Tis The Season ... Two Delicious Desserts from Charlotte Ree - The Grace Tales

Tis The Season … Two Delicious Desserts from Charlotte Ree

The party season is among us, which means impromptu visits from friends involving cake and champagne, and relaxed afternoon playdates with brownies and tropical fruit aplenty.

Here to deliver two beautiful recipes that go hand in hand with the season is the multi-talented Charlotte Ree, who has shared two delectable creations from her upcoming book, Just Desserts.

Ready to tuck in?

Just Desserts by Charlotte Ree is published by Plum, RRP $29.99. Photography by Luisa Brimble, Styling by Lee Blaylock. Available in all good bookstores or online at www.charlotteree.com.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

It seems that more and more of my friends are becoming gluten or dairy intolerant. Thankfully, this recipe comes to the rescue when celebrating with them. Baking with olive oil brings an incredible moistness you don’t seem to get with butter.


  • 150 g hazelnut meal
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, sifted
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus extra to serve
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 150 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • icing sugar, sifted, for dusting
  • crème fraîche, to serve


  • Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease a 20 cm springform tin with olive oil and line the base with baking paper.
  • In a small bowl, combine the hazelnut meal, bicarbonate of soda, lemon zest and sea salt.
  • Place the olive oil, caster sugar and eggs in a large bowl and beat with hand-held electric beaters on high speed for 3 minutes, or until the mixture is pale and resembles thickened cream.
  • Reduce the speed to medium–low and add the vanilla, beating continuously. Once combined, add the hazelnut mixture and stir gently with a spatula.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 40–45 minutes.
  • Cool in the tin for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then remove the cake from the tin and set aside to cool.
  • Dust with icing sugar and sprinkle with a little extra lemon zest, then serve with crème fraîche. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 2–3 days.

TIP: To glam things up, try using a vegetable peeler to peel long, thick strips of zest from another lemon. Thinly slice the strips, place them in 2 tablespoons of caster sugar and rub in with your fingertips until combined. Place on top of the cake to decorate.

Serves 12

Chocolate Brownies

Brownies were one of the first things I made as a home baker and I love them in their purest form – chocolate on chocolate! The edge pieces from the brownie tin are always my favourites because of that added crunch. You can make these brownies in a regular 12-hole muffin tin so they’re crunchy all around and gooey and moist in the middle.


  • 350 g caster sugar
  • 80 g Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted, plus extra for dusting (optional)
  • 150 g plain flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 200 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 125 g dark cooking chocolate (70% cocoa), roughly chopped
  • ice cream, to serve (optional)
  • icing sugar, for dusting (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 160°C. Butter or spray and line a 20 cm square 5 cm deep baking tin with baking paper.
  • Mix the sugar, cocoa powder, flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the eggs, butter and vanilla and whisk by hand until combined, then stir in the chocolate.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Leave to cool slightly in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack. Cut into nine pieces.
  • You could serve these warm in the tin with a generous dollop of ice cream or simply dust with cocoa powder or icing sugar. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Makes 9