10 May 2011

i want to be the girl with the most cake

I'm sure if someone made a perfume based on the feijoas, it'd sell heaps. Right? But then I'd happily wear perfume that smelled like bread baking, if only such a necessary thing existed. So far the only way I can scope that you could recreate that incredible scent is to tie a fresh-baked loaf to your head (or to any bit of you, really) and that's not a particularly practical option (no matter which bit of yourself you tie it to).

When Mum came down to Wellington last weekend, she brought with her a large box of feijoas, from my Nana's tree. (Thanks Nana!) At first it was enough just to let them be. Feijoas, like avocados, are objectionably expensive here in the capital, and so just having the option of grabbing one, slicing its thick green skin open and winkling out the contents with a teaspoon to be swallowed happily, was a pleasingly luxuriant act.

But being myself, I was looking for something to bake them into. Two people I work with helped me out, one by emailing me a recipe she thought I might like (thanks Alex!) and one by supplying a first-come-first-served bag of Granny Smith apples from his tree in Gisborne (cheers Tane!) which the intriguing recipe for cake required. From the East Coast, Waiuku and the desk across the office, many people have made it possible for this cake to exist.

So, it's a good thing it tastes extremely amazing.

The apples sort of dissolve into the mixture, while small chunks of hot, sugary crystalised ginger and grainy feijoa flesh give it texture and intense fruitiness. The sticky, buttery, chewy coconutty topping works better than any icing could (that said, I'm imagining a cream cheese icing with extra chopped crystallised ginger on top...)

Feijoa, Apple and Ginger Cake

Recipe from this site.

1 cup feijoa pulp
1 cup finely chopped apple (depending on size this may be one or two apples)
1/4 cup chopped crystallised ginger
1 tsp baking soda
125 mls (1/2 cup) boiling water
125g soft butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour


50g melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup thread coconut (or dessicated, if it's what you've got)

Set your oven to 180 C/350 F. Butter and paper a 20-22cm springform caketin.

Combine the feijoa, apple, ginger, baking soda and boiling water in a bowl, and set aside while you make the cake batter.

In a good sized bowl, cream the butter and sugar till fluffy, then beat in the egg, and stir in the flour. The mixture will be quite thick at this point - almost like scone dough. Fear not! Fold in the fruit mixture, stirring well, then tip this now significantly liquid-er mixture into your prepared caketin.

Bake for 40 minutes or until golden and not wobbling in the centre. Meanwhile, combine your topping ingredients and spread carefully over the cooked cake, returning to the oven for about 8-10 minutes till the coconut is golden.

I suspect it would be very difficult to overcook this cake, which adds to its appeal, and everything going on - the coconut topping, the ginger - are a fitting showcase for this seasonal and gorgeous fruit. However, I reckon you could very easily substitute the same amount of mashed banana when feijoa is out of season or unavailable (like if you live overseas). Or soft, ripe pears...or a drained can of apricots...so much potential for deliciousness.

Thanks for all the kindness on my last post in regards to Rupert the ex-cat. I guess it won't properly sink in till I next go home.

I'm sure Rupert would be entirely indifferent if he could know that he is remembered extremely solemnly round here...

Me: *wistful face*
Tim: Are you imagining a montage of the good times you and Rupert had together?
Me: Actually.....yes.
Tim: I'm sorry.
Me: (singing quietly) thankyou for the music, the songs we're singing, thanks for all the joy- (at this point a straight face could no longer be maintained, extreme laughter ensued.)


Title via: the excellent Doll Parts by Hole. I love the contrast between the gentle strumming and pretty harmonies against the sad lyrics.

Music lately:

Happy Birthday, by Altered Images. Maybe it has been done already, but the light, twinkly intro would be really good sampled in something. I think so, anyway.

(Version) For The Love Of It by Salmonella Dub, back in their Tiki-fronted days. A really, really good song. Something about the methodical rhythm and drawn-out chorus...I was happily reminded of it while reading this article from the archives on DubDotDash.

Next time: Don't know! Should possibly do something veering away from the puddingy side of things, just for a bit of contrast or something...


  1. Woop! Feijoa cakes are amazing! I feel super lucky to have access to feijoas at around $2 a kilo just down the road. I think they like to grow in the South Island or something.

