Simple Christmas Baking and Treat Recipes

“Christmas is a tonic for our souls. It moves us to think of others rather than of ourselves. It directs our thoughts to giving.” B.C. Forbes

 

It’s less than a month until Christmas, but there is still plenty of time to whip up a tasty treat or two to share with friends, to gift, or to make your own Christmas a little more yummy.

One of the things I love about food as a gift at Christmas is that it is something almost everyone appreciates, and it is a consumable so it won’t add to the growing mountain of plastic waste, pointless gag gifts and credit card debt.

When you share your gifts think about using wrapping and packaging that won’t cost the earth. Go find an old tin or some pretty old china at the Thrift Store, or wash and reuse glass jars with a circle of bright fabric or paper tied over the lid to make it festive. Cardboard, paper, ribbon, string, fabirc, waxed cotton and flowers from the garden all make great packaging and decoration too.

Here are some of my favorourite Christmas cooking ideas. All of them are easy, quick and well-tested by at least one of my Christmas Elves (Ben, Rufous, Cafe Dog, the neighbours or the staff of the Bangalow Post Office!) and me. Just click on the link to go to the recipe.

Macadamia Shortbread Recipe

 

Easy Fruit Cake Rum Balls

 

Festive Fudge Recipe

 

Heavenly Chocolate Brownies

 

Gluten-Free No Bake Yummy Slice

 

Last-Minute Christmas Cake Recipe

Five Minute Fudge

 

Easy Peach and Vanilla Jam Recipe

 

Prize-Winning Coconut Ice

 

Green Goji Bliss Balls (Healthy but AMAZINGLY GOOD!)

Much love, Nicole  xx

 

 

Easy Fruitcake Rum Ball Recipe for Christmas

“You little beauty! I wait all year for these Rum Balls!” ~ Michael the Tractor Man

 

We live on a farm, as members of a small regional community here in the Byron Bay Shire. Each year we use the same services, eat at the same cafes, shop at the same markets. Over time the people who staff these places have become friends – people whose names we know and whose lives have become intertwined with our own.

So at Christmas time we love to share gifts with the people who have served and supported us throughout the year.

I’m planning to make my Festive Fudge, shortbread and Christmas cakes to give as gifts. But I’ve been in bed for most of the past month so my preparation is behind and today Ben will be seeing the man who services our mowers and chainsaws, and the man who repairs and services our tractors. So we need rumballs, stat! With Bundaberg Rum, of course, because that’s how we roll in this household. It’s tradition!

These rumballs are one of the fastest and easiest recipes I know. And oh my goodness, they are DELICIOUS!!! Fudgey and flavoursome, great texture, and not too sweet. I whipped up these Easy Fruitcake Rum Balls last night, in about twenty minutes from start to finish.

If you don’t like the taste of rum try brandy, Frangelico, Kahlua, Tia Maria or even Grand Marnier. Need it alcohol-free? Substitute rum flavoured essence, vanilla or hazelnut syrup or even a coffee essence.

And if you live somewhere hot at Christmas time make sure to keep the finished rum balls in the fridge. In fact if it’s meltingly hot where you are you may need to chill the mixture first before rolling it.

Happy making, lots of love, Nicole xx

Ingredients:

  • 1.2kg of fruitcake (Buy two x 800 gram dark fruitcakes and use one and one half cakes)
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) of dark rum
  • 3 x 200g blocks of dark chocolate
  • 3 to 4 cups of unsweetened desiccated coconut (Note – you could substitute chocolate sprinkles for some or all of the coconut if you prefer)

Method:

  1. Choose a large bowl. Break the cake into tiny crumbs in the bowl and then sprinkle the rum over the cake. Mix well and leave to stand for five minutes.
  2. If you have a  microwave melt the chocolate by breaking the first 200g block of chocolate into pieces in a heatproof bowl. Melt on medium for one minute. Stir and then melt on medium for another 30 seconds. Stir and if all melted add chocolate to cake mixture. Stir well.
  3. Repeat process for remaining two blocks of chocolate, melting and mixing one block at a time.
  4. If you don’t have a microwave use a double boiler  – break all of the chocolate into a large bowl and place the bowl over simmering water. Stir until melted. Add the chocolate to the fruitcake mix in thirds, stirring well after each addition.
  5. Take heaped teaspoons of mixture and roll into balls using your hands. If it’s boiling hot in your kitchen chill the mixture a little first to make it easier to roll. Toss the balls in coconut to cover. You should get upwards of 80 balls. (Results vary depending on how much you eat while making!)
  6. Place on a tray or in a container in one layer and refrigerate until firm. After the balls are hard you can stack them on top of each other, but wait until they are set or they will lose their shape.

