Alumni News Articles

Senior Australian of the Year 2010 unveils Constitution Day cake

9 July 2010

The National Archives of Australia commissioned culinary legend Maggie Beer, Senior Australian of the Year 2010, to develop a unique recipe for an Australian Constitution Cake.

Last night, on the eve of Constitution Day, Maggie unveiled the cake at an event at the High Court of Australia.

In an interview with the Canberra Times, Ms Beer said it had taken her several attempts to create a cake which marked federation.

"It had to be totally unique and totally Australian," she said.

"It had to combine indigenous ingredients along with ingredients the early settlers would have used."

Ingredients in the cake include quandongs, Davidson’s plums and almonds.

Constitution Day, 9 July, marks the day when Queen Victoria gave royal assent to the Australian Constitution in 1900.

Maggie Beer’s Constitution Day cake recipe can be found below:

375ml verjuice
180g davidson's plums (defrosted, sliced and seed removed)*
120g muntries (defrosted)*
120g quandongs (dried)
120g dried currants
60g almonds, whole
50g caster sugar
120g dark-brown sugar
180g unsalted butter, chopped
4 eggs
180g self-raising flour
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
120g candied mixed peel
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
nut paste
120g macadamia nuts
100g icing sugar
1 egg yolk

* Available from specialist native food suppliers.

Reconstitute dried quandongs by soaking in 375ml of verjuice and 50g caster sugar for 30 minutes, then boil for 5 minutes. Turn off, add currants, leave to soften for 1 hour. Drain and reserve syrup.

Preheat the oven to 220ºC and grease and line a 20cm round spring-form cake tin with baking paper.

Dry-roast 120g macadamia nuts and 60g almonds (keeping them separate) on a baking tray for 6–8 minutes, then set aside to cool. Reset the oven to 170ºC.

To make the nut paste, blend the roasted macadamias in a food processor, then add the icing sugar and egg yolk and pulse to form a stiff paste. Set aside.

In the cake mixer, cream the brown sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour if the mixture curdles.

Fold in the flour, spices, currants, quandongs, sliced davidson's plums (seed removed), whole muntries, almonds and candied peel. Stir in the grated lemon zest and the reserved syrup, to give a soft batter.
Spoon half the batter into the prepared tin, then spread the nut paste over the mixture and top it with the remaining batter.

Bake for 2.5 hours (or until a fine skewer comes out clean). If the top colours too quickly, cover with foil for the last hour. Leave the cake to cool a little in the tin before turning it out.