Pistachio & White Chocolate Financiers

Named because of their resemblance to a block of gold, these beautiful, flavoursome morsels are a bit fiddly to make but so worthwhile. I use a Kmart silicone mini loaf pan for mine so they’re slightly bigger than the average financier but when they’re this delicious – the bigger the better!

Begin this recipe the day ahead.

Ingredients (makes 12)
Pistachio praline paste
150g caster sugar
150g shelled unsalted, unroasted pistachios

Pistachio financiers
180g unsalted butter
170g icing sugar
80g pistachio meal (I make my own by blitzing unsalted pistachios in a food processor until you reach a sand-like texture)
70g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
120g egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

White chocolate & pistachio whipped ganache
400ml thickened cream
150g white chocolate, chopped
50g pistachio praline paste

To decorate
Fresh raspberries, halved
Pistachios, chopped
Edible gold leaf (optional)


Day before serving:
To make the pistachio praline paste, line a baking tray with baking paper. Combine the sugar, and 50ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil (do not stir at this stage). Once the syrup is boiling, add the pistachios. Stir until the sugar crystallises around the pistachios then continue cooking until the sugar re-melts and caramelises. Remove from the heat and pour onto prepared baking tray. Once cooled, break into shards and blitz in a good processor until it liquefies and forms a paste (it may take up to 15 minutes).

To make the financier batter, cook the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat until it browns (wait until the foam subsides and you have a medium-dark colour). Set aside to cool. Whisk the icing sugar, pistachio meal, flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl until combined. Mix in the egg whites and vanilla, then pour in the burnt butter and mix until just combined. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.

For the white chocolate & pistachio whipped ganache, put all the ingredients in a small microwave safe bowl and melt in 30-second bursts on medium. Stir to combine, then cover and transfer into the fridge to chill overnight.

Day of serving:
Preheat the oven to 160ºC (approx. 140ºC fan-forced). Spoon the financier batter into the mini loaf pan moulds, filling each approximately one-third full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until they are golden brown and crisp at the edges. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, then pop them out of the moulds and onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, briefly whisk the chilled ganache mixture until just fluffy. Transfer the whipped ganache to a piping bag fitted with a Wilton #104 petal nozzle and pipe the ganache onto the top of the financiers. Decorate with fresh raspberries, pistachios and gold leaf. Enjoy!

Adapted from ‘Pistachio financiers’ in First, Cream the Butter and Sugar by Emelia Jackson.


Vegan Lemon Cake with Blueberry Compote

Don’t be put off by the title, you’d never guess that this tender, zesty lemon cake is vegan. Feel free to omit the icing if you’re not a big fan of coconut.

Ingredients (serves 10-12)
1¾ cups flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarb soda
¼ teaspoon fine salt
⅔ cup canola oil
¾ cup caster sugar
1 cup full fat coconut milk (including as much of the thicker cream as possible)
Zest of 2 lemons, plus 45ml lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blueberry compote
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1½ teaspoons cornflour

Coconut icing
1 cup coconut yoghurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons icing sugar


Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease the sides and line the base of a 20cm round cake tin with baking paper.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar and coconut milk, then add in the lemon zest, juice and vanilla.

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, whisking to combine, then pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30–35 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool completely in its tin.

To make the blueberry compote, place the blueberries, lemon juice, sugar and 50ml of cold water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and leave to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the blueberries have softened. Remove from the heat.

Combine the conflour with 1½ teaspoons of cold water in a small cup. Stir the paste into the blueberries, put back on a medium heat and stir for about 30 seconds, or until thickened. Pour into a jug to cool and set.

To make the icing, combine yoghurt, vanilla and icing sugar in a small bowl.

Just before serving, invert the cake onto a serving plate or cake stand and top with icing and compote (I like to swirl the two together). Enjoy!

Adapted from ‘Lemon Tendercake with Blueberry Compote’ in Nigella Lawson’s At My Table.

Passionfruit Chiffon Cake

It’s probably no secret by now that I absolutely love passionfruit and this cake is like eating a passionfruit cloud.

Making this cake requires you to do a few things that may raise some eyebrows, but it results in a cake so impossibly light and airy, it’s worth it.

You’ll need a 23cm two-piece angel food cake tin for this recipe and a bottle that is the right size for the hole in the tin (see pic below).

Ingredients (serves 12-14)
8-10 passionfruit
300g caster sugar
240g plain flour
15g baking powder
2g fine salt
300g eggwhites (approx 10 eggs) and 140g egg yolk (approx 7 eggs)
4g cream of tartar
110ml canola oil

Passionfruit sour cream glaze
200g icing sugar
65g sour cream (full fat)
1 passionfruit


Preheat oven to 150°C fan-forced. Do NOT grease or line the tin (unlike most other bakes, we want the cake to stick to the sides of the tin).

