Saturday, May 20, 2023

Weekend Cooking: First, Cream the Butter and Sugar by Emelia Jackson

Tomorrow is World Baking Day, so it is only right that I should talk about a book about baking today.

Emelia Jackson first rose to prominence in Masterchef Australia back in 2014 when she came third in the season. At that time she became known as the "Queen of Choux". She returned in 2020 to win the Back to Win season. Since then, she has gone on to be an ambassador with one of our baking companies, online and more.

Late last year, Jackson released her first cook book which is called First, Cream the Butter and Sugar and it is amazing! As I have mentioned previously, I tend to try to borrow cookbooks from the library before buying them which I did with this week. I then sat and went through the book highlighting all the recipes that I wanted to try. It didn't take long to realise that this was a book that I needed to own! And that it is a book that I am going to be able to use as a baking guide for many years to come. In fact, the other day I was thinking about how many recipes I have bookmarked. If I make one recipe a week, I think it will take me at least 3 or 4 years to get through them.

The book is broken in to six sections - cookies, cakes (both everyday cakes and celebration cakes), tarts, choux, yeasty bakes and finally fillings, sauces and toppings. Each section is comprehensive. For example in the cookie section alone there are more than 25 different recipes. More, if you count that there are seven different variations on macaron flavours. Each recipe in the book includes both metric and imperial measurements and using alternate names of ingredients. For example, where the recipe below calls for caster sugar it also says superfine in the book, making it accessible no matter where you live.

The recipes vary in complexity from easy to much more complicated. For example, the recipe I am sharing today is called a Lazy Apple Pie Cake, also known as Lenja Pita. This is a cake of Serbian origin. The idea is that there is a layer of butter cake, topped with a layer of apples, and then another layer of cake. It's a very simple idea and it is definitely a winner. And it doesn't only work for apples. The author suggest that you can use the same technique for pears, apricots, peaches, berries and cherries. T/he hardest thing about this particular cake is peeling and slicing all the apples!

To give you an idea of the variation in the complexity, here is another option for an apple cake. I haven't yet made spiced apple layer cake with brown butter cream cheese icing, but it is on my list. 

I can't wait to continue to explore all the recipes in this book. I am sure that you will hear more about this book over the coming months! The next recipe I will be making is banana bread. The plan is to combine it with a cheesecake cream cheese frosting which comes from the red velvet recipe in the book.

Lazy Apple Pie Cake (Lenja Pita)

200g caster sugar

150g unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or extract

2 eggs

300g plain flour

200ml full-cream milk

icing sugar for dusting

750g green apples, peeled and sliced

120g caster sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract.

Preheat the oven to 160C. Line a 23cm spring-form cake tin with baking paper.

To make the apple filling, combine the apple slices, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in a large bowl and toss together.

Using an electronic mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the caster sugar, butter and vanilla until light, creamy and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until completely combined.

Whisk the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl to remove any lumps. Add the flour and the milk alternately to the butter mixture, stirring until completely combined but being careful not to overwork the butter.

Spread half of the batter in an even layer over the base of the cake tin and top with the filling (it will look like a lot of apple, but it will cook down and balance the sweetness of the cake). Gently spread the rest of the batter over the apple. The batter will be quite thick so it will some gentle guidance to spread it in an even layer. Bake the cake for 1-1 1/4 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the apple is soft. All the cake to cook completely in the tin.

Liberally dust the cake with icing sugar to serve.

Weekly meals

Saturday - Pork chops, mash, broccoli
Sunday -  
Monday - 
Tuesday - Birthday dinner (meatballs)
Wednesday - Takeaway
Thursday - Steak, broccolini, mushrooms and potato
Friday - Takeaway

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page


  1. That Lazy Apple Pie Cake looks delicious! Perfect name also...

  2. I made an apple cake this week, but this recipe looks a lot nicer. I knew who the author was as soon as I saw your post title. I am a huge fan of MasterChef Australia but devastated about Jock. I will have to wait a while to see the current season.

  3. I'm looking forward to seeing your creations from this cookbook. Your baking always makes me want to give it a try. Great recipe for the apple cake.



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