Chefs' Recipes

George Wintle's rosemary syrup cake with mead cream

This one's made for afternoon teas – an almond-lemon cake base, a beautiful mead cream, and rosemary for earthiness and complexity.

By George Wintle
  • 25 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 10 mins cooking (plus chilling)
  • Serves 8
  • Print
At 22, George Wintle has already clocked up an impressive resumé. The young-gun Victorian chef has worked in some of Australia's best restaurants, including Oakridge, the dearly departed Press Club, and Vue de Monde.
If that's not impressive enough, in 2018, Wintle launched an industry initiative called Eat The Issue – an annual fundraising event that aims to tackle the stigma associated with mental health by encouraging conversation and advocating for cultural change within the hospitality industry.
"It's a platform where we [hospitality workers] can start having frank and open conversations," explains Wintle. "Gone are the days where you grit your teeth and say 'Yes, chef' to every demand. We need to start making a more conscious effort in managing physical and mental health in the kitchen."
Wintle has recently packed up his chef's knives and migrated north to work alongside James Viles (ex-Biota) at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley luxury resort in the Blue Mountains. But it was his time at Oakridge in regional Victoria, under the guidance of co-executive chefs Jo Barrett and Matt Stone, which helped shaped him both personally and professionally.
"The culture they bring to that restaurant is remarkable," says Wintle. "Matt is, without a doubt, my biggest inspiration and mentor. His dedication to creating a more sustainable planet and food system is something I really admire, and ultimately want to continue."
In addition to finding new ways to minimise food waste, Wintle likes to experiment with fermentation; as seen in this rosemary syrup cake, which he usually makes with his own honey mead.
"Working so closely with the garden [at Oakridge] and learning about sustainability really helped me choose what kind of chef I want to be," says Wintle. "I think you should always cook for a purpose. My purpose is to educate diners and peers on how we can eat our way to a better future."
Below, he's shared his recipe for the rosemary syrup cake in question. "I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but I find a really good cake hard to beat," he says.. "I quite like adding savoury and earthy elements to desserts – I think it gives a bit more complexity rather than having layers and layers of sugar."
Words by Karlie Verkerk


  • 2 lemons (400 gm)
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 150 gm caster sugar
  • 250 gm almond meal
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • Rosemary flowers, to serve
Mead cream
  • 200 ml liqueur mead (we used Maxwell liqueur mead)
  • 325 ml milk
  • 40 gm butter
  • 80 gm caster sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 30 gm cornflour
  • 1½ tbsp plain flour
  • 1 sheet platinum-strength gelatine (3.5gm)
Rosemary syrup
  • 150 gm caster sugar
  • 50 gm honey
  • 3 large sprigs of rosemary


  • 1
    For the mead cream, place mead liqueur in a saucepan and boil over medium heat until reduced by half (10 minutes). Set aside. Heat milk and butter in a saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted and milk is hot. Whisk sugar and eggs in a bowl until thick and pale. Whisking continuously, slowly add milk mixture. Return to pan, then sift over combined flours and mix well. Soak gelatine in a small bowl of cold water until soft (5 minutes).
  • 2
    Return pan to medium heat, whisking until mixture is thick and flour is cooked (3 minutes). Whisk in reduced liqueur and drained gelatine, then strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Cover surface closely with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming and refrigerate until firm and cold (1 hour).
  • 3
    Meanwhile, for lemon cake, prick lemons with a skewer, place in a saucepan and cover with water. Boil until very soft (30 minutes), topping up with boiling water if necessary to ensure lemons remain submerged. Drain. When cool enough to handle, quarter lemons and remove seeds, then process until smooth.
  • 4
    Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease an 8 x 180ml (¾-cup) mini loaf pan. Line holes with baking paper, so that paper reaches 3cm above the rims. Using a stand mixer, whisk eggs and sugar until very thick and pale (5 minutes). Sift together almond meal and baking powder. Gently fold in puréed lemon and almond-meal mixture into egg mixture until just combined. Divide cake mixture among holes of prepared pan. Bake until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean (30 minutes). Cool cakes in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
  • 5
    Meanwhile, for the rosemary syrup, combine sugar, honey and 200ml water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Simmer until reduced slightly (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat and stand for 3 minutes. Add rosemary and set aside to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain and set aside.
  • 6
    Remove cakes from pan and brush liberally with rosemary syrup. Transfer chilled mead cream to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes). Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle and pipe over cakes. Serve drizzled with remaining syrup and sprinkled with rosemary flowers.