Post image for International Salt Incident – GanAsha Cake

International Salt Incident – GanAsha Cake

November 21, 2010 · 85 comments

Another International Incident Party is upon us, and this time we’re coming straight from the beach without time to have a proper shower, still covered in salt and sand and with bits of seaweed stuck in our hair all night until someone finally tells us it’s there.

Hang on to your shakers, this month we’re talking salt.

Salty sprinkles hiding amongst the peanut boulders

“Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea” (Pythagoras)

Those sly dogs, getting it on right in front of our faces and us all being none the wiser!

“Salt is the policeman of taste: it keeps the various flavours of a dish in order and restrains the stronger from tyrannizing over the weaker” (Margaret Visser)

Yes, the sun and the sea gave birth to the culinary Robin Hood.

You wouldn’t know it, but a war against tyranny is raging inside this seemingly peaceful slice of cake

As luck would have it, this salt themed party coincided with the birthday of a particularly salt-encrusted marine biologist Maid Marian – my friend Asha. There was nothing for it but to create a salty cake in her honour and hope that we could keep it from the clutches of Friar Tuck .

After songs were sung, candles were blown and cake was eaten, the birthday girl christened this chocolatey salty creation the Ganasha Cake and I vowed to make it again very soon. The cake itself is incredibly soft and moist, the frosting is rich and bittersweet with hints of peanut and coffee to add depth of flavour, and the salt flakes cut through it all and amplify everything. I’m not sure if Robin would approve but Maid Marian gave it two thumbs up and that’s good enough for me.

You might want to rethink the garnish if making this for your good friend Wilhelmina or Bartholemew.

GanAsha Cake

(Banana cake with peanut mocha frosting, honey roasted peanuts and lashings of sea salt)
Based on David Lebovitz’s Banana Cake with Mocha Frosting

Ingredients
Cakes
350 g plain flour
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1.5 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
230 g softened unsalted butter
300g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp instant coffee granules
2 extra large eggs, room temp
90 mL natural yoghurt, sour cream or buttermilk, room temp
2 cups mashed very ripe bananas
1.25 cups toasted and roughly chopped walnuts

Frosting
280 g dark chocolate, chopped
1 tsp instant coffee granules
70 g butter, room temp
70 g smooth peanut butter

Garnishes
~1 cup honey roasted peanuts, whole
1/4 – 1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts, chopped
sea salt flakes

Method
Cakes
1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees (350 F).
2. Grease and line two 9 inch round cake tins.
3. Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl, then whisk to combine.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Add the vanilla and coffee and beat to combine.
5. Add eggs one at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition.
6. Add half the flour mixture, beating until combined. Add the yoghurt and banana, beat until combined. Add the remaining flour and beat until combined, but do not overwork the mixture as it will make it tough. Stir through the walnuts.
7. Divide the mix between the two cake pans, smoothing out the tops. Place pans in the oven and cook for 40 minutes, or until golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pans on wire racks.

Frosting
1. Place the chocolate and coffee in a heatproof bowl then melt over a pan of simmering water, being sure the water does not touch the base of the bowl. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
2. Remove bowl from the pan and add the butter and peanut butter, stirring or whisking until smooth.

Ready for business. Chocolate salty business.

Cake Assembly
1. Remove the cakes from the pans and remove the paper from them. Ensure they are completely cool before continuing on.
2. Place one cake on your serving plate or stand. Place approximately 3/4 cup of frosting on top and spread it evenly. Sprinkle the chopped honey roasted peanuts over the frosting. Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp of sea salt flakes over the frosting as well, depending on your taste.

Salty insides about to get squashed by cake #2

3. Place the other cake on top of the frosted cake. Pour the remaining frosting over the top and smooth out to completely cover the top and sides of the cake.

Ooh it’s just begging for a greedy finger!

4. Decorate with the whole peanuts (or chopped if you prefer) and more sea salt flakes, using some to spell out the name of that special salty someone in your life.

Lucky last piece, for Maid Marian to sneak back to camp

Big thanks to salt-of the-earth Penny of Jeroxie (Addictive & Consuming) for again being such a fabulous party host. and please head over to the following salty-dog blogs to check out their creations.

