Category Archives: Cakes

Chocolate Orange Torte with Star Anise and Orange Syrup

Chocolate Orange Torte

Without a doubt this is not the prettiest looking cake around, but paired up with the alcoholic orange syrup, which is infused with star anise, and this rather drab looking cake is turned into a taste sensation.

I found this recipe during my last term at cooking school. Our final exam for desserts was based on dietary requirements and the assignment was to make and serve four desserts that would cover four different dietary situations. The only other criteria was that we had to have at least one hot, one cold and one frozen dessert.

After scouring the internet and the library I came across this gluten free recipe in a book written by Pamela Moriarty called “Sharing sweet secrets gluten and wheat free“.

I made a few changes to the original recipe, the most obvious of which is the substitution of almonds with hazelnuts. I have left out the GF components in this recipe so if you want it to be truly GF make sure you buy GF bread crumbs and baking powder.

If you can stand the wait, this cake tastes even better the next day once the flavours have infused.

Chocolate Orange Torte


Chocolate Orange Torte with star Anise Orange syrup (Gluten Free)

Adapted from Sharing sweet secrets gluten and wheat free – Pamela Moriarty.


  • 100gm hazelnuts
  • 70 gm dark chocolate, chopped
  • 70gm bread crumbs
  • 17 gm Dutch cocoa powder
  • 3 gm  baking Powder
  • 4 eggs (separated)
  • 150gm caster Sugar
  • 1 orange finely grated zest
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (or any other orange flavoured liqueur).


  • 2 oranges – juiced
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tbspn Grand Marnier
  • 3 star anise.


Pre-heat oven to 160°C. Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 9″ cake tin.

Process the hazelnuts in a food processer until roughly chopped.

Add chocolate and process until you have a breadcrumb like texture.

Add breadcrumbs, cocoa and baking powder, blend to combine. Set aside.

Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until soft peaks form. Gently pour egg white into a large mixing bowl.

Clean mixer bowl and place egg yolks and sugar into bowl, using the whisk attachment whisk until until thick and creamy.

Add orange zest, juice and alcohol then beat lightly together.

Gently fold egg yolk mixture into the whisked egg whites.

Gently fold in the nut and chocolate mixture then pour into the baking tin you prepared earlier.

Tip: Fold ingredients into egg white gently, try not to knock the air out of the whisked egg whites.

Bake for about 50 mins at 160 degrees Celsius (or until skewer comes out clean).

Remove from oven and place tin on a wire rack and leave for 10 mins to cool.

Turn the cake out onto a wire rack.

Cool completely before removing baking paper from base and sides of cake.

Star Anise Orange Syrup

Place orange juice, sugar, alcohol and star anise into a small saucepan.

Boil for 5-10 mins to reduce to a syrupy consistency.

Pour syrup over torte just before serving.

Tip: Watch syrup carefully when boiling, you need the syrup to be pouring consistency. If you leave it on too long it will become like a soft orange toffee (which I might add from experience tastes yummy).

Hamish/Sourdough Update

I was thinking of ending the sourdough project if this batch didn’t turn out, but the second attempt produced three magnificent dark crusty loaves. The taste was reminiscent of bread we purchased in France. The verdict: Hamish gets to live another day….

Score: Sourdough 1…. Lemon Grove 1.

Sourdough Bread

Passionfruit Cake

Passionfruit Cake

I have been up to my ears making cake, so much so that I have neglected my blog and have lots of reading to catch on from my favourite bloggers. So what do I do when I finally get a break and come up for breath? Yes you guessed it, make more cake!

I was seduced by this cake, there was something about it that just appealed to me, maybe it was it’s eye catching colours or the flavour of passionfruit, whatever it was I simply had to make this cake.

I first saw it, in Feast magazine, it was bright, pretty and cheerful looking – what was not to love? The outside was covered with a cream cheese frosting in an eye catching yellow ombre effect and the inside was all passionfruity goodness. I book marked the page and put it on my list of cakes to make.

So what’s to love about this cake?  Well the cake itself has a great texture and good flavour.

What’s not to love? For me I am not a huge fan of seeds in cakes and the passionfruit seeds had a potential trip to the dentist to fix a broken tooth all over them. The other thing I didn’t enjoy was the cream cheese frosting, there was just too much of it and even the sharpness of the extra passionfruit on top or the lemon juice I added to the frosting wasn’t enough to cut through.

If I was making this cake again I would change the frosting to either a lemon curd Italian buttercream or if you really want a passionfruit hit change the lemon curd to passionfruit curd.