Scrape out passionfruit pulp into a jug and whisk vigorously. If under 180ml, add some orange juice or water to make up the shortfall.

Weigh the sugar in a medium bowl. Take out 2 tablespoons’ worth to add to the egg whites later. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the bowl and set aside.

Place the egg whites and cream of tartar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until the egg whites are stiff and white. Start adding the reserved sugar to the egg whites gradually (about a teaspoon every 30 seconds) and beat until you have a white, smooth, glossy mixture.

Put the oil, egg yolks and passionfruit in a wide bowl and whisk to combine. Sift the dry ingredients over the yolk mix and combine with a silicone spatula to form a loose batter. Gently fold in one-third of the egg white mixture. Then add in the remaining egg white mixture and gently combine until no white streaks remain.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin, wiping away any batter smears around the sides or centre of the tin. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until golden and the cake around the centre tube looks dry. Wearing oven mitts, remove from the oven and immediately invert the centre tube onto a bottle. Let it hang for 2-3 hours or until the tin is completely cool.

To release the cooled cake, run a thin knife around the edge of the tin, ensuring you get right to the bottom. Turn the chiffon cake out onto a serving plate.

To make the passionfruit sour cream glaze, sift the icing sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the sour cream and passionfruit. Using the paddle attachment, beat on a low speed at first, then increase to medium until combined. Add a little extra icing sugar if too wet, or a small amount of sour cream if too thick.

Spoon the glaze around the outer edge of the cake first, then over the top. Leave to set for 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from ‘Passionfruit cloud chiffon cake’ in Natalie Paull’s Beatrix Bakes

Spiced Apple Layer Cake

This ultra soft, fluffy cake is heavy on the spices and topped with a delicious brown butter cream cheese frosting. The cake’s texture comes from using cake flour rather than ordinary flour which is lower in protein and gives you a tender, light crumb every time. Please don’t be tempted to use ordinary flour – it’s worth the fuss of buying (or making your own) I promise!

I use the Christina Tosi Milk Bar method for this cake – making a large sheet cake, cutting it into three layers with a six inch cake ring and constructing it using six inch acetate. It cooks faster, doesn’t require multiple cake tins and ensures perfectly even layers every time. If you don’t have this equipment, you can make a four-layered version with two 18cm round cake tins – just increase the baking time by about 10-20mins, carefully slice each cake in half and divide the frosting into quarters rather than thirds.

Ingredients (serves 14)
380g brown sugar
350g cake flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1½ teaspoons bicarb soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
200g sour cream (full fat)
200ml milk (full cream)
4 eggs
100ml canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
400g tinned apple pieces

Brown butter cream cheese frosting
110g unsalted butter
125g cream cheese (full fat), softened
150g icing sugar
40g sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste


Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced) and grease and line a 9 by 13 inch quarter sheet pan with baking paper.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the brown sugar, flour, spices, baking powder, bicarb soda and salt on low speed until combined.

Pour the sour cream, milk, eggs, oil and vanilla into a jug and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined, scraping the bowl with a spatula to ensure all ingredients are integrated.

Gently fold the apple pieces through the batter with a spatula.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before gently turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cake is baking, make the brown butter for the frosting. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring continuously. Once the butter has melted, boiled, the foaming subsides and the butter has sufficiently browned (I like mine quite dark), transfer the butter into a bowl and refrigerate until set and firm.

Once the cake is completely cooled, place it onto a large chopping/bread board. Using the picture below as a guide, use a six inch metal cake cutter to cut out two full rounds of cake and two half pieces.

To make the frosting, beat the set brown butter in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on a medium speed for 4-5 minutes or until completely smooth. Add the cream cheese and mix for a further 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl at regular intervals to ensure no lumps. Add the icing sugar, sour cream and vanilla and beat for a further 2-3 minutes or until the icing is fluffy and light.

Clean the cake ring and then place onto a plate or cake stand. Line the inside of the cake ring with a ‘collar’ of acetate. Place the two half pieces of cake at the bottom and press down firmly. If there are any gaps, use extra cake scraps to fill in the holes and press down very firmly to make one even layer. Top with approximately one-third of the frosting, using a cranked spatula to spread right to the edges.

Repeat with the remaining cake and frosting. Place cake in the fridge for at least 3 hours to set.

Gently slide off the cake ring and peel away the acetate strip. Keep refrigerated until approximately half an hour before serving. Cut into pieces (I like to use this method) and serve. Enjoy!

Cake adapted from ‘Spiced apple layer cake with brown butter cream cheese icing’ in Emelia Jackson’s First, Cream the Butter and Sugar.

Passionfruit Fizz Cocktail

Prepare to meet your new favourite drink. I first tried this on Christmas day and immediately knew this cocktail was special – the perfect blend of sweet and sour, lightly fizzy and oh boy does it go down easily! Turns out I wasn’t the only one feeling this way and I’ve been inundated with requests for the recipe each time I’ve made it.

