Friday, 24 June 2016


“Let us love Winter, for it is the Spring of genius.” - Pietro Aretino

Yes, it is Winter in Southern Australia and we have had snow falls here in Victoria with a good covering of snow in the ski resorts. In Lake Mountain, which is a 1,433-metre-high mountain and cross-country ski resort approximately 120 kilometres from Melbourne, there is a 15 cm deep layer of snow. It is the most popular ski resort in Australia in visitor numbers due to its proximity to the populous city of Melbourne, mainly from casual visitors. Interestingly, most visitors are surprised to learn that there is no lake at Lake Mountain, and the area was named after George Lake, who was the Surveyor-General of the area including the mountain.

It is such weather that cries out for a luscious, spicy warm cake to enjoy by a roaring fire after one has been out and about in the snow, rain and cold!

Gingerbread Cake
1 and 1/2 level cups plain flour,
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup Golden Syrup
2/3 cup boiling water
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Grease a 25 cm square pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add a few tablespoons of flour to the pan; shake and turn pan until bottom and sides are evenly coated with a light dusting of flour and shake off excess flour over the sink.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine, butter, dark brown sugar, Golden Syrup and boiling water. Whisk until butter is melted.
When mixture is lukewarm, whisk in the egg. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk until just combined and there are no more lumps. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, or until the edges look dark and the middle feels firm to the touch.
Set pan on a rack to cool slightly, then cut into squares and serve. This cake is best served warm out of the oven or reheated.

If desired, serve with Mascarpone Cream:
200 g mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 cup whipping cream
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, combine the mascarpone, cream, sugar and vanilla extract. Using an electric mixer, beat on low speed until almost smooth, 30 to 60 seconds. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until the mixture is thick and holds firm peaks, another 30 to 60 seconds. Don’t overbeat or the frosting will look grainy.

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