Here is the recipe and the taste test in pictures for you (and you’ll notice that Rufous Dog has managed to sneak into yet another food pic) 🙂

 

Aunty Doff’s Easy Weet-Bix Fruit Cake

“Food brings people together on many different levels. It’s nourishment of the soul and body; it’s truly love.” ~ Giada De Laurentiis

 

I was given this recipe by Aunty Doff, who was my Nana’s beloved sister. We stayed at her home on the Central Coast of NSW once when I was in primary school and she made this cake to welcome our Dad and us after a long drive. Of course, I asked for the recipe! This is a terrific simple bar loaf and I made it countless times during my school and university days. It could be whipped up for afternoon tea, and have enough left for our lunchboxes the next day. Better yet it’s the kind of cake that is pulled together from humble pantry staples.

There’s nothing fancy about this cake, but it is moist and flavoursome and easy for kids to whip up on their own. You just need a large bowl and wooden spoon, some boiling water and an oven.

Don’t be afraid to substitute the fruit for whatever dried varieties you have to hand. I’ve also used drained canned fruits such as pie apples, apricots, peaches and two fruits chopped into pieces and that’s delicious too. If you use canned fruit feel free to substitute half the boiling water for the juice from the can for extra flavour.

if you want to add chocolate chips or nuts to your cake add them at the end of making the batter so they don’t go soggy.

This cake is great on its own, served warm with ice-cream or yoghurt as a simple dessert, or served cold and spread with butter. It will keep well if stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about five days. If using canned fruit in your cake keep the cooked cake in the fridge. Enjoy!

The Heppell Family, early 1940s, Sydney. Dorothy (Aunty Doff) is 2nd from the left, and Joyce (my Nana) is on the far right.

Weet-Bix Maths

*If you’ve only got Weet-Bix crumbs don’t let them go to waste. One Weet-Bix biscuit crumbled is about 1/3 cup. So 1 and 1/3 cups is equivalent to 4 Weet-Bix, or about 65 grams. If you don’t have Weet-Bix substitute a similar breakfast cereal. I’ve used Sultana Flakes and also All-Bran with good results.

 

Ingredients

  • 4 Weet-Bix, crushed (*See note above)
  • 1 cup of raw sugar (I often use half a cup, and yes you can use plain sugar or brown sugar or you favourite sugar substitute too)
  • 1 cup of mixed fruit, chopped into small pieces if fruit size is large. For today’s cake I used a mixture of sultanas, dried apricots and dates.
  • 3 Tablespoons of butter (60 grams)
  • 1 cup boiling water (250 ml)
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • pinch of salt
  • Optional – your choice of 1/2 cup of chopped nuts or seeds for top of cake. Today I used Walnuts and Sunflower Seeds

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).
  2. Place the Weet-Bix, fruit, butter, sugar and boiling water in a large bowl. Mix well and stand for five minutes.
  3. While the Weet-Bix softens line a Bar Tin (8cm x 25cm) or cake tin of your choice with baking paper. Don’t get too fancy. No-one ever died from having an imperfectly lined tin!
  4. Add all other ingredients to your wet ingredients and stir well.
  5. Spoon mixture into the prepared pan. Using a wet hand pat the mixture into the corners of the tin and flatten it gently so that the batter is evenly distributed. If you are using nuts or seeds sprinkle them onto the cake and press them in lightly with a clean hand.
  6. Place in oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly pressed or a skewer inserted in middle of cake comes out clean. Cooking time will vary depending on what size tin you use, and what kind of fruit and flour you choose.
  7. Cool for five minutes and then remove from tin and place on rack to cool.
  8. Enjoy eating your delicious cake, courtesy of Aunty Doff’s great recipe!

Look below for the step-by-step pictures…

 

How To Soak Dried Fruit For Your Christmas Cake!

