At Home With Anneka Manning

Anneka Manning was writing for and editing Australia’s leading foodie publications when she decided to start teaching baking in person.

When did you start baking?
I was drawn to baking from a very young age. I remember when I was eight I bought a fun book called The Kitchen Wizard by Deborah Jarvis and it introduced me to some cool baking science concepts like how soft clouds of whisked egg whites and sugar were crisp, sweet meringues when baked. I think this is when my life-long love affair with baking really started.

Why do you love it?
Firstly, it is the science of baking. I originally trained as a home economist and I have always been fascinated by the actual ‘why’ behind the ‘how’ of baking.
Secondly it is the way baking connects people. How it can make people feel nurtured, comforted and loved. It brings people together, inspires compliments and gratitude, and simply makes people feel good.

What is the biggest mistake you can make when baking a cake?
I think the biggest mistake you can make is not considering what sort of baker you are when choosing the recipe. Don’t make it hard for yourself and remember, something simple done well will out trump anything tricky done not-so-well.

What sweet do you think best represents the Inner West?
It would have to be chocolate beetroot cake. Of course the beetroot has to be organic and the chocolate 70% cocoa and fair trade.

Who would you share a Persian Love Cake with?
My family – my husband, Paul, and my children, Brooke and Ben. They keep me grounded and smiling and, most importantly, always happy to give me a reason to bake whenever I feel like it!

Is there a designated bowl licker in your family?
The kids are…but only if I don’t get there first!

Anneka Manning is the founder of BakeClub baking school in Rosebery. She is headlining the upcoming Cake Bake & Sweets Show, held at the Sydney Olympic Showground on the weekend of June 3rd – 5th. Manning’s latest book, BakeClass (Murdoch Books), came out earlier this year.

Chocolate Soufflé Pudding

• Melted butter, to grease
• Unsweetened cocoa powder
• 3 cups chopped good-quality dark chocolate
• 125 g unsalted butter, cubed
• 2 tbsp marsala wine or freshly brewed strong coffee
• 4 cup caster sugar
• 5 eggs, at room temperature, separated
• Icing sugar, to dust
• Cream or vanilla ice cream, to serve with pudding

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Brush a 2 litre capacity ovenproof dish with melted butter. Dust with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess.
2. Place the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water, and stir until melted and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the marsala, 1/2 cup of the caster sugar and the egg yolks.
3. Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry large bowl on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the remaining ¼ cup caster sugar and whisk until thick and glossy. Add one-third of the egg white mixture to the chocolate mixture and use a large metal spoon or spatula to fold together. Fold through the remaining egg white mixture until just combined.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 55–60 minutes, or until crumbs cling to a skewer inserted in the centre.
5. Remove the pudding from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes. Dust with icing sugar and serve in scoops with cream or ice cream.