Brown sugar shortbread

January 22, 2021

This is one of the easiest biscuits you'll ever make - just 3 ingredients. I added jam for variety, and makes a sticky top crunch.

1/2 c / 110 g butter at room temperature

1/4 c / 50g brown sugar

1 1/3 c / 160g flour (I used white and wholemeal spelt)

few tbsp jam (i used strawberry and apricot)

Lightly grease a 20cm round or square cake tin.

Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until soft and pale. Add the flour and mix until just combined.

Press dough evenly into the cake tin and prick all over with a fork. If you're using a round tin, score the dough into 12 equal triangles. If you're using a square tin, score the dough into 4 columns and 6 rows to make 24 biscuits.

Cover tin and refrigerate for at least 20 min before baking.

Preheat oven to 165C. If you're making plain shortbread, bake for 25-30 minutes until light golden. Don't overbake as the shortbread will darken as it cools. 

If you're making jammy versions, bake for about 15 minutes, let cool slightly then spread jam over the top. Bake for a further 15 minutes until the jam sets.

Remove from oven and cut into pieces using the scored lines. Let cool in the tin before separating.


Vegan banana cake

January 19, 2021

This recipe happens to be vegan but you can use any kind of milk, vinegar, sugar or flour on hand. Coconut sugar always gives a deep caramel colour to your cakes

1/2 c non-dairy milk (I used homemade almond)

1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar

2 c flour (I used wholemeal spelt)

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c vegetable oil

1 c sugar (I used coconut)

3 large ripe bananas, mashed

Buttercream icing:

225 g dairy-free spread (such as Olivani)

3 c icing sugar

pinch salt

4 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat ov...

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Vegan vanilla cake

January 18, 2021

No eggs? No problem! This vegan cake can be made with pantry staples and turns out soft and fluffy. Thanks to for the inspiration. You could fill the cake with whipped (coconut) cream and fresh fruit but I chose my go-to chocolate ganache this time with a jam spread for a subtle flavour hit.

2 1/4 c non-dairy milk (I used homemade almond)

1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

3 c and 2 tbsp flour (I used spelt)

1 1/2 c granulated sugar (I used organic cane)

1 tbsp baki...

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Fruit and nut chocolate rocks

January 15, 2021

Aren't these cute?! These edible rocks will be a hit in your household or next party. Super easy to make with kids too. It's from Bakeland: Nordic Treats Inspired by Nature by Marit Hovland (Greystone Books. 2016).

2 Oreo cookies

200g white chocolate

90ml sweetened condensed milk

pinch salt

1/8 tsp cocoa powder


1/2 c any salted nuts (I used brazils, almonds and cashews)

1/4 c any dried fruit (I used cranberries and apricots)

Remove the white filling from the Oreo cookies then place them in a ...

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Cinnamon cookies

December 7, 2020

Scandinavians love to make these cookies at Christmas time but they will go down well any time of year.

375g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp lemon zest
125g brown sugar
250 cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg, beaten

Mix 2 tsp cinnamon and 50g demerara or granulated sugar in a small bowl
1 egg, beaten

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Mix in zest and sugar then rub in butter until dough resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Mix in egg and knead on a floured surface for a couple...
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Baked cheesecake

November 25, 2020

I’ve been googling recipes that use lemon curd, since I made a huge jar of it (sugar free). I thought a cheesecake would taste nice slathered in curd – and it did!


2 c crushed biscuits (eg digestives, malt, gingernuts, bran)

3 tbsp melted butter

pinch salt


500g cream cheese

1 c granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch salt

2 eggs, separated

1 tbsp sugar

1-2 c lemon curd

Preheat oven to 165C. Line a 20cm springform cake tin and grease the sides. Wrap the bottom and sides of the tin i...

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Afghan biscuits aka chocolate roughs

November 12, 2020

The etymology of these classic New Zealand cookies may be considered controversial in these modern times, so much so that Griffins renamed them 'roughs' in their packaging. Either way, they're still a yummy chocolate biscuit with added crunch from cornflakes. I added cocoa rice puffs too. I made a double batch for World Kindness Day to give to our daughter's teachers and classmates. In lieu of the traditional chocolate icing and walnut topping I opted for chocolate ganache and a single silver...

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Lemon curd bundt cake

November 12, 2020

Coconut sugar gives this cake its dark caramel colour but it has a lemon zing from my homemade sugar-free lemon curd. Recipe is here.

2 3/4 c flour (I used a mix of white and wholemeal spelt. You can use gluten-free flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 c granulated sugar (I used ground coconut sugar)
85 g butter or non-dairy spread
1/3 c neutral oil (I used rice bran)
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 generous cup lemon curd
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 cup milk of choice or butt...
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Date & walnut loaf

November 3, 2020

This is a classic English teabread, a firm cake full of flavour. Perfect with a cuppa, naturally. It's from the UK National Trust's Cakes: Bakes & Biscuits (2016). It's a lovely book of traditional British recipes such as Bakewell tarts, Cornish splits, Bath buns and curd tarts. Spiced date and walnut loaf comes from Cornwall dating back to the 17th century when spices from the Orient came into Cornish ports. It is very satisfying buttering a thick slice of spiced cake bursting with dates and...
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Ginger citrus shortbread

November 2, 2020

If you need to, any recipe can be made dairy and gluten free. In this case, it's easy shortbread that can be done in the food processor, adapted from Bluebells Cakery (Random House, 2013) by Karla Goodwin.

2 1/3 c + 1 tbsp flour (I used a GF mix)
1/3 c cornflour
250g butter or non-dairy spread (I used Olivani)
1/2 c + 1 tbsp caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2/3 g crystallised ginger, finely chopped
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange

Sift flours together in a large bowl or food processor. Rub in ...
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EST. 2010

Frances Chan loves to bake. She's also a freelance editor and has written a couple of children's books. She shares some of her adventures, culinary or otherwise, on Instagram.

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