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” 
Calvin Coolidge

Do you make your own Christmas fruitcake each year? If you do it’s time to soak your fruit, in preparation for a flavoursome and moist cake. If you don’t why not join us and make your own. I promise it’s easier than you think, and the taste of a homemade Christmas cake will always surpass a store-bought one. My grandmother Marga taught me the importance of fruit soaking for a great-tasting cake, and I think of her every year when I prepare my fruit.

Here are my two favourite Christmas Cake Recipes. Both use 1.2kg of mixed fruit. Good combinations include raisins, currants, sultanas, mixed peel, glace cherries, cranberries, prunes and dates – but use what you prefer. I often buy a kilogram bag of mixed dried fruit and then add a 200g bag of glace cherries. To soak this much fruit I use a cup of liquid – either alcohol or black tea. Don’t use a fruit juice to soak over time as it can ferment or go moldy!

This first recipe is for a traditional ‘Make and Mature’ cake. This involves creaming together eggs and butter, sifting in the flours and spices and fruit and then slow baking. The texture and aroma of this cake are so incredibly good. (It’s the cake that is featured in the picture at the top of this post.)

Traditional Christmas Fruit Cake

The second is my ‘Last-Minute’ Christmas fruitcake. You literally melt and mix this cake in a big saucepan on the stove. It has no eggs and is a condensed milk fruit cake. So good! I know, it’s a recipe that can be made in a hurry if you didn’t have time to soak your fruit and ‘feed’ your cake, but it will taste even better if you’re organised enough to soak your fruit in advance.

Last-Minute Christmas Cake

No matter what recipe you choose, or even if you already have a recipe of your own to follow, the first step is to soak the fruit to make it plump and flavoursome.

What To Soak With And For How Long
You can use alcohol or black tea. With alcohol use dark rum, brandy, sherry or whiskey. My choice is usually a dark rum or brandy. Soak with alcohol for up to one month.

With black tea you can use a standard cup of very strong plain tea, but it also tastes amazing to use a flavoured black tea. I have used a vanilla-scented black tea, and also a chai tea and both of these added depth of flavour. If using tea soak for up to two weeks.

Note: If you live in an especially hot place fruit can ferment. Make sure to keep it in a cool dark place (away from pets, small children and thieving partners) while it is soaking.

Cut Up Your Fruit First

Prepare the fruit by cutting any larger fruits into bite-sized pieces. Remove any pits or small stalks that you find. I usually leave cherries whole if small or cut them in half if they are super-big because I love the visuals of them studded through my cake, but feel free to leave whole or to cut as small as you desire.

Then make one of two choices.

1. Place your chopped and sorted fruit into a large ceramic bowl. Pour the alcohol or tea over. Stir well. Cover the dish with some kind of lid. Don’t let any metal touch the fruit.

2. Try my jar method. Take a large glass jar, big enough to fit your fruit. Layer the fruit or mix together and then spoon into jar. Add alcohol or tea. Place lid on tightly and then turn jar upside down a few times to distribute liquid.

Stir or upend the jar occasionally until the fruit is plump and moist and ready for your cake.

If the liquid is completely absorbed you can add a little more, a tablespoon at each time, every few days. This is known as ‘feeding your fruit’.

When you are ready to bake your cake take the fruit out of the bowl or jar and reserve any syrup that is left behind. This can be used to brush over the cooked cake (which is known as ‘feeding your cake’ but it is also good on ice-cream!

Sending kitchen happiness your way, Nicole ❤ xx

 

Salted Caramel Rice Pudding Recipe

“I like rice. Rice is great if you’re hungry and want 2000 of something. ” 
Mich Ehrenborg

This simple rice-based gluten-free dessert is a modern twist on a family favourite. The pudding is sweet, creamy and has that salty more-ish kick.

It can be easily made using your favourite kind of milk, so vegans and people with food intolerances can enjoy a dessert that everyone else in the household will love too. I often make this recipe with coconut milk, but have also made it with soy milk, rice milk and almond milk. It works well with cows milk too if your tummy likes that kind of milk.

The pudding can be enjoyed warm or cold.

PS – I have also been enjoying adding a few spoonfuls of collagen powder to this recipe. I have a connective tissue disorder, so adding gelatin or collagen hydrolysate to my soups, stews, smoothies and other recipes has helped me to improve my joint, cartilage and ligament health, skin elasticity, gut function, nails and hair. (Obviously, if you are a vegan you would avoid this step as collagen is an animal product.)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup short grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 litre of milk of your choice
  • 1/4 cup of coconut blossom sugar (If you can’t find this then use palm sugar or brown sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Extra salt and sugar to taste. Optional: Coconut yoghurt to serve.

