz,  now add it to the mixture and mix for a few seconds more.

Scoop mixture into your prepared tins and bake for about 20 mins, when  toothpick comes out clean they’re done. Cool completely before icing, I used the Betty Crocker  prepared icing mixture & added about 10 drops of the food colouring.

Makes about 22 regular cupcakes


Creme Caramel

This recipe comes from the Australian Women’s Weekly Cooking Class Basic. Instead of the vanilla essence I used a vanilla bean. When I turned the caramels over the caramel had hardened a little & just slipped off the custard,  so I used it as a topper. This recipe makes one large creme caramel, I used 8 foil muffin cups for individual serves, I had just enough custard left to make a nineth one, just didn’t have enough caramel.



3/4 cup caster sugar

3/4 cup water

6 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

1/3 cup caster sugar, extra

1 3/4 cups milk

300 ml thickened cream



Combine sugar and the water in medium heavy-base saucepan, stir constantly using a wooden spoon over medium heat, without boiling, until sugar is dissolved. Use pastry brush dipped in water to brush any sugar crystals down from side of pan before mixture boils

Bring sugar mixture to a boil, boil rapidly, uncovered, without stirring, about 5 minutes or until mixture turns a light golden brown.

Pour caramel into deep 20cm round cake pan (it doesn’t need greasing), hold pan using cloth. Quickly tilt pan to coat base evenly with caramel. There is no need to spread caramel up side of pan. It is correct for caramel to set at this stage.

Lightly whisk eggs, essence and extra sugar together in medium bowl. Do not overwhisk or custard will be too aerated. Combine milk and cream in medium saucepan, bring to a boil. reduce heat, allow bubbles to subside from edge of pan. gradually whisk milk mixture into egg mixture, strain into cake pan over caramel.

Place a cake pan in baking dish with enough boiling water to come halfway up side of pan. Bake in moderately slow oven about 40 minutes or until custard is just set, it will set further on cooling. Remove from water, stand several hours to cool to room temperature. Cover pan, refrigerate overnight. This will ensure the caramel will coat the custard when it is turned out.

Use fingers to pull the top of custard from around side of pan. It shouldn’t stick to pan but, if you’re in doubt, carefully run a knife or spatula around edge of custard. Invert custard onto serving dish, serve with whipped cream and passionfruit pulp, if desired.

Hot Chocolate Fondant (Gordon Ramsay)

 I found this recipe on the Channel 4 website, it’s for a hot chocolate fondant by Gordon Ramsay. You MUST try this it is delishhhhhh.


50g melted butter , for brushing

cocoa powder , for dusting

200g good-quality dark chocolate , chopped into small pieces

200g butter , in small pieces

200g golden caster sugar

4 eggs and 4 yolks

200g plain flour

Creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream to serve



    1. First get your moulds ready. Using upward strokes, heavily brush the melted butter all over the inside of the pudding mould. Place the mould in the fridge or freezer. Brush more melted butter over the chilled butter, then add a good spoonful of cocoa powder into the mould. Tip the mould so the powder completely coats the butter. Tap any excess cocoa back into the jar, then repeat with 1 the next mould.
    2. Place a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, then slowly melt the chocolate and butter together. Remove bowl from the heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for about 10 mins.
    3. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and yolks together with the sugar until thick and pale and the whisk leaves a trail; use an electric whisk if you want. Sift the flour into the eggs, then beat together.
    4. Pour the melted chocolate into the egg mixture in thirds, beating well between each addition, until all the chocolate is added and the mixture is completely combined to a loose cake batter.
    5.  Tip the fondant batter into a jug, then evenly divide between the moulds. The fondants can now be frozen for up to a month and cooked from frozen. Chill for at least 20 mins or up to the night before. To bake from frozen, simply carry on as stated, adding 5 mins more to the cooking time.
    6.  Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Place the fondants on a baking tray, then cook for 10-12 mins until the tops have formed a crust and they are starting to come away from the sides of their moulds. Remove from the oven, then leave to sit for 1 min before turning out.
    7.  Loosen the fondants by moving the tops very gently so they come away from the sides, easing them out of the moulds. Tip each fondant slightly onto your hand so you know it has come away, then tip back into the mould ready to plate up.
    8.  Starting from the middle of each plate, squeeze a spiral of caramel sauce – do all the plates you need before you go on to the next stage.
    9.  Sit a fondant in the middle of each plate. Using a large spoon dipped in hot water, scoop a ‘quenelle’ of ice cream.
    10. Carefully place the ice cream on top of the fondant, then serve immediately. Repeat with the rest of the fondants.


Tins or ramekins?

As we make the fondants in such great volumes in my restaurants we use disposable 150ml aluminium muffin tins, but ramekins work just as well. The cooking times I have given here are for ramekins but if you want to use the muffin tins then 10 mins in the oven will be fine.

9 puddings for 8 guests

If you are making the fondants for a dinner party I would advise you cook one extra as an ‘insurance policy’ that you can test for doneness. If everything goes according to plan I’m sure there will be no shortage of guests wanting second helpings.


Once you have mastered the fondants it’s very easy to adapt their flavour. For a boozy version add a generous splash of Baileys to the melted chocolate. You can also make a chocolate and orange version by adding the finely grated zest of 1 large orange and an optional splash of orange liqueur.

Sticky Date Pudding

I love sticky date pudding & this one I found in an old recipe book I’ve had for a few years. The recipe is by Belinda Jeffery when she was on Better Homes & Gardens.


3 / 4 cup fresh orange juice

Zest of an orange

180g dates (chopped)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 / 4  tsp bicarb soda

90g unsalted butter, room temperature

100g caster sugar

50g brown sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

180g self raising flour

1 tsp cinnamon

6 – 12 whole walnuts



Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius

Butter & flour 6 1 cup moulds or 12 ½ cup moulds

Put the orange juice into a medium saucepan & bring to a boil, remove from heat & add the dates, zest, vanilla & bicarb soda. Stir  to combine, set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl cream the butter & 2 sugars until light & fluffy,  then slowly drizzle in the beaten eggs.

Sift the flour & cinnamon over the top of the butter & sugar mixture & lightly  fold it in,  now fold in the date mixture.

Divide the mixture evenly into the moulds filling them 3/4 full, if you fill them to the top, they may spill over as this batter is very light & airy.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 mins, but check them after 20 mins, all ovens are different.

Cool them in the moulds for about 5 mins before turning them out.  You may need to use a blunt knife to ease the puddings from the mould.

To serve them place a pudding upside down on a plate, place a whole walnut on top & spoon over the sauce, add some cream on the side if you like.


150g brown sugar

140g unsalted butter

½ cup cream

1 tsp vanilla


Put all the ingredients into a saucepan & stir until butter has melted, then bring to a boil & boil for 3 mins.


If your puddings develop a dome on top, just slice off a little so they don’t wobble on the plate.

I used 1/2 cup moulds for this recipe, I’ve also baked them in cupcake tins with paper liners.