Archive | February, 2012

Grandma’s Date Shortcake

28 Feb

This recipe has been in the family for a very long time.  I remember Mum making it when I was a child.  The combination of sweet dates and tangy lemon is delicious.


¾ cup cornflour

¾ cup flour

½ cup sugar

125g butter

1 egg

1tsp Baking powder


500g chopped dates

juice of ½ a lemon (use the other half for the icing)

Oven: Preheat to 180.C


Place the dates and lemon juice into a small saucepan and allow the dates to soften on a low heat. (add a bit of water if you need to) Allow to cool.

Place the rest of the ingredients into a bowl and mix together to form a dough.  I use a clean hand to combine everything together.  Cut the dough in half and roll out to fit the bottom of a small slice tin.  I roll the mixture inbetween two sheets of baking paper.  It is so much easier than having the dough stick to the rolling pin.  (or if you don’t have a rolling pin use a bottle of wine.)

After you have placed the base in the tin, spread out the date mixture on top evenly.  Then top with the other half of the dough. Just like a sandwich.

Place in the oven for about 15-20 mins or until the shortcake is golden brown on top.

Allow to cool and ice with lemon icing.

Lemon icing:

  • Knob of butter
  • 2 cups icing sugar (approx)
  • Lemon juice

Mix together until it forms a smooth icing.  If you want a thick layer of icing you will need to add more icing sugar.  Do not be afraid to add more juice if it is too thick or more icing sugar if too watery.


This was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  It really is worth a try.  It would have looked a bit better if I rolled out the dough a bit more evenly.  If you look closely at the photo the top layer it a bit thicker than the bottom layer.  But it still tasted great!

Adapted from:

My Cookbook,  handwritten in by my Mother.  It must have originated from my Grandma. There must be more to the history of this recipe, I will find out from both of these special ladies soon.

Grandad’s Streusal Cake

27 Feb

My Mum had written this recipe into my into my book with very few instructions.  In fact, all it said was: this recipe is best made by hand, small cake or  I have doubled.

So…I double the recipe and make this big cake.  However I have only given you the single recipe because to be honest the cake was too big. I also just guessed the method and luckily it turned out pretty good.



3oz butter

¾ cup sugar

1 egg

½ cup milk

1 ½ cups flour

2 tsp Baking powder


2 Tbs melted butter

¾ cup of sugar

1 Tbs cinnamon

2 Tbs flour

1 cup chopped walnuts

Coffee Icing:


Oven: Preheat to 180.C


Start by making the filling.  Chop the walnuts and place them into a bowl with the cinnamon, flour and brown sugar.  Melt the butter and pour into the walnut mixture and stir to combine.

Then make the batter: In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar then add the egg.  Add the flour and baking powder then the milk.

Place half of the batter into a small cake tin.  Then evenly spread the walnut filling mixture on top.  Carefully spoon the remaining batter on top.



Adapted from: My Cookbook, handwritten by my Mother

Crazy Bun

5 Feb

This is also known as ‘Boston Bun’ in New Zealand.  Don’t be put off by the hot pink icing ( my hand slipped when I was adding the food colouring) this is a yummy bun.  The reason why I call this bun crazy is because it contains no egg, butter or yeast.  It also contains a vegetable, yes, a vegetable.  So when I think I have no ingredients to bake I can always make this.  Magic!


1 cup mashed potato

¾ cup sugar

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 cup milk

1 cup dried fruit (raisins, currants, dried apricots, dried cranberries or a mixture)


Oven:  Preheat to 180.C


Make sure the mashed spud is cold and smooth.  You may want to put it through a sieve to get rid of any lumps.  Beat the spud and sugar together until it goes sort of liquidy.  Then add the sifted dry ingredients, the milk and finally the fruit.  divide the mixture into two and place into two round tins.  ( Do not be tempted to put all of the mixture into one tin they will turn out too heavy, these buns are designed to be shallow.)

Bake for 30mins.  When they are golden brown on top they are ready.  Leave them in the tins for a few minutes then lay them onto a wire cooling rack.  When cool, lavishly top them with the icing.


55 g butter

2 cups icing

1-2 Tbsp milk

½ cup desiccated coconut

Warm the milk up a bit and beat into the butter and icing sugar.  Mix until smooth and just right. (not too runny, not too thick) I also add in the coconut to the icing or you can use the coconut to press on top of the icing.  The choice is yours. You also have the choice of pink or white icing, I think I will stick to the white icing after my hot pink disaster of last time!


These buns will seem a bit flat but I promise they are fine like that.  It is all about getting the right ratio of bun and icing.  Also, if you have been extra good at the gym this week you can also cut the bun in half and spread with butter. Go on, I know you want to.

Adapted from:

I had tried a few different recipes but the best one came from Alexa Johnston’s book ‘A second helping, more from ladies a plate’ Which is a fabulous book where she sources recipes from old school NZ cookery books.  So originally this recipe came from the 1981 Catholic Women’s League, Dunedin Diocese Cookbook, contributed by Dorothy Lavelle.