For as long as she can remember, Marina Rostas visited farmers markets with her mother every Friday to gather the weekly fresh produce. It was this little family ritual that shaped her appreciation for fresh and local food from an early age.
‘I actually can’t remember my mother shopping for food in a grocery store. Everything was always happening at the markets, and so, this is how we continue to gather our food today’, Marina says.
‘I also spent loads of time in the kitchen when I was little. There was always something special happening there – like some sort of magic that I just wanted to be a part of. Today, I find creating a meal from scratch to feed others is one of the biggest expressions of love and care.’
Creating a meal from scratch to feed others is one of the biggest expressions of love and care. — Marina Rostas
Fast-forward two years, shaped by childhood experiences (and a clever Mother) combined with the fact that the Australian dessert market was lacking when it came to readily available desserts made from organic ingredients straight from nature, Marina’s business Nutjob Bakery was born.
Baking only with local ingredients and those found in Australian nature, Marina wanted to ensure people with different dietary requirements could also enjoy her delightful creations. With the biggest focus on seasonal organic and local ingredients, the desserts are not crowded with refined sugars which allow the seasonal flavours to shine through.
I want to contribute to building a healthy community and to show people we can enjoy desserts in a sustainable way, while respecting nature and our bodies. — Marina Rostas
‘It’s been two years of Nutjob now and a helluva ride! People are wary of ‘healthy’ desserts so we are slowly working to change this perception’, Marina says. ‘After all, I want to contribute to building a healthy community and to show people we can enjoy desserts in a sustainable way, while respecting nature and our bodies.’
Southern Wild Co discovered Nutjob Bakery via instagram and were instantly drawn to the tagline ‘Antiordinary Desserts’, followed quickly by the tongue-in-cheek humour and pure joy that shines through those delicious-looking images. We went on to commission Marina and her team to make a series of cakes for our 4th birthday celebration, along with a few extras to shoot for new SWC products coming online soon (of course we had to ‘test’ everything).
We encourage you to visit Nutjob Bakery for more healthy and delicious dessert inspiration. In the meantime, Marina kindly agreed to share her recipe for Nutjob’s Australian Macadamia Hummingbird cake exclusively with Southern Wild Co readers below. Enjoy!
Macadamia Hummingbird Cake
(gf, grain free, vegan)
Marina says this is not the easiest recipe, but so worth it! There are some adaptations for the pan sizes and of course, this recipe is gluten-free, grain-free and vegan.
You may use: 3 x 16cm pans OR 2 x 18cm pans OR 1 x 20cm pan.
For the spongesIngredients*
- Blanched almond flour 250g
- Arrowroot starch 80g
- Shredded coconut 40g
- Coconut sugar 160g
- Coconut yogurt 75g (or swap for regular greek if you tolerate dairy)
- Mashed bananas 300g
- Mashed pineapple 250g
- 1 tablespoon ground flax
- 1 tablespoon ground chia
- 5 tablespoons sparkling or still water
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- Vanilla 1 tsp
- Ginger 1 tsp
- 1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
- 1 tablespoon lemon/lime juice
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Line three 16 cm cake pans (or see above pan size substitutions) with baking paper and grease the sides with coconut oil or butter.
- In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In another bowl mash pineapple and bananas with a fork, add yogurt and vanilla and mix well until combined. Add dry ingredients to the wet, gently stirring until a batter forms. Gradually add sparkling or still water to the batter and mix well, until all water is absorbed. In a small cup mix bi-carb soda and lemon/lime juice and add to the batter, making sure it’s fully incorporated in the batter.
- Pour the batter in the prepared pans and bake for 45 minutes at 175 degrees. If baking in larger pans, adjust baking time to 50 min. Take the pans out and leave them to cool at room temperature for 30 min, before inverting the cakes onto a rack and allow to completely cool.
- 150g Australian macadamia nuts or macadamia butter
- 1 can refrigerated coconut cream (solid part only)
- 70g bush honey
- Pinch sea salt
- 3 tablespoon coconut oil (or butter if you tolerate dairy)
- Grated organic lime peel from 1 whole lime
- Scoop only the solid coconut cream from the top of the can and pour into your blender, and add the rest of the frosting ingredients. Blend on medium to high speed until smooth (you might need to scrape the sides a couple of times). Tip – leave some macadamia bits for an added texture.
- For a quicker version, refrigerate the frosting for 2 hours and use as is, frosting the cake sponges as usual. For a fluffier frosting version, refrigerate for minimum 5 hours, and once solid, whip it with an electric mixer until fluffy and voluminous. Place one cake layer on a plate and frost generously, repeat with the other two layers. You can leave the sides half naked or you can gently frost the sides, and place the cake back in the fridge for at least an hour.
*Whenever you can, please source your ingredients organic/pesticide free from local farmer’s markets.