Cooking the Books: Aimee’s Perfect Bakes



Publisher:Murdoch Books Pub Date:July 2016

The chill that hangs in the air from May through to August can very quickly drive us inside to the cosy parts of our houses and leaves us gazing wistfully through our cold window panes. A perfect way to fill the time is baking, and so we trawled through this wonderful book and selected two layer-cakes to test out, a tall order if ever there was one.

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Our selections were whittled down to a parsnip and pear cake, and a persimmon-cinnamon cake, as it seems we took a shine to two uncommon pairs of ingredients.
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Preparing the ingredients at the beginning took a bit of time, however moving through the steps of the recipe is easy enough for the occasional baker and the steps can be followed in the series of instructional photographs. With three cooks in the kitchen we had some interesting moments of improvisation, including cooling down butter by taking it outside in the freezing cold.
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Phew! Our frosting would have never been the same without the quick thinking and use of the icebox that it is Canberra! Despite our close call, by far the most challenging part was baking without the proper sized cake tins which severely limited how many layers we could afford to do with the allocated mixture. We settled with fewer layers on our cake, thankfully it only affected the height, and the cake was just as scrumptious as it was meant to be!



Above:  persimmon-cinnamon cake paired with a simple cream cheese icing and topped with slices of persimmon and wreathed in freshly picked bay leaves.

Persimmon – Cinnamon cake is a chance to break convention with the banana breads and blueberry muffins of the world(no disrespect) and try something a little left of centre. The cream-cheese frosting adds binding to the two layers that are spotted throughout with small juicy persimmon pieces and the warming taste of cinnamon spice.
The Parsnip and Pear cake became a staff favourite very quickly,  with its comparisons to the humble carrot cake just one example of the inventive adaptations on more traditional cakes that can be spotted throughout this cookbook. The combination of chopped rosemary in the layers paired well with the cinnamon icing, in a ‘herb meets spice meets sweet’ blend.

Above: Pear and parsnip cake with chopped rosemary iced with cinnamon frosting and garnished with flowering wreaths of rosemary

Aimee’s Perfect Bakes includes sweet and savoury delights combined with unconventional ingredients, as well as attempts at daring cake architecture and innovative baking presentation.

Beautifully presented and well photographed, this book is perfect as a gateway to a series of delicious baking adventures, which can help whittle away the hours on the cold winter weekends and deliver a little slice of heaven.
And as a treat, we’ve included the delicious Persimmon cake recipe and your tastebuds will thank us later. Enjoy!

Preparation time: 20 mins

Baking time: 50 mins

Decorating time: 10 mins


For the sponge

200g soft light brown sugar

100g caster sugar

300g unsalted butter

5 eggs

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

300g self-raising flour

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

30ml milk

1 persimmon





Preheat oven to 180 degrees, grease and line the cake tins


Put the sugars and butter in a bowl and beat together until soft and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each one is properly combined before adding the next. Add the vanilla extract and mix in. Add the flour and cinnamon and fold through. To loosen the batter, add a little milk.


Chop the persimmon into smaller chunks and stir it through the batter. Spoon the batter evenly into the two prepared tines and bake for 40-45 minutes. To test, insert a skewer into the centre; if it comes out clean the cake is cooked. Leave to cool in the tin for 10mins, then on a wire rack to cool completely.


For frosting

600ml thick heavy cream

80g icing Sugar

200g cream cheese

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 persimmon, sliced


A spring of bay leaves for decoration


Whip the cream and icing sugar until thick, then add the vanilla extract and cream cheese and mix well.


Two 15cm round cake tins

Wire rack


To assemble:

Slice the sponges in half horizontally. Place one sponge layer on a cake plate and spread over some frosting. Add another sponge cake layer and continue building up the cake. Frost the cake with ‘dirty icing’ (see page 49) and decorate with persimmon slices and edible leaves such as bay. The cake will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge – remove 30mins before serving to come to room temperature.

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