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A mint morning tea

24 July 2023
Category: ,

Fabulous foodie and brilliant baker Michelle Morfett celebrates her very first cookbook
(and shares some mouth-watering morning tea recipes with 03!).

Words & recipes Michelle Morfett | Photos Manja Wachsmuth

It feels weird writing about myself and what I’ve been up to the past eight years, but it is so crazy
thinking back.

It all started as a market stall at the Hobsonville Point Markets in 2014 when I was 22. I was selling mini cakes, making cake orders for market customers, and running my stall at different markets around Auckland.

I would tell my market customers that I’d love to have my own little shop one day, and then one day one of those customers messaged me through my business Facebook page, saying she had driven past a shop space for lease in Point Chevalier and thought it would be perfect for me. I viewed the shop and instantly knew this was happening.

So I signed the lease and did a little shop fit-out with barely any money to spend. I opened the doors of Mint Cakery in April 2016, with the help of my boyfriend at the time, Darren, who is also a chef. He’s now my ex, but we are still business partners to this day.

For a long time we did everything ourselves – the baking, making coffees, serving customers – and it was an exhausting time! We learnt so much though.

We moved Mint Cakery from our tiny shop in Point Chev to a bigger space in Ellerslie in September 2018, which is where we are now. With the help of our amazing team, we make lots of cakes to order, donuts, cinnamon buns – everything sweet.

I have always loved baking and business. I have a little book that I have been writing ideas in for the past 10 years, which I call my ‘Spontaneous (and not well-thought-out) decisions book’. So cringe, but it’s a whole heap of little biz ideas for market stalls, from marshmallows to ice cream sandwiches, food caravan and café ideas.

I hadn’t written in the book for a long time, but I randomly found it when I moved house in 2021 and looked through it again. There is a page with the timeline of how I wanted Mint Cakery to go, and in there I’d written that in 2017 I would write a cookbook.

I’m a bit late to the party six years later, but I just thought I had to do it. It would probably be the one thing I’d regret in my career if I didn’t do a cookbook.

I decided straight away I wanted to go down the self-publishing route – I didn’t even think of doing book pitches to publishers; I wanted to learn how to do it all from start to finish. I was definitely naive to how much work and different elements go into getting a book to print and I did everything in the wrong order, but you live and you learn.

I should probably add that I started this cookbook journey when my son Isaac was just five months old. This intro is the last thing I am writing for the book, and he is now fifteen months old. Looking back, I don’t know what I was thinking – shop work, baking, baby aaaaaand book stuff was pretty hectic.

The only time I had to write recipes was in the evenings or when my husband, Jordon, was driving the car and I could work on my laptop in the passenger seat. Trying to type with Isaac at home was almost impossible because he’d just bang on the keyboard – even if I gave him another laptop to bang he still just wanted my one!

The vibe of these recipes is delicious but easy, and there’s also a few extra baking techniques that should help make you a better baker. This also requires a pinch of effort, but you will always be the favourite family member or friend if you are bringing sweet treats to share, so it’s worth it!

Cheddar and Chive Scones

These scones are so delicious. Old-school vibes with the cream and lemonade, but they also make them super easy to whip up. Add anything you like to them, too! Bacon, spinach, feta, red onion; the list is almost endless.

Serves: 8
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 15–17 minutes

500g flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
25g chives, finely chopped
200g grated cheddar, plus extra for the top of each scone

250ml cream
250ml lemonade (I use Sprite)

Preheat your oven to 190°C fan bake. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Sift your flour, baking powder, salt and pepper into a large mixing bowl. Add the finely chopped chives and grated cheese. Mix with a large metal spoon or knife to combine.

Pour your cream and lemonade into the dry mixture and mix until it has just come together and forms a soft dough.

Lightly dust your bench with flour and tip the scone dough out. Dust the top of the scone dough with flour so your hands don’t stick, and gently shape it into a rectangle.

Cut the dough into 8 squares and place each scone onto the baking tray. Top each one with grated cheese.

Bake for 15–17 minutes, until golden. Check them at the 15-minute mark. If they are nice and golden, take them out; if not, a couple more minutes will do the trick.

Best served warm out of the oven with a heap of butter – yum!

Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins

I’m going to call it and say this is the best muffin recipe ever. So easy and delicious. This is the perfect base recipe to add any type of fruit, nuts or chocolate.

Serves: 12
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 20–25 minutes

250g flour
200g caster sugar
20g baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 eggs
250ml milk
75ml canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
200g frozen blueberries
250g cream cheese

Preheat your oven to 165°C fan bake. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with baking paper cases or generously spray with oil.

Sift the dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl, set aside.
Put all of the wet ingredients into a separate small bowl. Gently whisk together to break up the eggs and combine.

Add your wet mixture into your dry mixture and whisk to combine. Once there are no lumps in your batter, change to using a spatula. Fold in the blueberries until they are only just evenly dispersed. Too much mixing at this stage can make the blueberries’ colour run and turn your batter purple, so mix gently to avoid this.

Divide the mixture evenly amongst the holes in the muffin tin. I like to use an ice-cream scoop with a trigger to easily release the batter into each hole. If you don’t have one, two dessert spoons will do. Once the muffin tin is full, get a teaspoon and place a scoop of the cream cheese onto each one. Don’t push the cream cheese down; you want to be able to see it on top.

Bake for 20–25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Once they are out of the oven, leave them in the tin for 30 minutes until they have cooled down. They will collapse on themselves if you pull them out of the tin too early.

Brandy Snaps

I almost wish I had never made my own brandy snaps, because now I will never be able to eat store-bought ones ever again. I use gardening gloves when I’m rolling the brandy snaps so I don’t burn my fingers!

Makes: 10–12
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 8–10 minutes

220g sugar
220g unsalted butter
120g golden syrup
220g plain flour
20ml lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan bake. Line three flat trays with baking paper.
Put the sugar, butter and golden syrup in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and stir until it starts to bubble.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, and whisk in the sifted flour and ginger. Then whisk in the lemon juice.

Using a small 50mm retractable ice-cream scoop or two dessert spoons, place scoops of brandy snap onto the baking trays, leaving a lot of room between each so they can spread as they will triple in size.

Use a palette knife to spread the brandy snap mixture into rectangles.

Bake for 8 minutes. Check to see if they are golden; they may need another 2 minutes.

Remove from the oven and roll the brandy snaps over something round – I use stainless-steel cannoli tubes. This must be done when the brandy snaps are still warm and pliable. If they set and start to break, warm in the oven for 1 minute to re-soften.

When the brandy snaps are set, pull the cannoli tubes or other moulds out.

When ready to serve, fill with whipped cream. To make them even more delicious, pipe in some salted caramel.
The unfilled brandy snaps can be stored in an airtight container for two weeks. Fill with whipped cream just before serving.

Baker’s tip: To make the brandy snap pieces or shards that we use as decoration in a lot of our baking, bake the brandy snaps but don’t roll them up. Keep them flat and break up when they are cool.

Apricot Crumble Tray Bake

This slice has cake vibes, but with the base being so thin and the crunchy crumble topping, I reckon it slips into the slice category. Use any fruit you have on hand, and it will be delicious!

Serves: 12
Prep time: 45 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes

150g unsalted butter, melted
100g brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
150g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup ground almonds
410g can of apricot halves, roughly chopped

90g unsalted butter, melted
50g oats
50g brown sugar
40g plain flour
25g thread coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat your oven to 170°C fan bake. Line a 20cm x 20cm square tin with baking paper.

To make the base, put the melted butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla into your stand mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, or use an electric beater. Beat until combined.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, mixed spice and salt together into a separate bowl. Add to the butter mixture, along with the ground almonds.

Press into the prepared slice tin and smooth the surface off with a palette knife. Bake for 20 minutes.

While it is baking, mix all of the crumble topping ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.

Take the slice base out of the oven and top with the apricot pieces. Scatter the crumble topping over the apricots. Place back into the oven for 15 minutes, until the crumble is golden and crunchy.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before cutting into 12 slices.

Serve with whipped cream.

Store at room temperature for two days or in the fridge for four days.

Mint Cakery by Michelle Morfett, photography by Manja Wachsmuth.
Published by Mint Cakery, distributed by Bateman Books, RRP$45.

Click here to read this delicious story in our digital issue.

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