My Best Ever “Banana and Walnut Cake”




Banana and Walnut Cake

85g butter (room temperature)

150g Sri Lankan Rapadura Sugar


1 egg


200g ripe bananas, mashed (approximately 2 ripe bananas)


125g natural Greek yoghurt

30ml rice bran oil


220g flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate powder

1/4 teaspoon salt


60g walnuts, chopped

1: Preheat oven to 180°C, or if it’s fan-forced, 170°C.

2: Prepare a loaf pan by lining it with baking paper. Set aside for the moment.

3: Combine the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat for 3 to 4 minutes then add the egg. Don’t forget to scrap down the sides.

4: Mix together the mashed banana, yoghurt and oil. With the mixer on low speed, add to the batter. Beat for a further 4 to 6 minutes or until the batter is light and fluffy.

5: Still on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the batter and then the chopped walnuts. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Give the bottom of the pan a tap to even out the batter and release any large air bubbles. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

6: Leave on a cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Make like Maria and try these sugars in your favourite recipes. Discover the new Sugars of the World range in Coles, Woolworths and Independent retailers nationally.




The Perfect Little Princess – Cake Expo Melbourne


Swedish Princess Cake.

It’s perfect for a special occasion. It is a delicate cake, and looks best with simple decorations.

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For the crème patissière:

75g egg yolks (approximately 3 small egg yolks)
100g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
500ml whole milk
50g cornflour                                                                                                                          45g Butter (Room Temperature)


For the Jaconde sponge:
3 medium whole eggs
125g icing sugar
125g almond meal (sifted)
3 egg whites
15g caster sugar
40g plain flour


For the filling:
2 tbsp Good Quality Raspberry Jam
Punnet of raspberries (approximately 150g)


For the decoration:
400g marzipan
400g white Fondant
Pink food colour (or other colour if you prefer)


Two baking trays with a minimum width of 30cm
15cm half sphere mould
15cm round pastry cutter
Plastic piping bag
6 inch round cake card board

8 inch round cake board
Small non-stick rolling pin
Mould for flower decorations or you can try making a flower by hand
Scalped Edge Cutter
Egg carton or plastic paint palette with wells
Leaf Mould Veiner                                                                                                                                                                  Large Flower Petal Cutter
Plain round 2.5cm pastry cutter


Preheat the oven to 190°C

Line two baking trays with baking paper.

To make the crème patissière –
Whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar in a mixing bowl, then add the cornflour and stir to combine. Place the milk, vanilla seeds and scraped vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring to a bare simmer. Pour about a quarter of the hot milk onto the egg yolk mixture, immediately stirring until smooth.

Add the egg yolk and milk mixture to the pan with the remaining hot milk stir well till combined and smooth. Continue cooking until the mixture thickens and bubbles in the centre, stirring well to make sure the crème patissière does not burn on the base of the pan. Taste the crème patissière to check it is cooked; it should not taste floury. The texture should be smooth and thick.

Transfer to a bowl or tray. To prevent a skin from forming, cover tightly with cling film, pressing down firmly to make sure there are no air pockets. Allow to cool to room temperature place back into a clean mixer bowl with a paddle attachment and on medium speed begin adding the room temperature butter in small amounts beat until the butter is well incorporated and the custard is smooth, chill until further use.

To make the Jaconde sponge –
Beat the whole eggs and icing sugar together until pale and fluffy. Sift together the flour and ground almonds, then gently fold into the egg mixture using a spatula.

In a clean dry bowl, whisk the egg whites with the sugar until they reach soft peaks. Fold the meringue mixture into the batter.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared baking trays and level the surface using a palette knife or the back of a spoon.

Bake for 8–10 minutes on a low shelf, depending on your oven. The sponge is cooked when the sides are beginning to shrink away from the edges of the tin and the top is lightly golden brown and springs back to the touch.
Allow to cool outside of the oven but leave the sponges in the baking trays. Once cool, cover with cling film to prevent the sponge sheets from drying out.


To assemble the cake –
Place the sphere mould on top of a small round cake tin to hold it steady. Line the inside of the mould with clingfilm, overlapping the edges.

Cut out a 30cm round from one of the sponge sheets. Use it to line the inside of the sphere mould, leaving a small overlap around the outside edge. Trim off any excess using a pair of kitchen scissors.