It’s super easy to make this a mocktail – just omit the alcohol.

Ingredients (makes 1 jug)
2 lemons
4 passionfruit
Approx. 300ml Bickford’s Pineapple and Passionfruit Cordial
Approx. ½ cup sugar syrup (purchased or make your own by simmering equal parts water and sugar for 10-15 mins)
Gin or vodka
1.25l chilled soda water

Juice one of the lemons, discarding seeds, and pour into a large jug. Cut the other lemon into thin slices and set aside.

Scoop out the passionfruit flesh and add to lemon juice.

Add approximately 300ml cordial, ¼ cup sugar syrup, a generous splash of gin or vodka and soda water. Adjust ingredients according to taste. Serve with lemon slices and ice. Enjoy!

Adapted from ‘Pineapple and passionfruit gin fizz’ in Woolworths Fresh Magazine, December 2022

Strawberry Lover’s Cake (Dairy Free)

This cake is perfect for the strawberry lover in your life and just so happens to be dairy free! I made this after a very successful haul strawberry picking at Beerenberg Farms just out of Adelaide as we were up to our eyeballs in fresh strawberries.

If you don’t need the cake to be dairy free, substitute the dairy-free yoghurt for a Greek-style yoghurt with a drop of vanilla extract and the dairy-free butter for unsalted butter.

Ingredients (serves 8)
250g fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
225g dairy-free yoghurt (I used Chobani vanilla oat yoghurt)
3 eggs
100ml canola oil
250g caster sugar
180g plain flour
1½ teaspoon baking powder

Strawberry Icing
50g fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
40g dairy-free butter, room temperature
1-1½ cups icing sugar

250g fresh strawberries, hulled and halved, to serve


Preheat the oven to 160ºC fan-forced. Line a 30 x 10cm loaf tin with baking paper.

Whisk the yoghurt, eggs and oil in a large bowl until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, flour and baking powder together. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the yoghurt mix until just combined.

Spread half of the cake batter over the base of the lined tin. Fold the strawberries into the remaining batter, then spread on top (this prevents all of the berries sinking to the bottom).

Bake the cake for 55-65 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool in the tin for 15min before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing, blend strawberries with a stick blender until puréed. Add softened butter to a large mixing bowl and use an electric beater to beat until fluffy (about 1 minute). Add strawberry purée and beat until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula as needed. Add icing sugar ¼ cup at a time and beat after each addition until the icing is thick yet spreadable.

Once the cake is completely cool, spread the icing over the top of the cake with a spatula and top with halved strawberries. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from ‘Strawberry yoghurt cake with whipped yoghurt’ in First, Cream the Butter and Sugar by Emelia Jackson.

Spiced Chocolate Sugar Cookies

These spiced chocolate sugar cookies are super quick and easy to whip up, leaving plenty of time for more important things, like decorating and eating!

Ingredients (makes approximately 40 cookies)
170g butter, chopped (straight from the fridge)
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups plain flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon ginger powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
Packet of royal icing (I use Queen brand)
Red food dye


Preheat oven to 150ºC fan-forced. Line 2 large trays with baking paper.

Add butter, sugar and vanilla to the large bowl of a stand mixer. Beat butter and sugar on low speed, then turn up to medium until butter and sugar is completely combined. Add egg and beat briefly until egg has been dispersed. Add flour, cocoa, spices and baking powder and mix on low speed until it comes together.

Shape into a large disc and roll out with a rolling pin on a clean surface until it’s at your desired thickness (I like mine around 5-6mm). Use cookie cutters to cut out cookies and carefully transfer them to your prepared trays.

Bake for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool briefly on the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Repeat with the rest of the dough.

For the icing, follow the packet instructions and colour half of the mix red, leaving the remainder white. Transfer into snaplock bags, cut the corner (keep the cut nice and small) and pipe the cookies as desired. Top with mini m&ms, sprinkles or leave plain.

Recipe adapted from The Sweetest Menu’s ‘Chocolate Sugar Cookies’.

Rudolph’s Chocolate & Salted Caramel Tart

The simple addition of red M&Ms, candy eyeballs and pretzel halves turn this family favourite dessert into a Christmas classic. Start this dessert at least 8 hours ahead of serving (I make the caramel the night before).

Ingredients (serves 10-12)
1 x 395g can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Big pinch sea salt flakes
1½ cups plain flour
3 tspns icing sugar
140g cold butter, chopped
1 egg yolk
2 tblspns water
150g dark chocolate melts
½ cup thickened cream
12 red M&Ms
24 candy eyes
12 pretzels, cut in half to look like antlers


To make the caramel filling, put the unopened can of condensed milk into a large saucepan and fill with enough water to just cover the to of the tin. Bring the water to the boil, then turn down the heat until the water is simmering. Keep simmering for 3½ hours, ensuring you top up the water regular so the can is still fully submerged. Allow to cool for 30 mins in the water before carefully removing. Carefully open the can and scrape the caramel into a small bowl. Add vanilla and sea salt flakes to taste.

