Vanilla Naked Cake with Berries and Cherries

IMG_5921To celebrate that our Mother was turning 80, I decided to have a party with some of her friends. In all twenty eight guests arrived, some had known Shirley since she was a little girl and others were more recent friends. All her children were there, my brother and his wife from Florida and my sister and my niece flew in from Perth. Even one of Mum’s cousins had flown in from New Zealand and my dear school friend came in from Sydney. Of course I catered for the party so there was a lot going on in my kitchen that week but my favourite item was the cake! I made a double layered Vanilla Yoghurt Cake with Philadelphia cream cheese icing and decorated it with fresh berries, cherries and tiny roses. It brought sighs from the guests and Shirley was delighted. Isn’t that what a birthday cake is meant to do? The best news about these cakes are that they are quite easy to put together so I’m sharing the recipe with you. Perhaps you have a loved one with a birthday soon?

IMG_5831Vanilla Yoghurt Cake


1 cup canola oil
1  cup caster sugar
3 free range eggs
1 cup full fat vanilla yoghurt
1 teaspoon of real Vanilla Essence
3 cups self-raising flour


Two packets of Philadelphia Cream Cheese and half a cup of icing sugar mixture.

Method for Cake

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin. (I made two of these).

Whisk together the vegetable oil and caster sugar in a mixer or with a hand mixer. Add the eggs one at a time and whisk again. Then mix in the yoghurt and vanilla essence. Fold through the flour like you would with a muffin mix – a little lumpy is OK so don’t over mix. Then pour into the prepared cake tin.

Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven or until cooked through.


Just place the cream cheese and icing sugar in a blender and whisk until thoroughly mixed.

To decorate the cake place the cake on a platter and then spread a good layer of the cream cheese icing on top. This can be followed by another layer if you are making a large cake.

Ask your florist for some edible roses, not that guests will eat them but so that the cake is safe to eat. Sprinkle alternate berries, cherries and heads of roses and then shake icing sugar over the whole cake. Poke a few berries and roses in between the two layers into the icing.


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Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

CheeseCakeBrownies-8Have you noticed the amazing array of cakes, biscuits, brownies and slices that are available all over Brisbane? There was a time when everything was sourced from the same commercial bakery, but not anymore. I find it inspiring to see what creativity there is in kitchens all over Australia.

One morning I was out at Milk Bar Cafe in Ashgrove enjoying my coffee, when I peered into the cabinet and saw these amazing delights. Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies! What more could you want than the combination of two decadent treats! I ordered one on the premise I needed to try some for research reasons! Mmmmmm so delicious. When I returned home with what I guessed would be the right ingredients, I did a bit of research and started baking. I changed the recipe so that the top and bottom should work out to be of equal proportions now. This one I photographed was a bit thin on top.

CheeseCakeBrownies-6So here is the recipe… enjoy!

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies


(as high percent cocoa as possible)

500g castor sugar

(free range)


Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 25 x 25cm tin.

Place the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until melted. Set aside to cool slightly.

Cream the butter and 350g of the caster sugar until pale, then add 3 of the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the melted chocolate, then fold in the flour. Spread all of the mixture into the lined pan. Bash down on the counter top a few times to make it as flat as possible.

In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese, remaining sugar and eggs and the vanilla extract until smooth, then spread over the chocolate base.

Poke the raspberries into the top and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes.


Place in fridge overnight and cut into squares in the morning.


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Deconstructed Blueberry Tart with Coconut Cream

IMG_1812bI have noticed how many things have changed with blogging. When I first started, I was not offered free food samples, I was not invited along to restaurants, food shows, radio shows and other events. No one even knew I existed. It was just me and my computer. I have been writing about recipes and my travels for over five years now and it has just become more and more fashionable to be a food blogger.

I wrote up my recipes as a way of recording what I was doing. The fact that anybody was interested was a huge bonus. Then came Twitter and Instagram and on some days, I feel like it is all a big competition. Who has the most “likes” “followers” “visits”. I am not sure that I am ready to tackle all of this. Then there is the ethics of accepting gifts, and whether to make something with the product and promote it or not. I always try to make it obvious that I have been given the product but sometimes I wonder why I am promoting someone’s product? For all these reason and more I have not been posting weekly like a usually do.

So, I have decided to “Keep It Simple Stupid!” and get back to cooking and the recipes.

This recipe was inspired by some tart pastry that I made. I grated the zest of a lime through the dough and it made it fresh and zingy! Blueberries are in season and so cheap at the moment, so I included lots of these sprinkled on the top. I thought it made a nice change to make something everyone could dig into with a spoon. A share dessert.



  • 225g / 8 oz plain flour
  • 110g / 4 oz butter
  • 80g / 3 oz sugar
  • a little milk
  • 1 large egg
  • zest from one lime


 Crumb together by hand the butter into the flour, add the sugar then mix in the egg and enough milk to form a soft dough – add lime zest.

Roll this out to a shape that you are happy with. I pressed a few cookie shapes out of the sides too. Place on the middle rack of the 175C oven for 10-15 mins.

Coconut Cream

For the Coconut Cream you will need a can of coconut cream and 250ml of cream for whipping.


Take the thick part of the coconut cream from the top of the can and whip it until it looks like whipped cream.

Whip the cream and then combine with a tablespoon of icing sugar.

To assemble

Carefully place a sheet of pastry on a board or platter. Place a big dollop of the coconut cream where ever you think it looks nice, and sprinkle blueberries all over it. Dust with icing sugar and serve with lots of spoons. Share and enjoy!



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