Microwave Cake? – Passionfruit Sponge with Marinated Berries and Whipped Cream

Market fresh Aussie passionfruit mmmmm!

C’mon,  I’ve baked for many, many (toooo many!) years, and yes, I’ve owned and loved using a microwave for at least 25 years.

yuk calvin face
Like, really?  Microwave cake??

But, babe!  You know it, I know it, how come everyone on Masterchef doesn’t know it?  YOU CAN’T BAKE A CAKE WITH A MICROWAVE.  What is going on people?

There has been the inevitable, take over of the world, of microwave mug recipes.  Late night or quick dessert fixes, I get it;  I really do!  I even bought my daughter a mug cake recipe book for Christmas.  But, microwave sponges seem to be the biggest thing since Matt Preston, himself!  I am dragging my ‘Vans’, I know, but traditional techniques are what I taught myself, so even though this recipe is from 2014…


I’m testing it out, ‘coz I have been sucked in by the hype, over 1500 people have rated it 4 stars, and I NEED to know!!

How ironic that my ramekins were too big and I had to use teacups!
After 40 seconds in a 1100 watt microwave and it isn’t cooked
Another 20 seconds has done it
Ran a knife around the edges but it is still a little rustic when turned out


Texture was a little dense and rubbery but quite acceptable to eat warm with cream and berry compote as the recipe suggests.


Cooled to stale cake consistency after about an hour, dry and hard



“Definitely a mug cake.  Great eaten warm but a little bouncy and slightly dense.  Tastes great and is a perfect, quick treat for pudding.  Cools to stale cake consistency within an hour.”

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DeleteRedNot a recipe I would do gluten free.  The texture would suffer even more with any substitutions

tickUnrefined sugar substitution suitable.  Raw castor sugar or Stevia would work well.

tickRecipe as written, is nut free.

 tickI would be happy to substitute any kind of vegetable or nut oil for the butter in this recipe

when nothing goes right go  left
Image from www.upnorth.com

What would I change? Hmmm, probably it’s name!  It is a great warm pudding or mug cake but would I call it a sponge cake?  Probably not.  It also needed 50-60 seconds in my 1100 watt microwave on high, not the 40 seconds as written in the recipe.

The flavour was great and would definitely have been great with the Chantilly cream. I personally wouldn’t want to serve the passionfruit pudding with berry coulis though.

To ‘Bliss’ it, I would serve it with double or triple cream or even a custard.  I think a matcha infused custard with white chocolate, would have been gorgeous with this little pudding!

This recipe has definitely not convinced me that I can make cake in a microwave.

I hope you  have enjoyed this recipe review, and found it useful?  Would love to hear what you think.

See you next time 😉 X

Moist Chocolate and Beet Cake

Have you dared to try it?
I’ve put it off for years but the time for testing and tasting is finally here!



Beetroot in a cake??!!!

‘Chocolate beetroot cake,’ has been a phrase that has both intrigued and repulsed me for YEARS!   No, I just couldn’t do it.  So many opportunities to do a trial and so many reasons to not go there. Please, don’t get me wrong, I am a big beetroot fan in its many of its guises; most importantly; a burger is no burger of mine without it.  But, no matter how many people said a beetroot chocolate cake was all kinds of wonderful, I just couldn’t make the leap….until today.

When I decided to listen to my family and post reviews of the recipes I tested, I knew there were 2 recipes that I have avoided for decades yet, never been able to let go of.

Time to make the plunge; this Moist Chocolate Beet Cake recipe is originally by Nigel Slater but I found it via David Lebovitz website.  I followed the recipe to the letter, although I did not have an 8 inch springform so used a 7 inch and had batter left over.  You definitely need an 8 inch and in fact I probably could have used a 9 inch pan.

Beautiful, just set and wobbly in the centre
Sank a little while cooling. Not a big deal. Maybe another 5 minutes in the oven?
IMG_5821 cropped
Looking pretty with the entire tub of creme fraiche poured over it, and sprinkled with poppy seeds





“A beautifully textured cake, full of deep chocolate flavour and just enough sweetness to balance the bitterness of the cocoa. If you  like chocolate and beetroot paired, this is a spectacular recipe!  For the adventurous, definitely try it, you might find you enjoy it.”

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Do I have a good recipe for…heart emojiheart emojiheart emojiheart emojiheart emoji

tickGluten free substitution suitable.   I would feel happy to bake this cake with a gluten free flour substitute.  It may have a slightly gummy feel to it though.  Another option would be to substitute half almond meal and half gluten free flour.  I feel all almond meal would change the texture too much.

tickUnrefined sugar substitution suitable.  This cake would actually take on a whole new complexity of flavour using coconut sugar or rapadura sugar.  The caramel flavours of these sugars would really give you a lovely depth of flavour.  To avoid grittiness, process the sugar until it is finer before you use them.  Raw castor sugar or Stevia would also work.

tickRecipe as written, is nut free.