Method:

  1. Bring the rice and water to the boil in a large saucepan over high heat.
  2. Add milk, a little at a time, stirring well.
  3. Add sugar and stir well. If you are adding collagen powder put it on now and stir well so that it dissolves.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes to one hour, stirring occasionally so that rice does not stick to bottom of pan.
  5. When rice is thick and creamy, and grains of rice are soft add vanilla and salt. Taste and then add more sugar or salt if necessary.
  6. To serve spoon into bowls. Top with a dollop of coconut yoghurt, a drizzle of cream, or your favourite fresh or canned fruits.

This will keep well, covered and refrigerated for up to four days – if it lasts that long!

 

Best Easy Chocolate Mudcake Recipe

“He showed the words ‘chocolate cake’ to a group of Americans and recorded their word associations. ‘Guilt’ was the top response. If that strikes you as unexceptional, consider the response of French eaters to the same prompt: ‘celebration’.”
Michael PollanIn Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

A friend on the other side of the world asked me for a foolproof but yummy chocolate cake recipe with easily obtainable ingredients that she could bake for her sister’s informal impromptu wedding, which just happens to be tomorrow.

My friend is not a baker, but she wanted to make a from-scratch cake in honour of love. I totally support that, don’t you?

This cake recipe fits the bill – it’s simple to make, and virtually foolproof. Plus soooooo yummy. (PS – Congratulations to Susanne and Adesh. I hope your wedding celebration is magical, and we all send our love!)

The picture above of is a double recipe.  This cake is a triumph – so easy, and it never fails to please.

Ingredients for cake:

250 grams unsalted butter (I’ve used salted and that’s fine if it’s all you’ve got), 200 grams good quality dark chocolate, 1 cup caster sugar, 1 cup soft brown sugar, 3/4 cup plain flour, 3/4 cup self raising flour, 1/4 cup cocoa, 1 teaspoon instant coffee, or one shot of espresso, 1 1/3 cups of water (a teensy bit less if you used espresso), 3 eggs

Method:

  1. Break the chocolate into pieces and dump into a large saucepan.  Add in the chopped butter, sugar, water and coffee.  Melt together until all ingredients are dissolved and then cool.
  2. Sift flours and cocoa into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Gently mix through the cooled chocolate liquid by hand with a large spoon.
  4. Finally, beat the eggs together to combine, then gently fold the eggs into the cake mix.
  5. Pour the batter into a double lined 20cm deep cake tin, and bake at 150 degrees celcius for 1 and 3/4 hours. **check cake towards the end so it doesn’t overcook.
  6. Allow to cool in tin before removing

Chocolate Ganache:

Melt together 250grams of broken dark chocolate and 1/3 cup of cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and allow to cool until it thickens, stirring occasionally and then pour/spread over cake.  (Don’t leave ganache in fridge and forget about it or you’ll have to eat the lot!)

I also made some chocolate leaves by melting dark chocolate and using a clean paint brush to paint camelia leaves.  Just peel the leaf away carefully when the chocolate sets.  Ivy leaves also look brilliant but any non-toxic leaf will work. I used smarties (chocolate beanies) to make flower patterns, although it looks a bit like I channelled my inner 1950s housewife, don’t you think!

♥ Serve in small slices (be warned – this is rich!) with some vanilla ice-cream or a good double cream.  It keeps well, but never seems to last.  Enjoy! xx

 

Chunky Choc-Chip Oat Cookies – Easy Recipe!

“Baking cookies is comforting, and cookies are the sweetest little bit of comfort food. They are very bite-sized and personal.” ~Sandra Lee

 

School holidays are almost here, and this is a great recipe for kids in the kitchen. They are tasty, easy and use simple ingredients.

We love these chunky cookies here at the farm – they go well with a cuppa, a tall glass of milk, or a bowl of ice-cream. They are robust enough to hold their shape if they are bouncing around in a tin in the back of the ute while we’re out mustering and fancy enough to please the neighbours when they drop in for a chat and a cup of tea.

The biscuits will store in an airtight tin for one week but never last that long around here. The cookie dough can also be frozen in a log and used at a later date.

