Lime, passionfruit and coconut celebration cake

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Last Tuesday it was my friend East’s birthday. So Patrick decided to invite him over to our place for dinner. Which, obviously, I had to cook. But that’s OK, Patrick was in charge of wine and there was going to be plenty of it. Also, cheeese. With four Es. Courtesy of April.

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I’d recently acquired a large amount of passionfruit from my mum’s vine, which I’d turned into passionfruit curd. In addition to this there was still a surplus of limes going on in my fruit bowl. Putting two and two together (or as the case may be, putting birthday and curd and limes together), I set out to create a cake that would utilise all these ingredients.
IMG_7374Starting with this recipe here I baked the actual cake part, substituting coconut cream for the buttermilk and adding the rind of some limes. When it was cooled I cut the cake in half horizontally and spread a layer of curd in there.IMG_7583

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Then I iced the bastard. I even did a crumb layer, which is explained in the directions below if you don’t know what it is.

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When dinner had been demolished, we turned down the lights, turned off the music and lit the candles. We sang a somewhat feeble three-voiced happy birthday and East blew out the candles.

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Then he cut the cake into enormous slices that no-one could finish.

And, inevitably, there was this:

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And then this:

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Perhaps soon I will share the recipe for the dinner I made. For now, start thinking of a reason to make this cake!

Ingredients:
250g butter, softened
2 cups caster sugar
4 large (or in my case 5 small) eggs
1 1/2 cups self rising flour
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1 cup coconut cream
rind of two limes

About 1/2 cup passionfruit curd (recipe here will make about twice as much as you need)

For icing:
250g spreadable cream cheese, left at room temperature for at least an hour
3tbsp lime juice
1 1/4 cups icing sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs. Next, gradually stir in flours. Add coconut cream and lime rind. Bake for 1 1/2-2 hours or until firm when jiggled. Take cake out of oven to cool. When cake is cool, take a knife and mark a ring around the cake horizontally. Slice gradually through cake, turning as you cut, so that you have two layers of cake. Spread cool passionfruit curd between layers. To make icing simply combine lime juice and icing sugar. Then stir in softened cream cheese. Ice cake with a thin layer of frosting and put whole cake in fridge for half an hour or in freezer for ten minutes. Then ice with a more generous coat. Decorate as desired.

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You Stay Classy White Christmas

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My sister and I have an unofficial Christmas tradition. Every year, sometime around the end of December, at some un-allocated moment, we burst into full Bing Crosby impersonation, belting out a version of White Christmas that could rival Christmas lunch for mass ham per capita. To be honest, Sarah is the one who usually upholds the Bing end of the deal. I do the “doo doo, doop de doop” bit.

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Let’s face it, even if you like Christmas, it’s weird and tacky, often either too sweet or not sweet enough. Which is why this white Christmas recipe uses only the sugar of a block of white chocolate and switches out the generic mixed dried fruit in favor of more interesting and, frankly, more festive things. Because, really, the best way to enjoy Christmas is to do whatever the hell you want. There’s a lot of pressure around this time to be at a certain place or buy a certain thing, to the extent that a lot of people find it difficult to enjoy themselves. I think it works a lot better without the pressure, when you finally decide to throw Copha to the wind and invest in some coconut oil. Which is a metaphor, baby. A metaphor for seasons-fucking-greetings. And it’s all for you.

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Disclaimer: this is softer than your usual white Christmas, because the coconut oil isn’t as hard as Copha. You gotta store this shit in the fridge yo. It’s also not as sweet and, hey, maybe you like things super sweet, so keep that in mind.

Ingredients:

250g coconut oil
220g white chocolate
3 cups puffed rice
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 1/2 cups of powdered milk
2 cups of mixed dried fruit (I used a combination of pineapples, craisins and figs)
pinch salt

Directions:

Add chocolate and coconut oil to bowl and allow to warm, either over a pot of hot water or in the microwave, until chocolate is melted. Leave to cool slightly and chop up dried fruit into small pieces. One by one add all other ingredients and stir until combined. Line a large baking tray and pour in mixture, flattening and evening until all space is filled. Put in the fridge for a few hours, remove and cut into pieces. Store in the fridge until ready to put in your mouth.

Boozy Cherry Brownies

Beginnings can be daunting – so why not begin with brownies? Not that these are exactly your average slab of chocolate slice kind of deal. Yeah, they taste a hell of a lot like chocolate and, yeah, they’re awesome, but there’s no chocolate (per-se) in them, or butter, and they’re not so much like a comforting crocheted blanket pulled up to your chin on a winter’s night as they are like a comforting kick in the face.

Really the only reason I made these was because my mum came to stay with me after a trip to Canberra. She’d been to Costco while she was there – adventure city that our national capital is – and bought me a huge bag of dried cherries. I hadn’t been baking much at the time, because I was pretty busy, kinda poor – oh, and my oven sucks. Then the cherries arrived and I decided brownies were in order.

These are boozy, dark and full of tart-sweet kahlua-soaked cherries. Given the only fat in them is half a cup of oil, they aren’t as heavy as most brownies. However, they are very intense and also rather shiny, like a gilded chocolate breastplate (I’ve been reading A Clash of Kings). If for whatever reason you can’t/won’t use dried cherries, you could use craisins. Or even substitute the kahlua for rum and the cherries for raisins for rum ‘n’ raisin brownies. Do what you like. I’m not your mother.

Ingredients:

1 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup kahlua (or some other liqueur)
3 eggs
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla
½ cup vegetable or nut oil
1 cup cocoa
½ cup plain flour
½ cup desiccated coconut
½ tsp salt

Directions:

Soak cherries in kahlua overnight (or you can put them in the microwave for a few minutes until they soak up some of the liquid). When your cherries have plumped up, combine eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in flour, cocoa, coconut, salt. Then add the cherries and kahlua. Pour mixture into lined brownie tin. Cook in moderate oven for about 30 minutes or until the top of the brownies looks set. If you wobble the tray and nothing moves of its own accord: they’re done. Let the brownies cool and cut them into squares.