After the success of my Microwave Mug Cakes series, I knew there were a lot of people after single/double serving recipes that can be made in the microwave. Whether they lacked self control with a large batch of baked goods (me!) or they didn’t have an oven in their small apartment, these types of recipes were very popular.
So I decided to focus my attention on the cupcake. Let’s say you’re craving a homemade cupcake but you don’t want to spend an hour in the kitchen. Maybe you don’t have the time, or it’s a boiling summers day and slaving away in front of a hot oven is your idea of hell. Not to mention you then have to resist eating all 12 cupcakes you just baked!
So what’s my solution? How about a rich chocolate cupcake that takes 2 minutes to prepare, 2 minutes to cook and serves 2?
I’m not pulling your leg, this easy recipe produces delicious tasting chocolate cupcakes using your good old friend the microwave!
It’s literally a matter of whisking the ingredients together in a small bowl, dividing the mixture between 2 large baking cups (the sturdy, freestanding ones, not cupcake liners) and cooking the cupcakes for 1 minute each.
I found the cupcakes cooked more evenly if you positioned them right in the middle of the microwave and cooked them separately.
I included an egg in my initial recipe, but I found omitting it actually made the cupcakes lighter and fluffier. I honestly wonder if anyone would notice you cooked them in the microwave.
This is the perfect recipe to make when you want an easy and quick dessert. Or if a vegan or dairy/gluten-intolerant friend drops by for dinner. Or if you’re feeling hot and bothered and don’t want to turn the oven on for a sugar fix. Or even if you’ve got a few too many overripe mangoes hanging around!
This ice cream probably sounds too good to be true, but I would never lie to you. It requires no dairy, nor an ice cream machine. The simple magic of blitzing frozen mango chunks in the food processor until smooth and creamy is what creates this delicious and allergy-friendly dessert!
I had leftover strawberries floating around the freezer, and the 2 ingredient mango and strawberry ice cream was born. Feel free to throw in any fruit you desire.
Mango and Strawberry Ice Cream with only 2 ingredients!
I love using dried fruit in baking for an easy and quick dose of flavour and texture. Cranberries add an extra layer of tartness to any dessert, which is why I love pairing them with white chocolate.
The lovely folks at Ocean Spray sent me some dried cranberries and cranberry sauce recently to get creative with, and this is what I came up with!
I had a hankering for cookies lately and wanted to perfect the ultimate cranberry and white chocolate cookie. I contemplated a cranberry drizzle over the top, until I realised you honestly can’t get better than a cookie sandwich.
The slightly salty cream cheese used in the cranberry filling balances out the sweet cookies well, making them highly addictive.
Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, around 12-14 minutes.
Allow cookies to cool completely on a baking rack.
Cranberry Cream Cheese Icing
Combine cream cheese and cranberry sauce in a bowl with electric beaters until thoroughly mixed through.
Gradually add the icing sugar, beating until thick and creamy.
Use a small offset spatula or a knife, spread a generous amount of icing on half of the cookies, and then sandwich them together with the remaining cookies.
I must admit I got a bit excited with my portion control of the cookie batter and created HUGE cookie sandwiches (not that’s really a problem, let’s be honest). But for health’s sake, I suggest you stick to my rule of a tablespoon-sized ball of dough per cookie.
What’s your favourite way to bake with cranberries?
And don’t forget to swing by the Ocean Spray facebook page – they’re currently running a competition to win one of five $1000 grocery vouchers, by answering the question, ‘What is the most creative cranberry dish you would love to cook and what would you call it?’ in 30 words or less. Get those creative juices flowing!
I often hear a lot of people saying they’re bad at baking. They may be a whiz in the kitchen with savoury foods, but the second desserts come onto the scene it’s a disaster. Baking is often referred to as a science, meaning you can’t just throw in ingredients to taste and hope for the best. But if you learn and follow some important baking rules, you are well on your way to more successes in the kitchen!
♥ Ensure your ingredients are at the right temperature
The right temperature for you ingredients can sometimes make or break a recipe. For most cake and cookie recipes, ingredients such as butter, eggs and milk need to be at room temperature. Using room temperature ingredients ensures the batter comes together smoothly and the components are incorporated evenly. Using cold ingredients in your batter often results in clumpy mixtures and dense results. I also take my ingredients out of the fridge 30-60 minutes before starting to cook.
If I forget, or want to do some impromptu baking, I put my eggs in a cup of warm water to speed up the process and cut my butter into small chunks to expedite the warming process.
HOWEVER sometimes using cold ingredients produces far better results. For example, cream whips far more easily when straight out of the fridge. In fact I even pop my mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the fridge for 10-20 minutes before starting. Conversely, eggs whites whip better when at room temperature.