This recipe bakes up perfectly well with gluten-free flour if you need that, and is versatile enough that you can substitute raisins, nuts, cornflakes or dried fruit for the choc-chips if preferred. I have sometimes substituted muesli for both the oats and choc-chips if that was all I had to hand.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Ingredients:

  • 250 grams of softened butter
  • 3 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar (or ordinary sugar if that is all you have)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 and 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup of choc chips (I like to use a couple of different types) or a 200-gram block of chocolate broken into chunks

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to moderately slow (160 degrees Celsius or 325 Fahrenheit)
  2. Line two trays/cookie sheets with baking paper.
  3. Beat butter, condensed milk and sugar together until pale and creamy. I use an electric mixer for this and it takes a few minutes.
  4. Dump remaining ingredients in bowl and stir to combine. You can do this on low speed in the mixer or use a wooden spoon. 
  5. Use a dessert spoon to scoop up mixture and roll into balls. Place balls on tray with a little space between them because they will spread when they cook. Press down to flatten the balls slightly with your fingers.
  6. Bake for fifteen minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Remove for oven and cool on trays for five minutes then transfer to a wire rack until they are completely cool. 

Serve to your friends and family, or eat them all on your own with Netflix for company!

PS – Pop Up Shop and June Workshops:
If you’re looking for some extra support for your spiritual journey check out my upcoming Pop Up Shop, Channelling Night and One Day Workshops in Brisbane 29 June to 1 July.

The Pop Up Shop runs over Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Workshops are over Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday June 30 I’ll be teaching Foundation Spiritual Practices (the things I used to develop my own psychic and intuitive skills, self-awareness and compassion), and on Sunday July 1 I’ll teach Meditation and Mala Making (this second workshop is brilliant if you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, stuck or suffering from anxiety or depression). No matter what level you’re at I’ll have something for you on my program. More details here!

All details are on my EVENTS tab at the top of my blog post or here at this link.

Easy Stewed Pears Recipe

“It is, in my view, the duty of an apple to be crisp and crunchable, but a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption.”
~ Edward Bunyard

After the excess of Easter it is a relief to be back to simple food again.

One of Autumn’s great pleasures for me is pears. This easy dish is low in sugar, and the cooked fruit can be eaten warm or cold.

They are wonderful on their own, spooned over cereal or porridge or made into a layered parfait with some fresh yoghurt and a sprinkling of chopped nuts or some crunchy granola.

I also like them with a drizzle of fresh cream or a dollop of coconut yoghurt.

Pears are a great source of fibre and are high in anti-oxidants. Plus they are delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 6 to 12 ripe pears, sliced and the cores removed. It’s fine to keep the skins on.
  • Enough water or unsweetened apple juice to just cover the fruit in a large saucepan. If you use apple juice you won’t need sweetener.
  • 1 to 2 cinnamon quills (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon for each quill)
  • 6 dried cloves
  • a peeled and sliced 1 inch piece of root ginger or 1/2 teaspoon of dried ground ginger
  • You can also use a little sweetener if you are using water to cook the pears. A few drops of stevia, or a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup or honey will work well.

Method:

  1. Slice the pears into halves or quarters.
  2. Place in a saucepan and barely cover with water or juice.
  3. Add the spices.
  4. Gently bring to the boil and then turn heat to low and cook for fifteen to twenty minutes or until pears are soft.

Stewed pears will keep for up to one week in the fridge.

Poached Pears with Honey and Turmeric

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” 
~  A.A. Milne

 

Here at the farm it’s been unseasonably cold and rainy as we head towards summer. That’s okay. It’s the perfect weather for poached pears.

This is a very simple dish to make, but the results are fancy enough to grace your table at a dinner party or special luncheon. Or you can eat them anytime! They are super when served warm but are also delicious cold. They are sweetly spiced and they turn golden from the turmeric.