Fill a piping bag with the custard filling. Snip an inch off the tip and pipe a thick layer into the bottom of the cake mould, then place six fresh raspberries evenly over the custard. Pipe another layer of buttercream on top. Continue adding layers of buttercream and fresh raspberries until you have almost reached the top edge of the mould. Level off the last layer of cusard using a palette knife.

Cut out two 15cm rounds from the remaining sponge sheet using a pastry cutter. Sandwich the two rounds of sponge together with a thin layer of raspberry jam. Place the two sponge rounds on top of the buttercream-filled mould. Place a layer of clingfilm over the top then place the 6 inch cake board on top. Trim any excess sponge from around the edges of the mould. Cover all with another layer of cling film over the top tightly. Chill for at least 4–6 hours or preferably overnight.

To make the decoration –
While your cake is setting in the fridge, make the flower decorations.

For the pink-coloured fondant, mix 400g white fondant with few drops of pink food paste colour to blend together a very pale shade. To prevent it from drying out, keep the sugar paste wrapped in cling film until use.

Make 3–4 flowers in different shades of pink fondant with sugar paste hardener added so that the flowers will air dry quicker and hold their shape.


To decorate
Once the cake has set, remove it from the fridge and turn it out on the 8 inch cake board. Remove the mould and the cling film.

On a surface dusted with icing sugar, roll the marzipan out to a thickness 3–4mm. It must be large enough to cover the dome. Using a rolling pin, lift the rolled marzipan and lay it over the dome cake. Smooth the marzipan down the sides of the dome using your fingers. Tuck the edges down and trim away any excess marzipan using a kitchen knife.

Roll out the pink sugar fondant and place over the marzipan the same way. Trim away any excess sugar paste as before.

Cut a 2.5cm wide strip or scalloped edge that is long enough to go all around the base of the dome to create a swag border.

To finish, placed a flower on top of the dome. Be creative its up to you but keep it simple!


This cake has a shelf life of 3 days when stored in the fridge, however the decoration may become soft and sticky in cold humid conditions. Therefore, I recommend making the cake no more than 2 days in advance of serving and consuming it.

within 1 day.

This recipe was inspired by the wonderful Dome Cake by Peggy Porschen.

Red Cake Day – Haemophilia Awareness Week

There are moments when you are presented with an opportunity to be involved in an event that has a wonderful purpose. The Haemophilia Foundation Australia has honoured me with the opportunity to design and make a cake to launch

“Haemophilia  Awareness Week”

Red Cake Day



After drawing countless designs I finally settled on the one I thought would best represent the theme of the event. This has been the largest cake I have ever attempted but I was looking forward to the challenge with great anticipation.

There is something special about working with RTR or ready to roll fondant its the moulding clay of the cake world. With my design in hand it was time to start the construction. A 5 tiered double barrel tower.


After approximately 35 hours countless flower petals, pipping and stencilling the “Red Cake Day” cake was finished.


I would like to take the opportunity to sincerely thank this wonderful team.


Haemophilia is a lifelong challenge which can be disabling and life-threatening without treatment. Your support during Haemophilia Awarness Week and Red Cake Day will help young Australians affected by haemophilia. To lend a hand please visit:

The Checkerboard Cake – Step by Step


Now as you look through the pictures you will notice that there is another baker in the house today. My husband who has never baked before has chosen to spend the cold wet Melbourne day baking. He has been all inspired by the checkerboard cake and decided that this was going to be todays challenge!

For this recipe please click on the link below. a bit of baking? Download recipes from Australia’s biggest baking reality series and try your hand at recreating them at home.

These are a few step by step pictures to help you along when making this cake and also some tips and hints to remember.

Step 1

Preparation is the key to all successful bakes,

Pre-heat the oven

Measure out all your ingredients

 Prepare your baking tins

Unless otherwise requested all ingredients should be at room temperature.

Step 2

You begin by aerating the butter, sugar and oil, till pale in colour and has a fluffy appearance add the eggs one at a time and remember to stop the mixer and scrap down the sides and  bottom of the bowl making sure all ingredients are mixed in well

I have chosen to alternate the addition of the dry ingredients – Flour and wet – Milk and juice while the mixer is on a medium speed

Divide the batter between the two cake tins and bake for approximately 45minutes

Please try NOT to open the oven door till your cake is at least 3/4 of the way through its set baking time…..resist the temptation to open the oven door!