  2. Yum - one of the things I am loving about being back in Auckland is how plentiful and relatively inexpensive feijoas are here - that is if you unfortunate enough not to know anyone with tree, which is pretty unlikely since almost every second home here has one it seems.

    Cake looks fantastic - love the idea of the topping. Would love a big slice of that right now :-)

    Sue xo

  3. Like I said on twitter, I'm jealous of your access to feijoas. Ridiculous jealous! When I was back home, I'd make a similar cake, but swap out the apple for pear. It was a nice mix, I think. :)

  4. Without a song or dance, what are we?

    Beautiful cake! From the picture I would've guessed it to be a lumberjack cake, but no! You're far too creative and amazing for that!

  5. What is a lumberjack cake?!?! And what are feijoas?!!?

    I should probably look these up, especially the lumberjack cake, as it sounds fit for my profession.

    This cake looks super tasty; I'm looking at YOU, topping!

  6. AnonymousMay 11, 2011

    Love feijoas and there are none in WA that I know of. Did manage to eat a fair amount while in Waiuku :). Other fav ways of consuming feijoas are as juice and in ice cream (I think Rush Munro do a feijoa one and it is magic). Lynn

  7. Zo: Lucky you! :D

    Sue: The trick is to know someone in Auckland ;)

    Elly: I think pear would actually go with feijoa even better :)

    Hannah: Lumberjack cake? I'm going to have to google that.

    Emma: See above :) and yeah, that topping is something else.

    Lynn: Yes - feijoa ice cream is amazing. Glad you got your share in while at home!! XX

  8. Haha your bit about feijoa perfume reminded me of the past week, a friend dropped off a box of feijoas (from an orchard near Roxburgh, labelled 'flirtatious feijoas'!) and they sat in my locker at work for around 3 days.. every time I walked past I could smell that feijoa scent and they eventually made it home and were turned into a crumble! :-) this cake looks beautiful, the texture of the topping reminds me of a half-beaten tapa cloth. Yum!

  9. i made a feijoa cake this week it was DELISH !!! yours looks better though love the ginger idea sounds like a perfect match up with feijoa ....

  10. Personal fav: kiwi and apple crumble with ginger and cinnamon. Hope the trip back to Welly goes /went well. Sorry about the weather we had up here for you.

  11. Oh, you got me with feijoa, Laura ! And I have a lot of granny smith too in the fruit bowl, so this cake will have to be tried very soon.

  12. We had a similar cake at work the other day, but I love your addition of coconut on top. I aslo love the image of you singing ABBA dreaming of your cat. Amazing!

  13. Wow, this cake sounds amazing! I am definately trying it out this weekend :) xo

  14. Yum - ginger with feijoas, good call! I had an influx of feijoas recently (thanks to a neighbours' bountiful tree) - the Waikato seems to be inundated at the moment (woop woop!), and made a really yum loaf - http://nellamiacucina-alana.blogspot.com/2011/04/feijoas-go-go.html

  15. Kiwi? I meant feijoa and apple crumble. Was too distracted by the thought of it to write it correctly.

  16. AnonymousMay 14, 2011

    Your cake looks fabulous. I love the fact that it can't be overcooked. We have a feijoa tree but it's given up its last feijoa for the season. I would 100% wear feijoa perfume. I've been using feijoa for sweet and savoury dishes this season. It goes really well with bangers and mash. Think pork sausages and feijoa as a substitute for apple. I wish I had a ham to glaze in feijoa puree. How cool would that be?

  17. Ooops meant that my personal fav was feijoa and apple crumble, although just cooked the last of the feijoas with some languishing pears and added cinnamon. Strained off the excess juice to make an amazing hot drink. Now to top with crumble. Delish! Looking forward to hearing how the ginger beer scones go.

  18. AnonymousMay 15, 2011

    Totally agree with you on the perfume thing, if more smelt like food I would buy them, the closest I have got is Burberry Lomdon with it's vanilla caramel

  19. I've made a banana cake with that sort of coconut topping and it was gorgeous! I don't think I am ever going to get my hands on feijoa's, so I will have to try it with one of your alternatives.

  20. It is good. Really moist and I love the ginger. Thanks!