Alumni Update

Celebrate Maggie Beer becoming an Honorary Doctor by making her UniSA 25th Birthday cake

Maggie Beer AM, Australian cook, food author, restaurateur and food manufacturer

On 8 April 2016, the University of South Australia honoured Barossa Valley food guru Maggie Beer AM with an Honorary Doctorate in recognition of her contribution to the promotion of South Australia’s food and tourism industries and her contribution to wellbeing in the community.

In celebration of UniSA’s 25th Birthday, Maggie has kindly shared with us her recipe for Constitution Cake. The cake’s name is fitting for our birthday, as we celebrate 25 years since our formation.

Maggie has become one of South Australia’s most inspirational businesswomen and a key architect of Australia’s modern philanthropic culture. As part of the 2010 Australia Day Awards, Maggie was named Senior Australian of the Year and in 2011 she became South Australian of the Year. She was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her service to tourism and hospitality on Australia Day 2012.

Using only fresh local ingredients, Maggie selected this cake because it is the perfect recognition of all things South Australian.

“Using a combination of dried fruit from the orchards of the early settlers along with the incredible flavours of indigenous ingredients, this cake is the perfect celebration of all things Australian with a very South Australian focus simply because of the wealth of the ingredients on my doorstep. It’s also beautifully moist and moreish. A perfect way to celebrate UniSA’s birthday,” Maggie Beer says.

Why not give Maggie Beer’s Constitution Cake a try and share your results by uploading a picture of your cake on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #UniSA25.

Maggie’s Constitution Cake celebrating UniSA’s 25th Birthday:



  • 150g quandongs dried
  • 1 1/2 cup Verjuice
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 120g dried currants
  • 60g almond whole
  • 180g unsalted butter chopped
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 4 free range eggs
  • 180g self raising flour
  • 1/2 tspn cinnamon ground
  • 1/2 tspn nutmeg ground
  • 180g Davidson’s plums defrosted, sliced and seed removed
  • 120g muntries defrosted
  • 1 lemon zest finely grated
  • 120g candied mixed peel

  • Nut Paste
  • 120g macadamia nut
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 1 free range egg yolk


  1. Reconstitute dried quandongs by soaking in 375 millilitres of Verjuice and 50 grams caster sugar for 30 minutes, then boil for 5 minutes. Turn off, add currants, leave to soften for 1 hour. Drain and reserve syrup.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C and grease and line a 20 cm round spring-form cake tin with baking paper.
  3. Dry-roast 120 gram macadamia nuts and 60 gram almonds (keeping them separate) on a baking tray for 6–8 minutes, then set aside to cool. Reset the oven to 170°C.
  4. 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.
  5. In the cake mixer, cream the brown sugar and butter until pale and fuffy. 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.
  6. 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.


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