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{ 84 comments… read them below or add one }

Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite November 21, 2010 at 8:06 am

Conor – whilst I *LOVE* this cake and wish you could have made it for my birthday, I think you might be interested in what’s going on at ELTW today for the salt party too…
Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite´s last blog post ..International Incident Party- Salt

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Conor November 21, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I think that is possibly the understatement of the year, Mardi.
You rock.

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Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite November 22, 2010 at 9:28 am

Reading this again I fear it makes me look like I am trying to say “mine is better than yours” which of course is not the case. But as I was making those Legos all I could think about was “I know Conor’s going to LOVE these” ;-)
Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite´s last blog post ..International Incident Party- Salt

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Conor November 22, 2010 at 9:41 am

Fear not, I know you better than to think that even if I did think that was how it came across (which I didn’t).
So very, very true. Love them. I wish I could sit at home today and play with my LEGO instead of sitting here at work contemplating a second coffee to get my paper-writing brain into gear.

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leaf (the indolent cook) November 21, 2010 at 8:31 am

Yum, cake is always good and the addition of salt to this one sounds scrumptious!
leaf (the indolent cook)´s last blog post ..preserved mandarin sorbet

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Conor November 21, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Thanks leaf! It was a great flavour combination.

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Annapet November 21, 2010 at 9:24 am

Wow, I just fell in love with your header! And the cake, I could use a slice or two right now. One of these days, I’ll bake something real like this.
Annapet´s last blog post ..Caramel Apple Red Tea Macarons with Fleur de Sel Caramel Filling

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Conor November 21, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Aw thanks Annapet, I’m quite in love with it too :) Was a long time coming so it’s lovely to get nice feedback about it.
Wish I could send you a slice of cake!

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5 Star Foodie November 21, 2010 at 10:28 am

What an amazing combination of sweet and salty flavors in this gorgeous cake! The peanut, chocolate, banana, and salt combo sounds just excellent!

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Conor November 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Thank you, I was actually really impressed with this cake! A make-again recipe for sure :)

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Hannah November 21, 2010 at 10:30 am

I just. I just can’t. Speak of. I just. Swoon. All. Yum and. Speak-lost. Oh Heavens. Mine. Want. I just. Conor!

This is like the cake version of the Curious Chocolatier milk choc with banana and honey roasted peanuts that I so loved…

You were more that right when you said I’d love your Sunday post. Words cannot express.
Hannah´s last blog post ..Fourteen Things I Have Learnt In The Past Week

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Conor November 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm

Yay yay yay, that is EXACTLY the reaction I was hoping for from you! I was thinking Hannah-ish thoughts as I scooped the peanut butter into the frosting.

I didn’t even think of the connection with the Curious Chocolatier banana chocolate! Hooray!

You know, it could also be called a Hannahsha Cake…

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Hannah November 22, 2010 at 9:31 am

Quite frankly, I’m offended that you didn’t squeeze my name into the title. However, I forgive if you really did think of me while making this :)

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GourmetGetaways November 21, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Yum!!! It looks just amazing, I never would have thought to do that with the theme “Salt”

I haven’t made a layer cake for ages! It must be time, I am getting hunggry just looking at yours.

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Conor November 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Thanks Julie! I guess I’m pretty predictable to go with a sweet spin on the theme :)

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Maya@Foodiva's Kitchen November 21, 2010 at 1:40 pm

This ganache (Ganasha..haha) cake is the bomb! I got ravenous just looking at your pictures… It looks like salt does pair very well with chocolate, and adding those honey-roasted nuts is just pure genius!

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Conor November 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Thank you Maya! I think the only way I could improve this cake would be to stick a few of your grissini in the middle :D

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Tamar November 21, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Writing her name in salt flakes is so clever!
Tamar´s last blog post ..Recipe- Korean sesame salt

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Conor November 21, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Thanks Tamar :) I’m just glad her name is so short.

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msihua November 21, 2010 at 2:31 pm

If I close my eyes, I can almost taste it! It looks soooo good and sinful… and happy :)
msihua´s last blog post ..International Incident Salt Party – Fleur De Sel Caramel Sneakers

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Conor November 21, 2010 at 5:23 pm

It looks happy? Aw, brilliant, thanks msihua!

