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You will need a square 20cm (base measurement) cake pan for this recipe.
Melted butter, to grease
145g (¾ cup) raisins
1 ½ tablespoons Cointreau
1 teaspoon fresh orange juice
1 x 520g sliced raisin loaf
150g good-quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
5 eggs, lightly whisked
250ml (1 cup) cream
160ml (2/3 cup) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
Icing sugar mixture, to dust
Step 1 – Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a square 20cm (base measurement) cake pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line the base and 2 opposite sides with non-stick baking paper. Combine raisins, Cointreau and orange juice in a bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes to develop the flavours.
Step 2 – Spread 1 side of each slice of bread with butter and cut in half crossways. Arrange one-third of the bread, buttered-side up, over base of prepared pan. Sprinkle with half the raisin mixture and half the chocolate. Top with half the remaining bread and sprinkle with remaining raisin mixture and chocolate. Top with the remaining bread.
Step 3 – Whisk together the egg, cream, milk, vanilla and orange rind in a jug. Pour the egg mixture over the bread and set aside for 10 minutes to soak.
Step 4 – Bake in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes (cover with foil if cake is browning too quickly) or until custard is set. Remove from oven. Set aside in the pan to cool. Dust with icing sugar and cut into squares to serve.
You’ll need a 33cm x 42cm cake board and toothpicks
2 x 340g packets golden buttercake mix or 2 quantities Homemade buttercake (see related recipe)
2 x 165g packets jam rollettes (see Cooking class)
2 quantities Buttercream icing (see below)
Blue food colouring
10 x 6g packets Candy Rolls or Fizzers
2 large round peppermints
5cm piece licorice twist
4cm piece licorice strap
1 ½ cups icing sugar mixture
1 tablespoon milk
Step 1 – Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Lightly grease an 8 cup-capacity metal pudding steamer.
Step 2 – Prepare packet cakes following packet directions, or homemade cakes (see related recipe). Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour or until cooked through. Stand cake in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Step 3 – Using a serrated knife, level top of cake if necessary. Place cake, cut-side down, on board to form the body. Using the picture as a guide, position rollettes around base of cake to form tentacles. Secure with toothpicks.
Step 4 – Make icing: Using an electric mixer, beat butter in a bowl until pale. Gradually add icing sugar mixture and milk, beating constantly until combined.
Step 5 – Tint icing blue. Spread over top and sides of cake and rollettes, adding extra icing to cake top. Dab with a palette knife to create texture. Position Candy Rolls or Fizzers on tentacles to form suckers. Cut two 5mm pieces from licorice twist. Using a little icing, attach 1 piece licorice twist to each mint. Position mints on body to form eyes.
Step 6 – Cut licorice strap into a 2mm wide, 4cm long piece. Position licorice strap under eyes to form mouth. Serve.
Fresh cherries or mixed berries and whipped cream, to serve
Step 1 – Preparing the pan: Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease a 24cm round cake pan, then line the side of the pan with the long piece of baking paper (see Measuring Up, below); the ends should overlap slightly, so trim using scissors if too long. Place the paper round in the base of the pan.
Step 2 – Cutting the fruit Spray a knife with cooking oil spray (this helps prevent the dried fruit sticking to the knife). Using the claw technique (see Cooking Techniques, below), finely chop dates, glace cherries, figs and ginger, then place in a large bowl. Alternatively, finely cut fruit using kitchen scissors.
Step 3 – Preparing the filling Process almonds, Brazil nuts and pecans in a food processor, pulsing in short bursts, until roughly chopped. Tip into the bowl with the dried fruit. Using your hands, break the chocolate into small pieces and add to the fruit and nut mixture. Add cinnamon, then, using your hands, toss well to combine.
Step 4 – Whisking the egg whites Place sugar in a small cup. Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites to soft peaks (see Cooking Techniques). With the motor running, gradually ‘rain in’ the sugar, whisking until thick and glossy, and the sugar is dissolved (see Cooking Techniques).
Step 5 – Combining the ingredients Add the meringue to the filling and, using a large metal spoon, gently fold in until evenly combined. Spoon into the prepared pan. Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, level the meringue mixture.
Step 6 – Baking the cake: Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 45 minutes or until firm to the touch and top is golden. Turn off the oven and cool cake completely in the oven with the oven door held ajar with a wooden spoon; this takes about 3 hours.
Step 7 – Serving the cake Invert cake onto a plate, lift pan away, then invert cake onto another plate so cake is sitting right-side up. Dust cake with icing sugar and top with fresh cherries. Serve with whipped cream.
Step 1 – Combine the mixed fruit and brandy in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside overnight to macerate.
Step 2 – Combine the dates, water and bicarbonate of soda in a heatproof bowl. Set aside for 20 minutes to soften.
Step 3 – Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 2L (8 cup) pudding basin with butter. Line the base with non-stick baking paper. Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the brandy mixture, date mixture, flour, mixed spice and ginger until just combined. Spoon into the prepared basin and smooth the surface. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the basin for 10 minutes to cool.
Step 4 – To make the spiced caramel sauce, combine the cream, sugar, butter, ginger and mixed spice in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until smooth. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly.
Step 5 – Turn the pudding out onto a serving platter and serve with the caramel sauce and cream, if desired.
Step 1 – Using an electric mixer, beat cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in yoghurt and ¼ cup berries until just combined.
Step 2 – Divide 2/3 cup remaining berries between four 2 cup-capacity glasses. Sprinkle with half the biscotti. Spoon 2 tablespoons cheese mixture into each glass. Repeat layers, finishing with berries. Serve.
Step 1 – Preheat oven to 220°C. Brush four round 8cm (base measurement) 150ml-capacity ovenproof ramekins with melted butter to lightly grease. Place ramekins in a roasting pan.
Step 2 – Combine the egg, cream, milk, vanilla essence and 55g (1/4 cup) of the sugar in a jug.
Step 3 – Place the remaining sugar in a medium heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring with a metal spoon, for 3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves and starts to caramelise. Add enough boiling water to the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Pour the hot caramel evenly among ramekins.
Step 4 – Pour the milk mixture evenly among ramekins. Cover each ramekin with foil. Cook in preheated oven for 12 minutes. Uncover ramekins and cook for a further 5 minutes or until custard sets. Remove from oven. Carefully turn the baked caramel custards into shallow bowls and serve immediately.
Step 1 – Make rosemary pears: Place ingredients in a bowl and stir gently to coat pears. Arrange pears in a single layer in an ovenproof dish. Pour over marinade.
Step 2 – Preheat oven to 200°C. Combine mince, onion, apple, parsley, breadcrumbs and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk egg and milk together. Add to mince mixture. Stir to combine.
Step 3 – Line a greased 7cm deep, 12cm x 20cm (base) loaf pan with prosciutto slices, leaving ends hanging over sides. Spoon mince mixture into pan, pressing down firmly with the back of a spoon. Fold prosciutto over to cover top. Bake for 30 minutes. Place pears on shelf below meatloaf and bake both for 30 minutes or until meatloaf is firm in the centre.
Step 4 – Drain fat from meatloaf. Stand meatloaf for 5 minutes. Slice. Serve with pears, spinach and pear pan juices.