One of the chefs I really admire is Donna Hay. Her cookbooks were of the first lot of cookbooks I owned and many a recipe of hers has been cooked by yours truly, passed on and then cooked again. I really think Donna makes cooking simple and having used her recipes many times now, her recipes just get better. I love the fact that all the ingredients in her recipes are easy to find (if not in your kitchen pantry already), you can make do with equipment you have at home and flicking through her recipes, there's always a photo of what you're cooking so you know what to expect. Often, I have trouble deciding what to make because she makes everything look so good!
I was reading the The Sunday Life Magazine over the weekend and there was an article in it about Donna and her recent weight loss. Watching several episodes of Masterchef, I'd been a little curious to see why she'd dropped weight so suddenly (thinking it all had to do with losing weight for the show) and well, little did I know that she'd been suffering from severe back pain for months and as part of her recovery, she'd taken up running 9km a day, 5 days a week to strengthen her back. Donna - you really are an inspiration and on the side, you're looking great. Keep up the great work!
So in honour of Donna, here's her 'simple apple & mixed berry cake' recipe which I made a little while back. I'm very much in love with this recipe as I'm with Donna herself!
Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Place 225g sifted self raising flour, 165g caster sugar, 125g softened butter, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 eggs and 125mL milk in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until just combined. Spoon mixture into a greased 22cm springform tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Top with 1 cored apple, thinly sliced. Add 3/4 cup mixed berries to the top and sprinkle with 2 tbsp demerara sugar.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the cake is cooked when tested with a skewer. Serves 8-10.
This teacake looked great going into the oven and even better when it came out! The texture of the cake was so soft and buttery and the combination of the mixed berries (this was a store bought Creative combination of wild blueberries, blackberries and normal blueberries) and the apple was a match made in heaven. I've previously found this Creative combo rather sour but it definitely wasn't the case in this teacake.
This recipe comes out of Donna' latest cookbook 'fash, fresh, simple' which has taken a permanent place on my desk, within easy reach for when I'm looking for that perfect recipe to make!