To make the pastry, put flour, icing sugar, butter, yolk and water into a food processor and process until just come together. Press dough into a ball, knead gently on a floured surface until smooth; cover, refrigerate 30 mins.

Preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced. Lightly grease a 24cm flan tin. After resting, roll dough on floured surface until large enough to line the tin. Lift pastry into tin, ease into sides and trim the edge.

Place tin on an oven tray, line pastry with baking paper and fill with pie weights or uncooked rice. Bake for 15 mins then remove baking paper and weights and bake, uncovered for a further 15-20 mins or until pastry case is golden browned and crisp. Leave to cool.

Once the pastry is completely cool, spoon in the caramel and smooth the top with a silicone spatula. Refrigerate for 30 mins.

To make the chocolate ganache, place the dark chocolate melts and cream in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Stir continuously until the chocolate has melted and the ganache is glossy and smooth. Set aside for a couple of minutes to cool slightly.

Pour the chocolate ganache onto the caramel layer and refrigerate for a further 30 mins to set .

Once set, cut the tart into 10-12 slices. Decorate each slice with a red M&M nose, 2 candy eyes and 2 pretzel antlers. Serve and enjoy!

Tart recipe adapted from Beatrix Bake’s salty dulce de leche, the Australian Women’s Weekly pastry & Donna Hay’s chocolate ganache. Reindeer inspiration from Instagram.

Lemon, Mango & Passionfruit Trifle

This trifle is a cinch to put together and can be made ahead of time but looks amazing – making it the perfect Christmas dessert! Everyone will love the classic summery flavours and textural surprises and there’s no booze, so the whole family can enjoy.

Ingredients (serves 10-12)
2 cups luscious lemon curd (or bought curd if you prefer)
8 passionfruit
600ml thickened cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
2 tspns vanilla extract
1 vanilla sponge cake, cut into squares (I bought mine, but you could use this recipe to make your own)
900g vanilla custard (I used Paul’s Double Thick Custard in French Vanilla)
2 mangoes (I used Kensington Pride)
1 packet meringue kisses
½ cup coconut flakes


Make the lemon curd and refrigerate until cool.

To make the passionfruit cream, combine cream, vanilla and icing sugar in a large bowl and beat on high speed until very thick. Gently stir through the pulp of 5 passionfruit.

Toast your coconut flakes in a frypan over a medium-high heat until golden brown and fragrant.

Cut up the mangoes into long slices, discarding the skin and pit.

To assemble the trifle, place an even layer of sponge cake squares in the bottom of the dish.

Top with vanilla custard and approximately two-thirds of the mango slices.

Crush approximately 10-12 mini meringue kisses and sprinkle over the top of the mango.

Top with approximately two-thirds of the passionfruit cream mixture and the pulp of an extra passionfruit.

Gently spoon on the lemon curd, taking care not to mix it with the cream.

Allow to set in the fridge.

Just prior to serving, spoon the remaining passionfruit cream onto the curd and then top with remaining mango slices, passionfruit pulp (I left a whole passionfruit) and toasted coconut flakes.

Recipe inspired by delicious. magazine’s ‘Mango Dacquiri Trifle’, December 2022/January 2023 issue.

Chocolate Snowman Puddles

These adorable chocolate snowman puddles are such a fun and simple no-bake Christmas treat. Perfect for making with little ones – you really can’t go wrong!

Ingredients (makes 8)
290g packet white chocolate melts
1 packet mini Reese’s Peanut Butter cups
16 candy eyeballs
1 packet of jubes
1 packet mini M&Ms
1 packet chocolate Pocky sticks


For the snowman’s hat, gently unwrap the mini Reese’s Peanut Butter cups and cut in half

For the snowman’s nose, thinly slice orange jube/s into 8 narrow triangles.

For the snowman’s arms, cut 16 4cm pieces of Pocky sticks, using only the chocolate section.

For the snowman’s buttons, separate out the red, green and brown mini M&Ms and ensure you have enough for 3 buttons per snowman.

Melt the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl on medium in 30 second bursts, stirring with a silicone spatula after each burst, until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.

Divide your melted white chocolate into 8 roughly even puddles – 4 per tray.

Working quickly and using the picture as a guide, arrange the peanut butter cup ‘hat’, 2 eyeballs, jube nose, 3 M&M buttons and pocky stick arms on each puddle.

Leave to set at room temperature (or in the fridge if it’s warm). Serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Woolworths fresh ideas magazine, December 2022.