Make extra. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Ingredients:

4 to 6 large firm ripe pears (Bartlett or Bosc are good varieties), 3 cups of water, 1/2 cup of honey, 1 large cinnamon stick, 6 to 12 cardamom pods crushed with the back of a knife or a mortar and pestle, a 2 inch piece of ginger cut into slices, 5 cloves, a 2 inch piece of turmeric cut into slices, pinch of salt

(If you’re sugar-free use natvia or stevia instead of the honey, or just cook the pears in unsweetened apple juice instead of the water and honey mixture. No fresh ginger or turmeric? Just use a 1/2 teaspoon of each as dried powder)

Method:

  1. Peel the pears and find a saucepan that fits them snugly.
  2. Add the water, honey and spices to the pan and bring the liquid to the boil.
  3. Reduce heat and add pears.
  4. Poach the pears in the liquid for 20 minutes or until soft all the way through when pierced by a fork or skewer.
  5. Remove pears from liquid to serve.
  6. If you want a thicker syrup return the pan to the stove and boil the liquid until it is reduced by half. This syrup can then be drizzled over the pears.
  7. Serve with a spoonful of poaching liquid or reduced syrup. Excellent with yogurt, ice-cream or creamed rice pudding.

Fanny’s Whist Cake – A simple and delicious treat!

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.” 
~  Ray Bradbury

On Wednesday we mustered and did cattle work here at the farm. It’s always incumbent upon me to provide cake for smoko when the workers break for a cup of tea, and I have a host of favourite recipes to choose from. But our friend and her little boy were visiting later in the day. Eli loves cake, but mum was hoping it might be low sugar, so I decided to go through my old recipe folders and there I found a recipe I’d never made, one that was copied from my Nana Cody. My beloved Nana passed away in 2012, but she’s still a strong presence in my life – especially in the kitchen! Nana was always good for recipes and simple life wisdoms. This particular recipe was called Fanny’s Whist Cake. It was lower in sugar than most other recipes and seemed worth making. Well, I thought, why not?

The name of the cake was quite curious. First I googled Whist Cake but there is no such thing. There is a card game called Whist though – it’s a simple trick taking game that was a popular parlour game in the eighteenth and nineteenth century.

Perhaps it was a cake that Fanny liked to bake and take to her Whist games? Seems logical to me.

But who was Fanny? If she had been a friend of Nana’s I didn’t recall her ever being mentioned. I rang my sister, who is the family’s genealogy sleuth. Fanny Wheaton, Simone declared. She was Nana’s (our Dad’s mum, Joyce Cody, nee Heppell) grandmother. So that makes Fanny Wheaton my second great-grandmother. Here’s a photo of Fanny, circa 1915, courtesy of Jon Heppell who uploaded it to Ancestry.com. She’s the lady in black in the middle of the picture, holding the baby. Nana’s parents are Doris Minta Parish & her husband Frederick William Heppell, Fanny’s son (back row, right). Isn’t it wonderful to think that I am now baking her recipe, one that she was making over one hundred years ago!

So, is a cake made to a recipe that’s easily over 100 years old any good? My word it is! It’s a light and buttery cake, made interesting with the addition of dried fruit and a simple cinnamon-spiced crumb topping. It is quite firm to slice. We found it excellent served plain with a cup of tea, and our young friend Eli found it even better served with lashings of vanilla ice-cream.

I don’t think it will have very good keeping qualities so I advise that it is best served on the day it is made. We did eat the last of it the following day and found it a little drier, but still acceptable and very good buttered!

I hope you enjoy Fanny’s Whist Cake as much as we did. I’ll certainly be making it again.

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1/2 cup butter (115g or 1 stick)
  • 3/4 cup sugar ( 170g)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups self-raising flour (300g)
  • 1/2 cup sultanas (golden raisins – 88g)
  • 1/4 cup sliced glace cherries (40g)
  • good pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup warmed milk (58ml)

Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, chopped (30g)
  • 2 tablespoons soft brown sugar (30g)
  • 2 heaped tablespoons plain flour (20g)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder ( 12g)

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to moderately slow (160 degrees Celsius or 325 Fahrenheit)
  2. Grease and paper line a 20cm round baking tin
  3. Make the crumble first by rubbing the butter, sugar flour and spice together with your fingertips until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Note: Make sure the butter is cold!
  4. Warm milk (Warm, not boiling!)
  5. Cream butter and sugar until soft and fluffy – sugar is dissolved
  6. Add eggs one at a time, beating slowly after each to combine
  7. Add pinch of salt
  8. Alternate the flour and milk in small amounts, gently folding in to the mixture.
  9. Add the dried fruit and fold through.
  10. Spoon mixture into prepared pan.
  11. sprinkle the topping evenly over the batter
  12. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until top is golden and cake springs back when lightly pressed in centre.
  13. Cool.
  14. Best served on same day.