Rose muffins from Amore Cakes.
Rose muffins from Amore Cakes. Photo: Gillian Freeman

Kirsten Lawson

Samantha Walker from Canberra’s Amore Cakes has a new cookbook out, with 40 recipes – those that have earned a regular place at her Exhibition Park markets stall over the past seven years.

A couple appeared in her previous books, Festive Cakes (2007) and Amore Secrets (2008), including her super-dense whisky sultana cake, because they are such favourites, but most are new, she says.

Walker won’t be at the markets for the rest of the month – she’s celebrating her 20th wedding anniversary in Tasmania, but the book, A Year in the Life of Amore Cakes will be sold at the Rotary information desk at the markets on December 21, or directly from Walker: amorecakes@tempting.com ($30, or $20 black and white).

Raspberry meringue cake  from Amore Cakes.
Raspberry meringue cake from Amore Cakes. Photo: Gillian Freeman

She’s also taking orders for Christmas cakes and other Christmas goodies to pick up directly from her on December 22. The book highlights the use of seasonal ingredients, with celebration cakes for Christmas, cakes with figs, quinces, lemons, pears, blood orange and more.

Walker shares her recipes for raspberry meringue cake and rose muffins with Food and Wine readers.

Raspberry meringue cake

This recipe makes a 25cm round cake.

Cake

250g soft butter

1 1/2 cups caster sugar

5 eggs

300ml sour cream

2 cups self-raising flour

1 cup plain flour

2/3 cup full cream milk

1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen

vanilla syrup - made by dissolving 1 tsp of vanilla with 3 tbsp of sugar in 1/2 cup of hot water).

White chocolate ganache

300ml cream

375g white chocolate

Meringue

4 egg whites

1 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 100C. When making meringue it is important that no yolk be in with the whites and the bowl is clean and dry. Using electric beaters, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add the caster sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking gradually. Once the sugar is added, continue to whisk for another minute until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Select a 25cm round cake tin and turn it upside down. Grease it lightly on the bottom and cover with a sheet of baking paper. Spoon the meringue mix on to the base of the tin. (This will make the meringue the same size as the cake).

Bake in a preheated oven for 2 1/2 hours or until the meringue is cooked. (Check that it is cooked on the bottom. If not, allow it to cook for another half an hour.) Allow the meringue to cool completely overnight. In the morning, remove it and put it to one side in a safe spot. Now use the cake tin to bake the cake.

For the cake, preheat the oven to 140C. To make the cake, you will need an electric mixer. Cream the butter and sugar until nice and fluffy. Add the eggs two at a time and beat until creamy. Add the dry ingredients and then the sour cream and milk and mix until smooth. Spoon the mixture into the lined 25cm cake tin and sprinkle with raspberries. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours or until cooked. Pour vanilla syrup over the hot cake. Allow it to cool.

To make the white chocolate ganache, heat the cream in a small saucepan until just before simmering point. Take it off the heat and mix in the broken chocolate. Stir briskly until smooth and lump-free. Allow it to cool for at least half an hour or until it starts to thicken.

To assemble, put the cake on a serving plate, pour over the thick ganache and carefully place the meringue on top. Do not be too bothered if it cracks a little. I never like things to look too perfect.

Little rose muffins

Makes 12 small cakes. I have brown paper cylinder cases that stand up by themselves but you could make them in lined Texas muffin tins. Hard to resist, these pretty little cakes are perfect for afternoon tea. I like to decorate them with real dried rosebuds, which you can buy aspecialty shops. Some teashops make a rose tea out of dried roses - so that is another option.

1 cup plain flour

1 cup desiccated coconut

1 cup almond meal

1 cup caster sugar

1 cup icing sugar

1 tsp baking powder

10 egg whites

250g melted butter

a few drops rosewater

12 large pieces of Turkish delight

dried rosebuds (optional)

All you need for this recipe is a large bowl and a wooden spoon. Preheat the oven to 160C.  Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the egg whites and melted butter and mix until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Add the rosewater and give it a quick stir.

Divide the mixture between the cases and pop a piece of Turkish delight into each one. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

When they are cool, dust with icing sugar. Decorate with dried rosebuds, if you like.