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    Easter 2014


    Christmas 2013

    This year I have Christmas all wrapped up, literally - the amount of ribbons I have tied!  I will have a market stall in the lobby of No 1 Bligh Street, Sydney (corner Bent St) on Wednesday December 18 from 8am to 2.30pm.  It is open to the public, so all will be welcome to drop by.  If you can't make it on the day, you can order from me direct for deliveries prior to Christmas.  Just drop me an email on

    I will have the following on sale:

    Mulled Wine Cakes in cake tins - $45 each or two for $80

    Mini Mulled Wine Cakes (1-2 portions) - $10 

    Amaretti Gift Bags - $25 (15 Amaretti)

    Lemon Myrtle Shortbread - $25

    Lemon Curd with Lemon Myrtle Shortbread Biscuits - $15

    Assorted Jams - $8

    Hamper with Mini Mulled Wine Cake, small Amaretti Gift Bag and Jam - $35


    The Nutty Baker Mentoring Program

    I have recently partnered with Stretch A Family, a non profit Foster Care organisation based in Marrickville to provide hands on cooking classes to equip the young people with practical life skills.   

    Classes are held on a weekly basis, after which everyone sits back to feast on the
    day’s creations. Cooking is, without a doubt, one of the most important things a person will
    ever learn. It is a critical life skill and can be very therapeutic too.
    Using ingredients that are readily available at the supermarket, the young people are learning how
    to cook simple, nutritious, affordable and tasty food. This is a chance to be armed with
    sensible, practical knowledge they can take into the world and every day for the rest of
    their lives.


    I will keep you posted on how the program progresses. 

    For further information about Stretch a Family, please visit their website: 



    A Food Tech Experiment -- Coconut Oil/Gluten Free/Low Sugar

    Read on if interested in finding out how I tried to minimise the sugar and fat content of a cake to please my Health Nut Friend as well as my own longstanding curiosity. 

    I used the basis of a gluten free chocolate cake which has proved overly popular amongst my clients. The original cake is based on prunes soaked in red wine, mixed into melted dark chocolate, butter and egg yolks, with firm peaked egg whites folded in for aeration. In total, there are 4 tablespoons of sugar: 1 in the prunes/red wine soak, and 3 used to stiffen the egg whites.

    My Health Nut Friend had tried this cake and asked if I could replace the butter with coconut oil and remove the sugar. He also asked me to replace the red wine.

    I used an Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, refrigerated to get the oil to a starting density similar to butter. I was concerned about melting it together with the chocolate, but with a little extra time, the coconut oil melted, leaving a thin chocolate consistency. Would it be too thin? 

    I then started to soak the prunes. Instead of red wine, I used Rooibos Tea. How to describe the flavour of Rooibos? Floral and earthy? Fingers crossed it would work with the prunes and the overall taste. I omitted the 1 tablespoon of sugar used in the original recipe.

    Now onto the egg whites. Would they stiffen with only a pinch of salt and a small amount of sugar? The salt worked its wonders, and just 1 tablespoon of sugar was enough to balance the salt flavour and build firm peaked egg whites, instead of 3 in the original recipe.

    Back to the prunes, now infused with a subtle Rooibos flavour. Mixed into the chocolate/coconut oil mix and it is tasting good. Built up with the egg whites, and it was ready for final judgement in the oven.

    In comparison to the original recipe baking time of 30 mins, this version took an additional 20 minutes to bake. With patience and a whole heap of guess work, I gave it another 20 minutes... Success! Good colour, touch and just the right smell. 

    All that's left is taste. Tasty? In my opinion, yes. It is not super sweet, obviously, but rich, dense and full of chocolate. The flavour of the coconut oil is present, but not overwhelming, blending well with the chocolate. The Rooibos flavour, subtle but not bitter, which could have been a problem. 

    Remaining questions/comments:
    - Is Coconut Oil the same as Copha? I have a feeling it is.

    - Is Coconut Oil even good for you? Health Nut Friend, please respond.

    - While I limited the additional sugar in the cake, there was sugar in the dark chocolate. However, I used a high quality dark chocolate with a 73% cocoa content, which means the sugar content was 27%, equivalent to roughly 88 grams for the whole cake, plus 1 tablespoon of sugar (12g). In total, 100g of sugar for the whole cake, with 10-12 servings. 

    - Will my Health Nut Friend be happy...?  Here is what he said "Cake eaten in 3 days, over 15 people, verdict, AMAZING, feel bad for eating cake? NOPE, not this one :)".