'no worries' marmalade cake

Marmalade ‘no-worries’ Cake

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Awesome but abundant jams and marmalades don’t ever die, they just make fabulous cakes.

Fresh fruit is great, but in a glut, they can inevitably end up as jam or marmalade. You can give it away, store it and eat it but even then, sometimes you have just had too much of a good thing and would prefer to use it up and move on to another flavour.

We use jams and marmalades as flavouring for home made yogurt, spread on biscuits, in gravies and marinades, and in cake. aaaaaaaw, cake.

You my recognise my favourite Rex jar (above) as looking very much like a Weck jar. That is because it is the same – just a different label but made by the same company. My Rex are older but all the parts fit both of course – they are identical in every way bar the name. You can still buy them in that vintage style label, which I love. Totally unnecessary of course but I love that I can still match the glass lids if they ever go south (which has happened once or twice over many years). The mixing can be by hand if you are keen, with an electric mixer, or in a Thermomix – my preferred these days.

..and here is my dead fav cake tin – Mastercraft loose base round 24cm (9″). I have the 8″ round and the Mastercraft 8 1/2″ square too, all of which take a beating with two teenage boys making cakes and me as well. The rule around here is that all food at home is free, and we don’t buy readymade so every recipe at our place must be teenager-friendly. They make stuff to take to school events – call me mean but I have never made stuff for ‘bring-a-plate’ events at school. The boys had to earn how to bake for themselves quick-sticks, even if it is just fairy bread! The younger lad makes slices and hedgehogs for mates’ birthdays and they LOVE it! Imagine a whole tray of slice for yourself. Instant legend status 😉

[Feature Picture: Marmalade ‘no-worries’ cake on Villeroy & Boch plate (Switch Beach House Water collection) served with French fudge icecream]

Marmalade ‘no worries’ Cake

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marmalade cake with French caramel fudge ice cream
Cake. That's it – cake. Yum. If you need more reasons to make it, this recipe is super flexible and brilliant for using up the jam or marmalade you have sitting in the fridge. By flexible, we mean you can alter the sugar and the eggs and experiment a little without it going all wrong. See the variations for some ideas. Seriously folks, don't stress with this recipe. It is a good one to experiment with for structure and sweetness. Super forgiving and always yum.
Section: Cake, Dessert
Hero: citrus, jam
Features: Easy, jam, Vegetarian


  • 1/2 cup marmalade or jam (flexible, anything 1/8 to 1/2 cup is fine)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (flexible, 1/2 to 3/4 cup is fine, white sugar okay too)
  • 125 grams butter (cubed for easy handling)
  • 2 eggs (2 to 3 eggs is fine, see notes)
  • 1 1/2 cups SR flour (or plain flour plus 3 tsp baking powder)
  • 1/4 cup milk (or a good 'slosh')


  • Line or grease the tin and preheat the oven to 170 degrees C (340 F)
  • Mix all ingredients together and beat til it goes lighter in colour (15-20sec, speed 4 in TMX)
  • Spread into tin and bake for about 35 minutes. Watch it to be sure it's cooked through but not too browned, though it will colour up quite a bit given the brown sugar.
  • Test centre with a skewer – ready when it pulls out clean. Leave to cool then turn out on a wire rack. Go to town with toppings or use hot with sauce as a pud.


FEATURES: Flexible, freezable, forgiving
EQUIPMENT: Thermomix (TMX) or electric mixer or elbow grease, average size cake tin, whichever shape you like.
STORING: keeps on the bench in a cake tin for a few days, or in the freezer ready to pull out when the mood strikes for dessert.
VARIATIONS: The sugar provides sweetness and moisture. Brown sugar has more moisture, so it’ll end up more moist and fudgey; white sugar will make it a lighter crumb. The eggs give it structure – 2 eggs is fluffier, 3 eggs is more dense and great for toasting in the flat grill press. Oh my, with butter or cream.