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Katerina November 21, 2010 at 2:50 pm

I love the sweet and savory taste in this cake. You did a very good job with it!

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Conor November 21, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Thank you Katerina, it’s a lovely combo :)

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My Restaurants Melbourne November 21, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Wow, I’m loving reading all the IIP recipes, everyones has been so creative!! I loved your use of salt in this cake

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Conor November 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm

I agree, it’s been yet another good’un! So much sweet’n'salty creativity.

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Iron Chef Shellie November 21, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Oh Conor!
I think I want to lick my screen…. why must your torture me!!
Iron Chef Shellie´s last blog post ..International Incident Party – Salt

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Conor November 21, 2010 at 6:39 pm

Back away from the screen, Shellie! (well, if it’s anything like my screen you really don’t want to go sticking your tongue on it… must get around to cleaning it one day)

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Agnes November 21, 2010 at 6:34 pm

That is one serious looking cake, Conor! But I think if you were really serious about making a salty cake, you would’ve made it out of meat or something. ;)

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Conor November 21, 2010 at 6:40 pm

HA! MEAT CAKE!!

One day, Agnes, one day..

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Pam November 21, 2010 at 9:58 pm

I love salty and sweet together. The cake look decadent and beautiful!
Pam´s last blog post ..Tomato Tian

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Conor November 22, 2010 at 9:04 am

Thanks Pam! It’s a curious combination that’s hard to pass up :)

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Trix November 21, 2010 at 11:53 pm

This cake is absolutely insane, really. Do I start with the moist-i-ness? Or the salt-i-ness? Eek! I think what’s calling my name the hardest are those peanuts; the crunch with the cake would be diet doom to me. Nice!

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Conor November 22, 2010 at 9:07 am

Trix, I think diet doom is such a good way to describe it. Such a terrible, good way :D The moist-i-ness is what killed me.. the goopy bits with the chocolate frosting were just begging to be picked at and picked at, ayee!
Thanks! :)

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Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz November 22, 2010 at 12:08 am

K I L L E R cake my dear, OMG! And love sweet and salty. Got leftovers, got my address still to send me a slice in the mail? lol
Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz´s last blog post ..IIP- Salt Preserved Jalapeno

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Conor November 22, 2010 at 9:24 am

Thank you Evelyne, quite excited to get capitals! ;) There was one little piece left and sadly the birthday girl got first dibs on it. I got to lick the knife at least :)

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Harriet November 22, 2010 at 3:02 am

Looks great! I know a lot of people put salt on nuts but I would never have thought to put salted nuts on a cake though. Thanks for the ganash recipe as well, I’ve been looking for a good one for a while!
Harriet´s last blog post ..Debt Advice

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Conor November 22, 2010 at 9:26 am

Thanks Harriet! The nuts made it a bit messy to cut nicely, but with such a tasty cake this was not really a big deal :)

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Kath Lockett November 22, 2010 at 4:24 am

That is …… well….. I’m speechless with want, jealousy, hunger and longing…..

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Conor November 22, 2010 at 9:26 am

Just the reaction I was going for, Kath! Woo :)

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Maria @ Scandifoodie November 22, 2010 at 4:32 am

Sounds rich and delicious!
Maria @ Scandifoodie´s last blog post ..Finnish Potato Flat Bread

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Conor November 22, 2010 at 9:27 am

Thanks Maria! The frosting was certainly rich, but the soft banana-y cake was not, so you could eat a nice big piece without feeling ill :)

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tasteofbeirut November 22, 2010 at 5:14 am

Oh this looks amazing! I dont care for Reese’s candies but I would love this! It is just sinful and wonderful; vote in!!

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Conor November 22, 2010 at 9:28 am

Thank you Joumana! I have a love-hate thing with Reese’s (can’t decide if they are amazing or sickly) but they’re so hard to buy here it’s not really an issue. I think it’s just a love-love thing with this cake though :) Thanks!

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Cakelaw November 22, 2010 at 9:29 am

I love it! This looks fab. I made this cake for a birthday but skipped the peanuts as I didn’t know what to do with them in decorating, but you have done a fab job.
Cakelaw´s last blog post ..Cheesemaking with Graham Redhead

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Conor November 22, 2010 at 9:43 am

Thanks Cakelaw! I didn’t try the original frosting but can really recommend this version with half peanut butter in there.