On another subject, for anyone that is following the adventures of Hamish you will be pleased to know that he is doing well and due to make his first loaf of sour dough shortly…

Passionfruit Cake


Passionfruit Cake

Featured in October 2013 issue of Feast Magazine

  • 200gm unsalted butter, softened
  • 295gm caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 240gm sour cream
  • pulp from 6 passionfruit
  • 350gm self raising flour.

Cream cheese frosting

  • 100gm unsalted butter
  • 320gm pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 3 x 250gm packets cream cheese, softened
  • Yellow food colouring (I use gel rather than liquid colour).


Preheat oven to 160°C. Spray 2 x 8″ cake pans with oil and line the base and sides with baking paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter and sugar until pale and creamy.

Add eggs one at a time and beat well between additions.

Add sour cream and passionfruit pulp and mix until combined.

Remove bowl from mixer and fold through the flour with a spatula.

Divide mixture evenly between the two cake tins. Bake at 160°C for approx. 45minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from cake tins and allow to cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat the butter and icing sugar together until pale and creamy. Add cream cheese and beat until smooth and creamy.

To make the ombre effect on the icing take 1 third of the frosting and split it into two bowls. Colour one half a dark yellow colour and the second half a lighter shade of yellow. Set the remaining frosting aside for later use.

Spread the darkest shade in a line around the bottom side of the cake. Don’t worry about being neat or smooth.

Then spread the lighter shade in a line right above the first dark yellow line of frosting.

Spread the remaining frosting up the sides and on the top of the cake.

Take a straight edged metal scraper and line it up on the side of cake, pull the scraper around the cake smoothing the frosting as you work your way around the cake.

I wanted the cake to be a little rustic looking so I didn’t smooth the top of the cake. Spread passionfruit pulp over the top of cake.

Passionfruit Cake

Butterscotch and Chocolate Cake

Naked Chocolate and Butterscotch Cake

Naked, nude, undressed… now that I have your attention, I am talking about one of the current trends in wedding cakes: the naked cake. It is an extremely versatile style of cake and for those who are not fans of fondant or too much buttercream this is a great alternative. Decorated with fresh flowers or fruit, filled with varieties of light citrus or berry flavoured buttercreams these cakes make a great visual impact and are perfect for a summer wedding. Now while these cakes are taking the wedding market by storm, naked cakes have been around for years and have graced the pages of many blogs and recipe books.

We are in the middle of summer in Australia and temperatures are soaring into the beyond uncomfortable stage. You would think that I would have some type of fruity summery cake for you, but my thoughts had veered into the caramely and chocolate flavours more suited to a cold winter’s evening sitting next to a crackling fire.

So without further ado I present my butterscotch cake layered with chocolate Italian buttercream and decorated with crunchy caramel coated hazelnuts.

If you want to follow me I am now on Facebook where I am posting my blog and lots of other cake creations that don’t feature on the blog.


Butterscotch and Chocolate Cake

Note: This cake mixture is actually for a 9″ cake but I have baked in an 8″ pan to get the extra height needed to get three layers. The cooking time on this needed to be extended to compensate.


  • 270gm butter
  • 250gm water
  • 40ml vegetable oil
  • 40ml condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 520gm caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 355gm self raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 40ml Butterscotch Schnapps.


Pre heat oven to 160°C. Spray an 8” pan with oil and line the bottom and sides with baking paper. Use double or triple thickness paper on the sides to prevent the sides from over baking while the centre bakes.

In a medium saucepan bring the butter and water to the boil, remove from heat.

In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer whisk together the oil, condensed milk and vanilla.

Change to the mixer attachment and add the sugar, flour, baking powder and the butter mixture. Beat until well combined.

Add eggs one at a time and mix to combine.

Add butterscotch schnapps.

Bake @ 160°C for approx. 2 hours or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into cake.

Once baked remove the cake from the oven and leave to sit for 10 – 15 minutes to cool before removing from cake pan. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Buttercream

Make one portion of Italian buttercream with the following changes.
Melt 150gm dark chocolate (I used 70%), allow to cool. Follow the Italian buttercream recipe and at the very end add the cooled chocolate into the finished buttercream and whisk to combine completely. Refrigerate to firm slightly.


Split the cake into three even layers.

Place the first layer onto a cake plate or tray and spread with a thick even layer of buttercream.

Place the next cake layer on top and spread with the same thickness of buttercream.

Place the final layer of cake on top of buttercream and spread another thick layer of buttercream.

Use a metal scraper to scrape the buttercream flat around the side of the cake, fill any holes and scrape again.

Decorate the top. I have coated hazelnuts with caramel which I will show you how to make in a later post.

Butterscotch and Chocolate Cake