Dust with icing sugar, make up a butter cream icing, or have with warm custard. Candied peel, walnuts or glacé ginger goes well too. Experiment.  For an instant hot pud dessert, make it fudgey, heat in the microwave and put on a sauce or fruit coulis, either cold or hot. So versatile.


bottling olive oil from bulk

My metal funnel

I love local olive oil, and local sunflower oil, and peanut oil.
I want to show my local industries the love and buy local rather than import, and I want to reduce my consumption of glass given it has such a lower rate of recycling than metal/tin.

My favourite local olive oil is Red Island. I spend about $20 for a 3 litre tin, or it is about $9 per litre in a bottle. I use my trusty metal funnel (about 25 years old now) and decant from the tin to my dark glass bottle (olive oil doesn’t like direct sunlight, so I use the dark glass) that has worked well for more than a decade. The same bottle will easily last another decade or more. When the metal cap or plastic inner pourer break, given the diameter of bottle opening is standard, it is easy to find a replacement 🙂 I have decided that when this little plastic pourer thingy dies, I won’t bother replacing it at all.

The sunflower oil is in the clear bottle, and my peanut oil is in a hand charged mist sprayer, which is about 5 years old now.

So, no spray cans, no plastic bottles, three glass bottles for the decade, and tins of local oil that are cost effective and readily recyclable.

Job done – I’m happy. 


bowl of pesto

Rocket pesto, the leafy green miracle.

So you’ve grown rocket (arugula) from seed and now frankly you’re inundated with it. Some will keep for seed, some go into salads etc, but still… a glut remains. 

The answer is pesto. Yum.

Rocket Pesto

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bowl of pesto
Pesto is easy, fresh and sooo handy. Spoon it onto hot or cold pasta, on boiled or baked potatoes, grilled or roasted steak ,chicken or mushroom, over salad, as a dip or on Toasted bread with fresh sliced tomato and a creamy cheese.
Section: Staple
Hero: herbs, Rocket
Features: Easy, pesto, Vegetarian


  • 2 cups 75g Rocket or other herbs firmly packed
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup 75g cashews or other nuts
  • 1/2 cup 75g Parmesan or other hard cheese cubed
  • 1/4 cup 32g quality olive oil (you are eating this raw after all)
  • black pepper and sea salt to taste


  • Blend well all ingredients besides olive oil (TMX pulse on Turbo) until smooth. You may need to scrape the sides down and blend again.
  • Add olive oil in a stream and blend until smooth (TMX 10sec/sp3).
  • Add salt and pepper at the end on slow speed (TMX 3sec/sp2)


FEATURES: Freezable, adaptable, scaleable
EQUIPMENT: Thermomix (TMX) or food processor or elbow grease
SEASON: green leafy herbs can be harvested in any season
STORING: keeps in the fridge with lid on for about a week but never lasts that long at our place.
FREEZING: Some folks like to leave out the cheese if freezing pesto, and add back in later but seriously I just don’t have the time! Spoon into ice cube trays – the modern large silicone ones are super handy – when frozen, pop out into a freeze container.
VARIATIONS: Herbs – Pak Choy, Basil, Coriander, Fennel (use half baby spinach if taste is too strong with herbs alone) Nuts – almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, or mix in some seeds you love like sunflower kernels or pepitas. Cheese – Pecorino, Romano or any hard cheese with bite. Garlic – any allium you like really. My tummy doesn’t like garlic bulb so we use the garlic greens instead.

Even more handy is that you can use just about ANY herbacious leafy green. We often use Pak choy or spinach as a base and further flavour with rosemary, parsley, basil, rocket… you name it. The quickest meal with highly nutritious ingredients is just 20 minutes away. If you own a Thermomix (TMX) then you can make this pesto then cook pasta without even washing the bowl. At our place, Mr 14 is the pesto and pasta king. It is his go-to fast power meal. Add yummies like olives, preserved capsicum strips or any manner of tasty extras to your finished dish.