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denise @ quickies on the dinner table November 22, 2010 at 11:59 am

Too much goodness in one cake……………NOT!!! Never enough!!! Bea-uuuuuuuuuu- teeeeee- ful!!! Love the touch of flaky salt and the honey roasted peanuts! Seriously YUMMERS!!!!

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Conor November 22, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Just perfect for after a big mouthful of fresh tuna! Might want to clean the blood off the table before sitting down with your cake though ;)

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Jeanne November 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Conor, thank you for your lovely words! (: and this cake looks like something i will enjoy day in and out. it’s been fun reading and looking at everyone’s fabulous creations! (:

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Conor November 23, 2010 at 12:24 pm

My pleasure Jeanne, and the same to you! It’s been a great party this time round (well, as usual, really!) :)

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Kimba's Kitchen November 22, 2010 at 6:32 pm

I am lovin’ Penny’s salt theme!! Looks AMAZING Conor, great job!! This cake truly looks incredibly moist and delicious, and the salty flavors would just drive me insane. I want a piece, you don’t happen to have anymore… would you? ;)
Kimba’s Kitchen´s last blog post ..Garlic Chicken and Avocado Salad

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Conor November 23, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Thanks Kimba! I’m loving this theme too. There’s been so much goodness in the sweet department for it too. Oh god I wish I have a leftover piece right now but if I did I’m not so sure I’d share it ;)

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Juliana November 23, 2010 at 6:26 am

Conor…your sure made my mouth water…love the idea of sweet and salty all in one big bite…the cake looks fabulous :-)

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Conor November 23, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Thank you Juliana! It’s really become a popular combination these days, hasn’t it? So glad we can finally get the Lindt Fleur de Sel in Perth now too, woo :)

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Karen Harris November 23, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Nothing better than chocolate and peanut butter except maybe chocolate, peanut butter and several good friends. Your cake looks fab.
Karen Harris´s last blog post ..Hot Stuff

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Conor November 23, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Very well said Karen! It was a great couple of days for friends.. I wish people had more birthdays so we had more valid excuses to sit around talking crap and eating delicious treats. Thanks :)

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella November 23, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Hehe I bet she loved it! OK Conor can you please make me a cake for my birthday? My name isn’t toooo long! :P

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Conor November 26, 2010 at 4:58 pm

She was pretty happy with it :D Sure thing… but could I maybe use “NQN” instead? ;)

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Trissa November 23, 2010 at 5:40 pm

I’m not big on chocolate cakes but my weakness will always be chocolate and a really good quality salt… can you make this for my birthday too? :)

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Conor November 26, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Sure Trissa, I’ll add you to the list. Looks like I’m going to be busy next year :D

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Pachecopatty November 23, 2010 at 9:21 pm

I’m loving the new header, very sweet with a cupcake front and center. On to your flavor combination in this amazing birthday cake, by George I think you’ve got it all!
I also have a thing for salty chocolate goodness, I would love a slice of this wonderful cake:)

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Conor November 26, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Thanks heaps Patty! Cupcake front and centre sounds like my life. One (imaginary, sorry) slice coming right up!

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Simply Life November 24, 2010 at 9:59 am

Wow, that looks so good!
Simply Life´s last blog post ..Manna Bread &amp Giveaway Winners!

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Conor November 26, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Thank you!

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MaryMoh November 24, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Conor, you have all my favourite in a cake! Looks so moist and delicious with all the lovely frosting. Just love it!
MaryMoh´s last blog post ..Taking Care Of The Elderly – Alzheimer’s Disease Part 3 Food

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Conor November 26, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Thank you Mary! I must have been secretly making it just for you :)

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Adrian in Food Rehab November 24, 2010 at 7:26 pm

So um, my Bday is in Feb *HINT* Amazing Layer cake right here
Adrian in Food Rehab´s last blog post ..Recipe Time- Kare Kare Oxtail and Peanut Stew

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Conor November 26, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Mine is in Feb too! I can make your cake and you can make mine? Deal?