Use a metal or wooden skewer to pierce the centre of the cake, it should come out clean if its sticky then leave the cake in the oven for a further 5 minutes and try again.

Once the cakes have baked allow them to cool in the tin for 5 – 10 minutes then flip them onto a cooling rack

Follow the same steps to make the Chocolate cakes

Step 3

While the final cakes are baking its time to prepare the Chocolate frosting

Bring the butter, water and brown sugar to a simmer, if the liquid has accidentally boiled remove it from the heat and allow it to cool down a bit before adding the chocolate (If you add the chocolate into boiling liquid it will burn and become grainy in texture) Once you have added the chocolate use a whisk and keep stirring till the chocolate and butter liquids become smooth and glossy…..YUM!

Pour it into another bowl and set aside to thicken and become spreadable

A copy of the template is in The Great Australian Bake Off Book that you can trace to use


Step 4

To get perfect looking squares you need to level the cakes first, this will require slicing the tops off all four cakes so that they are now flat and equal height

Once all the cakes are level, use the template to guide you around cutting the rings. Take your time its delicate and a little fiddly but so worth the effort.

Ok as a little reward for all that cutting and levelling stirring and baking I think a little tasting is in order.


Step 5

The assembly is a the fun part all the cakes are cut so its time to apply the frosting around the edges of the inner circles and reconstructing the cakes. You will need to alternate the colours to achieve the desired checkerboard result.

After completing each cake a good layer of frosting is spread and the next cake is constructed on top.

*Just a note you need enough frosting so that the rings will stick together but not so much frosting that the cake is swimming in frosting.

Step 6

Reserve about 3/4 cup Chocolate frosting for final decorations (set aside)

Once the cake has been constructed its time to pour the remaining frosting over the cake and using a pallet knife or cake decorating spatula evenly distribute the frosting around the cake

At this point you might like to experiment with different patterns like creating swirls, lines or just making the edges smooth

Using a piping bag with a star tip decorate the edges and grate some orange zest around the edge, this is the fun part and its entirely up to you

This is the sensational finished result………and what looks like one very exhausted but very proud Baker!

Prior to The Great Australian Bake Off I too have always seen and heard of the checkerboard cake but never attempted it. It is a gorgeous cake and the possibilities are endless when it comes to flavours although I love Chocolate & Orange I think I might make a Chocolate & Mint one in the very near future. I hope you all take the opportunity to bake the Checkerboard cake too. Enjoy.

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Episode 1: The Great Australian Bake Off – Cake

Children’s Party Cake

Vanilla and Raspberry Marble Cake with Pink Chocolate Mousse


I wanted to make a wonderful girly cake that had bursts of pink, butterflies and flowers a magical garden that would sparkle and delight. The original design had might I say alot more decorations on the cake but under the circumstances Im proud of my cake and delighted by the judges Kerry Vincent and Dan Lepards comments. I hope you all enjoy it too!


1 quantity of batter for a 10inch cake pan or two 7inch cake tins.

This cake will require 3 quantities of batter I made two 10 inch cakes and two 7 inch cakes.



3/4 cup Rice Bran Oil

1 3/4 cup Caster Sugar

4 Eggs and 2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon Queen Vanilla Bean Paste

3 cups Lighthouse SR Cake Flour

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 1/4 cups Buttermilk

2 teaspoons Raspberry Flavouring (available in most cake decorating stores)


Pre-heat the oven to 180C

Grease and line a 10 inch cake tin or two 7 inch tins with baking paper and set aside

1: Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside

2: Beat the sugar and eggs together till light and fluffy then add the oil and vanilla

3: Begin adding the flour and buttermilk alternating, mixing on a low speed so as to fold through to a smooth batter

4: Remove 1/2 a cup of batter and put aside in a bowl, pour the remaining cake batter into the cake tin

5: Add the raspberry flavouring to the reserved cake batter and mix well, pour this in a continuous stream over the vanilla batter and using a butter knife zig zag through to create a marble effect (remember not to over mix)