DeleteRed Not dairy free.  The flavour that is added by this amount of butter would make it difficult to change out for anything else.

when nothing goes right go  left
Image from www.upnorth.com

What would I change?  As a chocolate beet cake it was beautiful, I wouldn’t change it at all.  Although, I found the flavour of beetroot had mellowed even more after 2-3 days.Since I am a big believer of allowing chocolate cakes time to develop in flavour, I would even consider making it 2 days ahead of serving.

I personally, would consider cutting the beetroot with some green apple to help smooth the transition between chocolate and beetroot.  But hey, that’s just me!

To ‘Bliss’ it, I would serve it with sour cream on the side to give it a punchier flavour and a creamier accompaniment.  Creme fraiche was a little bit delicate in flavour and texture for me and I didn’t really think the poppy seeds did anything for it.  I would consider a really airy cream cheese frosting for it as well, but it would definitely have to be whipped within an inch of its life!

Wow, so there it is; Nigel Slater’s Moist Chocolate and Beet Cake.  What a great start!

I hope you  have enjoyed my first recipe review, and found it useful?  Would love to hear what you think.

See you next time 😉 X

PS if you are looking to get a springform pan, it is definitely worth spending a little bit more money to get one that won’t leak!
This is a link to Amazon.com, for a particularly highly rated tin by Kaiser, that won’t break the bank.

Kaiser Bakeware Noblesse 8-Inch Round Non-Stick Springform Pan

For extra warmth, just add Ginger

Padded jackets at the ready.  2 weeks before Winter is to officially begin and we are already freezing, snow on the mountains and frost on the lawns, but it’s that little snowflake that flashes on the car dashboard that drives home (sorry, pun intended) that it’s REALLY cold!

I feel warmer already 🙂

When I need extra warmth, I know what I reach for other than a rather large doona and a mug of hot cocoa,  it’s ginger.  Ginger has been an Asian staple for centuries and used medicinally as well as in cooking.  The heat adding properties do not stop at its spiciness but help to warm the body according to Chinese Medicine.   I love ginger and have found that for those persistent winter coughs that just won’t budge, hot ginger tea with a big spoon of honey is just the thing to help stave off the hacking for a little while.  Just, roughly crush and chop,  a knob of ginger about the size of your thumb and steep it in a mug of boiling water (preferably in a tea infuser or else you will be spending a lot of time picking out bits of ginger from your mouth!),  add a generous tablespoon of honey, cover and allow the flavours to develop for a few minutes.  If you are up to a bit of stronger medicine, add a measure of Dom Benedictine.  Sip slowly while wrapped up in your favourite blanket,  seated in front of an open fire.

Even if it doesn’t stop your coughing, and even if you have realized that there is actually no tea in my ‘ginger tea’ recipe, what a great way to spend half an hour!  🙂

On a more traditionally Aussie  front, my sister and I still crave an Arnott’s ginger snap with a cup of milky tea , when we think of 4 o’clock.  I can always tell the girl is back in Melbourne for a visit when I find an open packet of the old ginger snap biscuits in my Mum’s pantry!

Gingerbread cake made with freshly grated ginger and fragrant with golden syrup is my major weakness as far as ginger goes, and as far as I am concerned, I don’t make it often enough.  I used to follow recipes that used ginger powder and could never understand why you would use powder when fresh ginger was so abundant.  Supposedly the powder is more aromatic but I love the flavour and texture of fresh ginger and always use it in my cakes.  The other thing  I never understood as a kid was my Mum’s weakness for chocolate coated ginger, such a  weird combination!  But, don’t we live and learn, I am sure my Mum is getting the last laugh now!

So, is ginger winter seasonal produce?  Well, tender, new young ginger has been making its appearance over the past month or so, at my local Asian markets, so I am going with YES!

And so, on the back of that one great assumption regarding Winter produce, I am very excited to unveil my Winter

Chocolate swirled and chocolate topped, just begging for a cup of tea!

seasonal cake.  I just couldn’t go past gingerbread cake, and to make it completely indulgent I have swirled it with melted dark chocolate and ginger bits, draped it with a chocolate ganache and topped it all with Buderim’s ‘naked’ ginger and more chocolate, of course!

Serve with a cup of steaming hot tea…ginger, or otherwise!

Chocolate Swirled Gingerbread Cake, now this is how I like to stay warm!
Dripping ganache, ‘naked’ ginger and…more chocolate!

Available June 1st-August 31st 2011 only.

My seasonal cakes may not be the same every year so I hope that you take the opportunity to enjoy them while you can!  $45  for a 12cmx22cm loaf