Category Archives: cooking

Cake to craft by :: GF Any kind of citrus cake

When I teach a class, I try to bake for my students, I love it so much – a cup of tea and a piece of cake just seems to me to be the essential ingredients for a successful day of learning – how can you absorb all the information without proper sustenance! I’m so often asked to write up the recipes, I thought I’d do just that and share them here – like all things I do, I make no promises on regularity, mostly because I completely forget to take pictures, but I’ll aim to publish the most requested ones here semi-regularly. You’ll also find some of my other recipes that I make for The Creative Retreat, including THE {famous} Retreat Chocolate Cookies over on the blog there.


It might surprise some of you who’ve been to my classes that all my baking is Gluten Free! It’s been a full year since I got my coeliac diagnosis and apart from missing pastry, (really, really, really missing pastry), I haven’t noticed much of a problem adapting my diet. Even in baking. Yes! Baking Gluten Free can be SO simple if you let it be!

This cake always proves to be a success, it’s tangy, sweet, moist, keeps well and the toasted nuts on top with the zesty syrup just add a whole other layer of deliciousness! It’s a favourite in classes as well as with the family.


Like so many baked items I make, the recipe is an adapted version from someone or somewhere, this one comes from my most faithful cake book, the Australian Womens Weekly Classic Cakes. I have never made a recipe, sweet or savoury, from an AWW book that has gone bad, they work first time and every time after, I can’t recommend their books highly enough. The syrupy topping is my own concoction, feel free to omit if you can’t be bothered, the cake is delicious without it too.

On to the details you came for!

250gms butter
440gms caster sugar
4 tablespoons citrus zest (orange, lemon, lime, mandarin, try combining them)
125mls sour cream
6 large eggs (my chooks lay very small eggs so I add an extra but 6 regular is just fine)
150gms Almond Meal
185gms Gluten Free Flour (I use Woolworths Select Brand)
2 teaspoons Gluten Free Baking Powder

Preheat oven to 160C (fan forced, heat to 180 for no fan), grease and line a loaf tin
In an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar and zest until light and fluffy
Add sour cream and then eggs, one at a time – don’t beat too much in between, just enough to lightly combine
Remove from electric mixer and fold in almond meal, flour and baking powder
Pour into prepared tin and bake approximately 35 minutes – ovens vary greatly so check at 30mins and test with a skewer, when it comes out clean, you’re done.

Zest of one orange (or whatever you’ve used in the cake)
250mls cup citrus juice (use the fruit you zested previously)
150gms caster sugar
Half cup of toasted flaked almonds (pine nuts work well too if you don’t have almonds)

Combine zest, juice and sugar in a small saucepan, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until thick and syrupy.
Spoon half the syrup over the warm cake, sprinkle with almonds then the rest of the syrup.


#thisweekiam :: 27/52/15

Going Slow :: for all the things. The children are on school holidays and I’m enjoying their company and PJ days so a few deadlines have come and gone and I’ve had to let go of being on time for two weeks. It’s so nice to have these foggy winter days with the fire on and no excuse to leave the house. Except for necessities, like chocolate for the brownies…IMG_2103

Eating :: Chocolate Brownies with Sour Cherries (200gms dark chocolate, 200gms butter, 1tsp vanilla, 1 cup brown sugar, 3 eggs, 3/4 cup plain flour, 3/4 cup sour cherries – prunes work just as well). Melt chocolate, butter, sugar and vanilla in glass bowl over pot of simmering water, cool. Whisk in the eggs then add flour and cherries. Pour into lined square cake tin, bake at 180C for around 20mins – be sure to remove from oven while still fudgy, do not be tempted to overcook).


Making :: quilts with the girls, they each have such a strong sense of what they want to make and how to do it, I’m again finding myself having to turn a blind eye and walk away so their expression is true to themselves. And, of course, my Panegyric Quilt which seems to be taking over my mental space – every time I sit still anywhere, I can’t stop stitching this one.

Working :: on a new quilt design for a class in Brisbane in late August – this is one of the aforementioned deadlines. I’m feeling super anxious about getting a class sample to the store so this will be priority one the day school goes back, hopefully it won’t take too long (insert raised eyebrow here!).

Researching :: places to visit in California, Arizona and New Mexico!

IMG_2106Do you have suggestions? Where to go? What to see? Where to stay for a family of five? We aren’t really the planning kind of travellers but more the kind who have a list of things we’d like to do which is flexible enough to accommodate discoveries along the way – I’m looking for suggestions of things we simply MUST see (like Yosemite, San Francisco, the Grand Canyon, etc.).

There’s lots more but I’m often so caught up in the moment of whatever it is I’m doing that I forget to capture it in an image! Mental note to self – take more photos.


#thisweekiam :: 24/52/15

Preparing :: to teach a new class starting tomorrow night!

Anticipating :: a road trip with Heidi to Sydney for classes with Bill Kerr (yes, of Weeks and Bill and Modern Quilt Studio fame!!!). Bill has a reputation as an excellent teacher so I am really looking forward to the classes (and I have to admit, also to the weekend in a hotel – no cooking or cleaning. And a bath! We don’t have a bath and a friend recently reminded me that they exist in the world – now I can’t get that idea of luxury out of my mind!).

Enjoying :: students sharing the progress they are making on quilts from my classes!

Leonie with her Desert to Sea

Pip’s Hugs & Kisses

View this post on Instagram

A much clearer photo 😄

A post shared by Sylvia (@creative_chicky) on

Eating :: meals from my meal plan which this week includes my take on Spanish eggs (In a large deep sided fry pan, sauté a sliced onion and sliced red capsicum, add diced chorizo, cook for about 5-10 minutes until the onion and capsicum are soft and the chorizo is browned. Add a tin of chickpeas and some par-boiled diced potatoes along with a tin of tomatoes and a tin of water. Cover with lid and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through. Make six wells in the mix and crack an egg into each well, cover with lid and simmer until eggs are cooked. Stir through a few handfuls of baby spinach and half a bunch of chopped parsley, serve with a fresh crusty sourdough).

Also eating :: anything anyone else would like to cook for me!

Reading :: Julia. And the Wife Drought – in which I realise just how much I need a wife!

Listening :: to podcasts, specifically Chat10Looks3 (with Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales) and  The Crafty Planner (with Sandi and a whole lot of crafty guests! Thanks Chawne for the referral to this one).

Admiring :: the creativity of friends

Starting :: a little linky party -#thisweekiam. Thanks to Cheryl who inspires me to commit to writing more regularly! All you need to do is link up a blog post from this week here so we can see what you have been doing – any post, any topic, just something that shares what you’ve been doing the past week. The only rule is that you click on the blog that linked up before you go see what they’ve been up to, who knows who you might meet :)


And if you want to play along, you can grab a button for your blog:

**Books in this post are linked to Book Depository - I am an affiliate of this website so if you click through and purchase, I will receive a small commission towards my next books. They offer free-shipping worldwide which is the bomb**