6: Bake for approximately 45 -50 minutes for a 10 inch cake 35 minutes for the 7 inch cake or till a skewer that has been inserted in the middle comes out clean

7: Once the cake has been baked allow it to cool completely in the tin before removing

Pink Chocolate Mousse


750g Nestle White Chocolate

2 1/2 cups Cream

2 – 3 drops Pink food Colour


1: Bring 1 cup of cream to a simmer and pour over the chocolate stirring till the chocolate has melted and the cream are now a smooth paste. Set aside to cool to room temperate

2:  Whip the remaining cream and allow it to come to room temperature ( if the cream is too cold when you fold through the chocolate may seize and become grainy in texture) Fold through the chocolate mix and the whipped cream ( try not to over mix as you will loose the air out of the whipped cream)


2 1/2 kg of White or pre mixed fondant

* Kneed you fondant well to remove any air bubbles and roll out 3-4 millimetre thickness

Use plunger cutters to create the flowers and butterflies use a sugar syrup or royal icing to attach these to the cake

Assembling your cake

1: Carefully cut the tops off your cakes and then slice them in half

2: Spread 3/4 cup full of the mousse between each layer of the large cake and 1/2 between the layers of the small cake (* To create an even surface on top use the base of the cake on top)

3: Once you have filled the cakes use the remaining mouse to cover the exterior of the cakes, smooth the edges and place the cake in the fridge to become firm.

4:  Cover with fondant and carefully smooth the edges and cut away any excess

5: Both cakes need to be placed on cake boards and to assemble you need to insert support structures like wooden cake dowels (these can be bought from all good cake decorating stores)

6: The decorating is all up to you I always like to draw a design first and then put the finishing touches in the cake




 Episode 1 – Star Baker Maria

A Show-stopping PEAR!

“Pear & Almond Cake”

This dessert tastes as good as it looks and did I mention

“Gluten Free”



Ive used Brown pears for this lovely cake. They have been simmered sill tender then the stem and seeds removed and pureed.


Ive used a gorgeous stencil, and dusted the top of the cake with icing sugar. Giving a delicious cake a beautiful finish!

Engagement Cakes and Birthday Cakes

Ive always enjoyed decorating cakes and when a friend asked if I could make her engagement cake well naturally I said YES! Then a familiar theme emerged she is a BIG fan of “The Great British Bake Off”. I hope she will love this cake and enjoy watching “The Great Australian Bake Off” just as much. Congratulations!


But the fun didn’t stop there, a birthday cake for another special lady on the same day! It must be a new trend Ive never put a teacup as a topper for a cake but then again there is always a first or as it happens a second time for everything. Decorating done and dusted for this week, now next week is going to be publicity days for the show Im so excited I cant wait.

Pretty in Pink and Pearls.




The Week that was!

What a wonderful week Ive had, jam packed!                                                                                                                                                                                                 On Monday I attended. Savour Chocolate & Patisserie School.

Tuesday a little running around, no let me say lot of running around. Just completing all those little things before the photo shoot tomorrow, Im so excited!I spent the whole day learning to make the most gorgeous and delightful dainty cakes under the guidance of Pastry Chef Robyn. A fantastic course, I feel so inspired, thank you to the whole team.

Wednesday, its 10.00am and the doorbell rings Emma, Tina, Jullian and Ian are here Woo Hoo!                                                                          Photo shoot for New Idea how my life has changed. On with all the wonderful make up, now which outfit to put on first. I just wanted to extend my arms and give them all a huge hug for being so wonderful and making us feel so comfortable. Thank you.

Ok Thursday is here! “250” little cakes to make I can do this, off course I can Ive been looking forward to helping my friend Peggy for a long time. I decide Id may 50 Lamingtons, 50 Citron Financiers, 50 Cupcakes, 50 Linzer Tarts and finally 50 petite Choux Pastries.

Good morning Friday! Ready to PARTY……Yay that was my week, so looking forward to the weekend.

Raspberry Tarts with Almond Petals
Raspberry Tarts with Almond Petals
Hazelnut & Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes
Hazelnut & Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes
Lemon & Lime Citron Financiers
Coconut & Lime Citron Fiancier
Orange Choux Pastries
Citron Choux Pastries