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Nancy/ Spicie Foodie November 25, 2010 at 8:41 am

Conor, you are rubbing it in that us in the northern hemisphere are freezing our butts off:) Your GanAsha cake looks AMAZING! What a lucky friend you have and happy b-day to her. I love these IIP there are always so many great creations.
Nancy/ Spicie Foodie´s last blog post ..A Guest Post and A Wish

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Conor November 26, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Sorry Nancy but we’ve been enduring the face-rubbing for a while now ;)
Thank you!! She’s quite a lovely lass so it was nice to make her happy with cake :D

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Gourmetgetaways November 26, 2010 at 9:05 am

Haha, I know what you mean, I always seem to be making sweets too, they just look so much prettier :)

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Conor November 26, 2010 at 5:06 pm

We can’t help but be sucked in by their prettiness, can we? It’s fighting a losing battle. A losing battle of deliciousness.

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penny aka jeroxie November 28, 2010 at 2:07 pm

my kitchen is open to you when you come next year for Aus Open… can you PLEASE bake this cake for meeeeeee!!!

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Conor November 29, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Hmmmmmmmmmmm, I shall consider your request……………. ;)

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Andrea@High/Low November 29, 2010 at 7:42 am

Asha’s so lucky to have a baking friend like you! Salt and Chocolate is one of my fave combinations – dangerously addictive!
Andrea@High/Low´s last blog post ..Sweet Treats Union Square Holiday Market

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Conor November 29, 2010 at 4:28 pm

I’ll be sure to let her know, Andrea ;)
Seriously, how good is the combo! It’s so good it’s bad, bad, bad. I’m amazed my Mum didn’t warn me about it when I was younger..

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Asha November 29, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Woo Hoo I’m FAMOUS!!!! Yes yes yes Asha is super uber madly amazingly luckiest to have ConCon as her friend!!!! The surprise party was the best ever and this cake…..*melt*…..Seriously delicious combo and oh such an honour to have it named after me (with no *extra* pressure…)…
Lucky lucky Asha Loves Baker ConCon!!!

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Conor November 29, 2010 at 5:08 pm

When you’re super famous and rich as well (you know, when you’re even more a celebrity Marine Biologist and travelling the world being flanked by cameramen on your ocean voyages) you can take me on as your Personal Provider of Desserts! Except I’ll get you to make the chocolate biscuit pudding. Then I’ll eat it all.
Yay for cake inspired chocolatey love! Yay for friends! Can’t wait until your anti-birthday :D

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Magic of Spice December 1, 2010 at 1:40 pm

What a brilliant cake…Love it! And I am sure your friend did as well :)
Magic of Spice´s last blog post ..News &amp Reminders

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Conor December 1, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Thank you! :)

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Maria@TheGourmetChallenge December 2, 2010 at 9:16 am

Ok….its time for lunch now. After reading that my stomach is about to attack me! Nothing will be as good as cake now….except maybe…. cake…damn you logic!!
Maria@TheGourmetChallenge´s last blog post ..Results – Roasted Duck Breast- Braised Turnips- and a Mango and Lemon Sauce

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Conor December 5, 2010 at 4:31 pm

There’s no fooling your stomach with a rice cracker and vegemite when it is craving cake. You just end up eating a rice crack and vegemite and then cake as well.

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Forager @ The Gourmet Forager December 2, 2010 at 9:17 am

Delicious! I am a bit of a salt fiend and can’t help buying tart fruits so I can eat them with salt. Not the healthiest, but hey, tasty as. The part of this post that caught my attention though was the Pythagoras quote. If they told me that guy had ideas on food too I would have had more respect for him in high school maths classes.
Forager @ The Gourmet Forager´s last blog post ..Diary of an amateur mushroom forager

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Conor December 5, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Ooh, nice. We all need salt in our diet.. surely that is an acceptable way to get it in? Let’s forget about RDI values for the minute..
Yeah, I think Pythagoras has had a bum rap in history – all that hypotenuse stuff has gotten in the way of his real contribution to humanity, clearly.

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Matthew December 15, 2010 at 12:15 am

You seem to have the flavor combination’s down pat.

I will give the recipe a whirl.

Thanks for sharing.

Matthew
Matthew´s last blog post ..Heston Blumenthal – The Chef Behind The Fat Duck

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