Spresso Love: Coffee Hazelnut Meringue Cakes

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For a change, I took the scenic route to last weekend’s party. Through the bush, like Little Red Riding Hood.

Given the journey ahead, my dinner contribution needed to be roadworthy. I took this opportunity to create hazelnut meringue /pavlova cakes: cake bases with crispy cloud toppings.

Despite the brilliance of this concept, I’ve only seen meringue /pavlova cakes at a couple of cafes – and they’ve been of a macaroon texture, rather than a cake texture. What’s more, the recipes I’ve seen have only been for large chocolate hazelnut cakes.

Hence, “the plan” for my own hazelnut meringue cakes:

  • A cake base mixture split into 12 muffin tins, using the hazelnut cake recipe from pastrystudio.blogspot.
  • A pavolva /meringue topping, based on the chocolate meringue recipe from taste.com.au.

For the cake bases, I omitted the orange zest and substituted the milk for a latte. And for the toppings I omitted the chocolate. (Although chocolate and hazelnut is a favourite Italian pairing, I left out the chocolate to reveal the subtle flavour of the hazelnuts).

Of importance to note, is the optimum baking time of fifteen minutes (approx), when using silicon heart-shaped moulds. A helpful point to remember: the meringue toppings obscure the cake bases, so it’s difficult to check the cakes for ‘done-ness’ with the usual touch or prick test!

Barely a few moments out of the oven and into the mouths of my tasting panel, feedback emerged: “Amazing texture” … “You could sell these in a café”.

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Phew. A safe journey completed. With no wolves in sight.

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Baby Carrot, Pistachio, & Spice Cakes

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Baby Carrot, Pistachio, & Spice Cakes

It’s been a while, but yesterday I felt the urge to bake again. My criteria? Something wintry-comforting, tasty, yet also healthy. Idealistic? Maybe. However, when it comes to baking I’m a determined lass. So I set out on an expedition via the World Wide Web … and a short while later, found a carrot cake recipe from skinnytaste.com. “skinnytaste.com?” “A ‘cake’ recipe with two tablespoons of butter?” I hear you say. I too was suspicious – and cautious about my expectations. However, cooking and baking is all about experimentation so …

I set to work, making one or three additions of my own (as per usual): chopped pistachios; nutmeg (to add depth of flavour) in addition to the prescribed cinnamon; and both chopped pistachios and cinnamon, in the frosting. Keeping ‘health’ in mind, I also halved the sugar. I then divided the mixture to create ‘baby’ carrot cakes, rather than one large cake.

The result? “Delicious” and “moist” according to my selected cake samplers. Voilà. A carrot cake recipe for when you’re craving something ‘bad’, but not too‘bad’.

Recipe: Super moist carrot cake with cream cheese frosting