"THERE is something magical about pulling a loaf of bread out of the oven, whether at home or at the bakery. The crackling of the crust and the aroma filling the air is always exciting.”
These are the words from a man who is truly passionate about the craft of baking. Now, British-born chef Michael James shares more than 80 recipes from his popular Melbourne eatery, the Tivoli Road Bakery.
An impressive tome, The Tivoli Road Baker introduces readers to not only Michael and wife Pippa's successful bakery and its community, but also to the delights of making your own bread and pastries at home.
Olive loaf, fruit sourdough, wholegrain rye and buttermilk loaf, and wattleseed, macadamia and honey loaf are just some of the breads featured in the book. Then there are scones, pies, doughnuts, galettes, pork and fennel sausage rolls, buns and tarts among the recipes.
Along the way, Michael and Pippa highlight the beloved growers and suppliers that they credit as being so important to the success of their little Melbourne bakery. They explore the native ingredients that are becoming more accessible and widely used, as well as ways to incorporate them into modern baking.
Wholegrain spelt and carrot cake
"We are increasingly using wholegrain flours in our baking, for better flavour and nutrition. I absolutely love carrot cakes and was keen to try a wholegrain version. The chopped walnuts add texture, and the honey aromas will drive you crazy with impatience while the cake is baking! This cake is great for occasions when you need to work ahead, as it is even better the day after baking.” - Michael James
5 eggs, at room temperature
200ml light olive oil
250g wholegrain spelt flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
350g carrot, grated
160g walnuts, roughly chopped
60g icing sugar, sifted
60g butter, diced and soft
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla paste)
375g cream cheese, roughly chopped, room temperature
120g thick cream
Walnuts to decorate, optional
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease the tin and line it with baking paper.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and honey for about 10 minutes, until light and fluffy. Keep whisking and add the oil slowly, as though making a mayonnaise, until emulsified. The batter will thin slightly, so don't panic if it doesn't continue to thicken.
Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon together in a large mixing bowl. Add to the egg mixture in three batches, folding gently between each addition until incorporated.
Add the grated carrot and chopped walnuts in three batches, folding gently between each addition until incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape around the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure they are evenly distributed through the mix, and don't sink to the bottom.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and reduce the oven temperature to 160C. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave the cake in the tin for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
To make the cream-cheese icing, cream together the icing sugar, butter and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until pale and smooth. Add the cream cheese a little at a time, continuing to mix at medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the cream and mix until thoroughly combined and you have a spreadable consistency. Be careful not to over mix it, otherwise it will split.
When the cake has cooled, cut it in half horizontally and place the bottom half on to a serving plate. Fill the cake by spreading it with half the cream-cheese icing, and then replace the top.
Cover the top with the rest of the icing and decorate with walnuts, if desired.
This is an edited extract from The Tivoli Road Baker by Michael James with Pippa James, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $60 and is available in stores nationally. Photographers: Bonnie Savage and Alan Benson.