baking · cakes

Pumpkin Fruit Cake

Pumpkin Fruit Cake

You don’t have to wait for celebrations and festive occasions to bake a really nice fruit cake, just like this delicious pumpkin fruit cake. It’s light, moist and keeps well and perfect with a cup of tea or, packed into a lunch box or picnic basket. This recipe is from fellow blogger Glenda whose blog is Passion Fruit Gardens, it was her Mum’s pumpkin fruit cake recipe… but not always Glenda’s favorite. Continue reading “Pumpkin Fruit Cake”

baking · food + drink

Date and Walnut Cake in a Nut Roll Tin

nut roll cakes-0203When I rerurn from holidays it takes a few days to get back into the usual swing of things. Un-packing, laundry, house chores and the food shopping! Once all the mundane stuff is out-of-the-way, the home cooking aromas wafting through the house make me feel… truly back home. Craving a bit of old-fashioned baking, I turn to my nut roll baking tins. Cakes baked in these cylindrical tins are lovely and moist, cut well and are delicious when spread with butter… if you don’t mind the extra calories.

nut roll cakes-0184I first came across nut roll cakes in an old Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook some years back and was sold on the novel shape of the cake tin (the cakes looked good too), cylindrical with removable lids at both ends. But finding one of these baking tins… that took time. Eventually a kind student studying in Australia managed to find me one, so thank you Razan 🙂 Over the years I’ve had a few disasters with these baking tins, batter leaking from the bottom, cakes breaking when turning out, not every cake recipe works with these tins.

nut roll cakes-0187Looking out for another tin found a pink cylindrical biscuit tin which was exactly the size that I needed and it has worked a treat as my second baking tin. Most nut roll recipes require two nut roll tins. Have since seen them on eBay or you could use cylindrical biscuit tins instead. I always line the inside of the nut roll tin/biscuit tin with non stick baking parchment as it’s easier to remove the cake.  As the  biscuit tin has no removable lid at the base, line the base with a disc of non stick baking parchment cut to size. Date and walnut cake spiced with fresh and powdred ginger… delicious!

Date and Walnut Cake in a Nut Roll Tin

Recipe adapted from the Australians Women’s Weekly “Cooking for Friends”.


  • 225g soft brown sugar
  • 175g of seeded dried dates, coarsely chopped
  • 50g butter
  • 2 tablespoons of golden syrup
  • 6fl oz water
  • 300g self-raising powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoon finely grated fresh finger
  • 1 egg
  • 25g walnuts, roughly chopped

How to make: Preheat the oven to 360°F/180ºC/160ºC Fan/Gas 4. Grease the insides and lids of two 8cm x 17cm nut roll tins. Line the insides of the tin with some non stick baking parchment. If using a biscuit tin line the base with a disc of non stick baking parchment. Place the bottom lid on each nut roll tin.

Add the brown sugar, dates, butter, golden syrup and water into a medium saucepan. Over low heat stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool. Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger into the cooled mixture; add the fresh ginger, egg and walnuts and stir everything together until combined.

With the help of two spoons, spoon the mixture evenly into both tins. Place the top lids on both tins. Stand tins on an oven tray and bake upright in the oven and for about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove tins from the oven and leave the loaves to cool (without removing the lids) for about 15 minutes to firm up before trying to remove the cakes. Cool the cakes on a wire cooling rack.

Tip: When the baking time is almost finished and you need to check if the cake is done, remove the cake tin from the oven and remove the top lid. Test the cake with a skewer, if further baking is required, place the lid back on and bake for a further few minutes.


Lining Cake Tins for Fruit Cakes

Unbaked Fruit Cake

Around this time of year many fruit cakes are made, some baked with great success and others coming with tales of woe… sinking middles, burnt edges, over cooked, under cooked and sticking to the cake tin. As a child I learned a very important step when watching my mother measure and cut non-stick baking parchment and brown paper to line the insides of her cake tins. She would then wrap the outside of each cake tin with a collar of newspaper and tightly secure this with twine all in preparation for the yearly ritual of baking fruit cakes for Christmas.


Fruit cakes baked for long hours need protection from the heat of an oven and correctly lined tins will turn out moist cakes, with no overly browned and dried out edges, tops and bottoms. Also, laying 3 sheets of newspaper on the rack or baking tray of an oven gives the bottom of your fruit cakes extra protection when baking. Newspaper can safely be used in an oven with fruit cakes baked at low temperatures.

However, paying attention to the temperature of an oven is also extremely important for successful baking. Over the years I have baked in many different ovens and know that some oven thermostats can vary. Using an oven thermometer will insure your cake bakes at the correct temperature and takes the guess-work out of knowing what temperature your oven might be running at.

So, if you love your fruit cakes… line your cake tins my Mama’s way and use an oven thermometer. By the way… no fruit cakes were ever harmed lining cake tins this way. Happy Baking 🙂


Lining Cake Tins Essentials:

  • Good quality baking tins (still using my mothers cake tins)
  • Non-Stick Baking parchment
  • Brown Paper
  • Newspapers
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Paper clip (if you have no one around to hold the collar of newspaper in place while tying with twine)
  • Measuring tape
  • Twine
  • Pastry brush
  • Unsalted butter, melted

Lining a round or square cake tin:

You will need to line the inside of a round/square cake tin (sides and base) with three layers,  one layer of brown paper and two layers of non-stick baking parchment. If you do not have brown paper, use non-stick baking parchment instead.

Start by measuring (with measuring tape or string) around the outside edges of the cake tin. Using the measurement, cut a double-folded strip of non-stick baking paper, this should also be wide enough to extend 3 inches above the top of the cake tin. Fold down a 1 inch deep cuff along the length of the strip, then make diagonal cuts up to the fold line, about 3/4 inch apart. Repeat the same steps with a single layer of brown paper.

Lay a square/round cake tin on top of a double piece of nonstick baking parchment and using the cake tin as a guide draw around it. Cut out the circles/squares. Repeat the same steps with a single layer of brown paper.

Lightly brush the base and inside of the baking tin with some melted butter. Starting with the brown paper, line the inside sides of the cake tin with the brown paper strip, pressing the cut edges out at right angles and laying them flat against the base.

Lightly brush the brown paper with melted butter and line the sides of the cake tin with the double strip of non-stick baking parchment, again making sure the cut edges are lying flat against the base of the tin.

Lay one circle/square of brown paper, followed by two circles/squares of non-stick baking parchment over the base of the tin, you might need to trim them slightly so they fit snugly against the edges of the tin.

Measure and cut a double strip of newspaper to fit around the outside of the cake tin and tie securely with twine.

Do you have any tips on lining cake tins?