Friday 20 March 2009

Citrus Grape Cake

I have been reading quite a few foodie magazines lately (courtesy of my mum) and dreaming of much more cooking than is practical. One cake in particular took my fancy because it had port in it as well as grapes.

The Citrus Grape Cake was the first baking I did after Sylvia was born so it gave me a lot of happiness to be back in the saddle. It took me a while to get my act together and bake it but it was well worthwhile. Finally, E was soothing the crying baby, and I was halfway through the preparations, when I discovered that the eggs were looking decidedly dodgy. Intent on my mission, I was determined to finish baking the cake. I consulted my Joy of Vegan Baking for ideas on egg-substitutes.

Fortunately I had a wealth of fruit because a friend (Junko) had generously given me a huge basket of fruit (it was so full I couldn’t even lift it to take it outside and photograph it). So I used some bananas instead of the 3 eggs and added a little soy flour and extra baking powder for added richness and rising.

The resulting cake was one of the nicest cakes I have made. The brown sugar and port gave it a soft golden caramel crumb with a slight bitterness from the citrus zest and bursts of sweetness from soft juicy grapes. E was even quite keen on it and thought it would taste lovely hot with custard. Surprisingly the bananas did not add much to the flavour. I couldn’t resist a piece when it came out of the oven and the piece collapsed into crumbs. It held together much better when cooled, although still a little crumbly, possibly because of the lack of eggs.

I was also pleased that evening to feel like I was almost cooking dinner again. A friend (Kathleen) had kindly looked out her copy of the Enchanted Broccoli Forest which we had loved as students and made me some of our favourite dishes. I served her tofu nut balls with soft polenta, tomato sauce and broccoli.

Citrus Grape Cake
(Adapted from BBC Australian Good Food March 2009)

100g butter, softened*
1 cup brown sugar
2 small bananas, mashed
finely grated rind of 1 orange
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
1/3 cup port (or orange juice)
2/3 cup olive oil
1¼ cups plain flour (can substitute some wholemeal)
¼ cup soy flour (or almond meal)
1½ tsp baking powder
175g Thomson seedless grapes, halved
¼ cup raw sugar

(* use margarine for a vegan cake)

Line and grease 22cm round cake tin. Preheat oven to 190 C.

Cream butter and sugar in large bowl. Stir in bananas and rind.

Place port and oil in a small bowl (or coffee mug) and whisk together with whisk or fork. Add flour and baking powder in lots alternatively with port mixture. Gently stir to combine.

Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for 50-55 minutes or til a skewer comes out clean. Serve warm or cool.

UPDATE 5.9.2012 - I made this again and used almond meal instead of soy flour and orange juice instead of port.  It was fantastic.  I think the almond meal was even better than the soy flour.  I've uploaded a photo of this cake - with red grapes - at the top because the photos I took back in 2009 weren't that great!

On the Stereo:
Edelweiss: Allerseelen


  1. Mmmm it looks fantastic!!

  2. Welcome back to the "saddle," Johanna! So nice to see your blog pop up in my Google Reader! :)

    The cake looks great--and not the least bit crumbly. It must have felt terrific to be baking/cooking again! You're already setting a great example for little Sylvia with this gorgeous product. :)

  3. What an interesting sounding cake - I never used grapes in a cake myself. I'm glad it turned out so well, and I'm very impressed that you're back to baking so creatively so quickly! I hope that Sylvia finds being in the kitchen soothing!

  4. wow, i need to make this cake!

  5. Congratulation on the birth of your daughter. Came by just to see if you were back and had a lovely surprise to discover your good news.

    If you want any pointers on what to eat while lactating, please let me know and I can give you some information.

    This cake sounds like a good one. Look forward to your new adventures in the kitchen when ever you can ;)

  6. That looks really good! I like all the little grapes nestled into the top. I am with E, it would make a great pudding, warmed through and served with custard.

  7. Wow this is definitely something new! I don't know if there's a "grape season", but I'm going to go buy some and try this anyway - looks fantastic :)

  8. didn't take you long at all to get back into the swing of things!

    'Nana's for eggs, you say? Brilliant thought. How lovely it is to be reading mags bought in by your lovely mum. Give your beautiful babe a kiss from me, will you? X

  9. Thanks Vegetation - I thought it tasted better than it looked

    thanks Ricki - I feel I am baking more than cooking which I wonder if it is a good example to set but am being a bit self indulgent at the moment

    thanks lysy - I was pleasantly surprised at how good grapes are in the cake - but most of my baking happens while E calms sylvia

    thanks Dessert Obesssed - yes make it - you wont regret it!

    Thanks for your kind thoughts Kiran - diet info at the moment might be useful as I need ideas but am not good at following advice to the letter (just like recipes!)

    thanks Holler - I agree it would be good pudding - had that comforting golden colour

    thanks Chris - hope it works for you - these grapes are in season in Australia in Summer but I think you can get grapes all year round

    Thanks Lucy - yes am pleased to be back in the kitchen - always makes me happy to cook and eat nice food - and to read foodie mags too!

  10. This cake looks delicious! I recently saw a cake someone was making on TV with grapes and was intrigued by it. Can't believe you're already back to baking! Your baby will be spoiled with delicious food when she's old enough to eat solid food!

  11. Your cake is absolutely glorious! Sylvia is so fortunate to have a mom who will teach her to fix such beautiful, healthful, fresh, creative dishes!

  12. P.S. Thank you SO much for the very sweet Birthday wishes! :-)

  13. I simply must make this cake! The only time I use grapes in baking is when I make my concord grape pie. Glad to hear you are back in the kitchen again.

  14. Thanks Ashley - baking gives me a little sanity although it is a little sporadic still (probably like what sylvia will get)

    Thanks Astra - glorious - yes, healthy - not so sure :-)

    thanks Lisa - hope you get to make this cake - good enough to make anyone want to get back to the kitchen!

  15. What a lovely cake! It sounds really delicious.

    Hope you and Sylvia are doing well.

  16. Thanks for the tip. I'd want to try it. Looks yummy. Great! For more about grapes and grape growing, try this:


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