And when making pastry, once again you want to keep your ingredients cold. Not only does this slow the development of gluten when making your dough (overdeveloped gluten = a tough result), the little bits of cold butter in your dough create pockets of air and a beautifully light and flaky pastry when cooked.
Any good recipe should specify if an ingredient needs to be room temperature or chilled, but these examples are a good rule of thumb to keep in mind next time you bake. It really makes a difference.
♥ Don’t overmix… or undermix
Gluten plays an important role in baking, and understanding how it reacts is vital to ensuring the best possible result. When making cakes or pastries, you want as little gluten as possible. Gluten doesn’t form until flour becomes wet, which is why adding the dry ingredients last and carefully stirring everything together is your best chance of your cake being light and airy.
A lot of my recipes state to mix ingredients “until just combined”. This is because mixing your batter too much over develops the gluten and results in dense baked goods. On the flip side, if you don’t mix the batter enough, your cake may bake unevenly or have clumps of flour or eggs throughout. Yuck.
The only time when developing the gluten works in your favour is when you’re baking bread or making pizza dough. You want as much gluten as possible to give the end result good structure and texture, which is why bread making involves so much mixing, stirring, kneading… you name it!
♥ Accurately measure, always
As baking is a science it’s important to measure everything carefully. Simply “eyeballing” portions can result in a disaster further down the track. Also pay attention to your ingredient conversions, for example if you’re an Australian adapting an American recipe from ounces to grams. I have always used the conversion calculators on this ugly looking site and it’s been a lifesaver!
And last but certainly not least, consider investing in a set of digital scales. A lot of pastry chefs list their ingredients in grams (it’s more accurate than cups) and having a set of digital scales where you can place you empty bowl on your scale and “zero out” you weight is such a huge help.
♥ Be careful when substituting ingredients
Sometimes I get emails along the lines of “Hey! I made your peanut butter cookies and I substituted the butter for yoghurt and replaced the eggs with chia seeds and they tasted terrible”. Well, derr.
I’ve seen a lot of recipes suggest you can replace the fat in baking with apple sauce or greek yoghurt, the eggs with a mixture of a blend of ground flax seeds and water and so forth. The first thing to note is that you really have to know the science behind each ingredient and what action it performs before you replace it. For example, butter acts as moisture and flavour, and apple sauce has similar properties. But apple sauce can’t create flakiness and richness like butter. So always weigh up the pros and cons before substituting ingredients.
Secondly, substitutions are not always like for like. For example you would replace 1 cup butter with 3/4 cup vegetable oil. I would always suggest you select a tested recipe, or be prepared with some varied results, when making your own substitutions. I have found this page to be immensely helpful with substitutions.
And remember, if you’re replacing the butter and chocolate in a recipe with the likes of greek yoghurt and carob, you have to prepare yourself for the fact it will probably never taste as good as the real deal.
♥ Know your oven.. and don’t annoy it
When a recipe says “bake at 180°C for 40 minutes”, that doesn’t mean your cake will be perfectly cooked at 40 minutes. It could be overdone, still raw in the middle or cooked at the front and burnt in the left back corner. Why? Because all ovens are different. If you’ve just moved into a new house, pay careful attention to and learn the quirks of your oven. I have a hot spot in the top back left of my oven, meaning whenever I bake cakes/cookies/cupcakes I always rotate the trays 180 degrees and swap the positions halfway through the cooking time. I generally set my timer for 5-10 minutes less than the suggesting cooking time and keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t overcook.
And how do you avoid annoying your oven? Don’t repeatedly open and close the oven door. This drops the temperature of the oven causing your baked goods to cook unevenly. And always remember to preheat your oven so it’s at the correct temperature when you place your pan in!
I hope these tips have been useful and you put them to good use next time you’re baking up a storm!
Do you have any more baking tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them!
One of my favourite desserts to make whenever I need to whip something up last minute is Eton Mess. I can dash to the store, buy some berries, cream and meringues and have dessert on the table within 10 minutes.
I decided I wanted to transform this classic English dessert into a cupcake for Valentine’s Day. Not only is it the perfect colour scheme, you can easily transform fresh strawberries into heart-shaped cupcake toppers.
I took my basic vanilla cupcake recipe and filled each cupcake with homemade strawberry filling. Once baked, the cupcakes are adorned with freshly whipped cream, crumbled meringues and more of the strawberry sauce. They are finished off with a little meringue and heart-shaped strawberry. Delicious and romantic.
This recipe can be as simple or as complex as you wish. If you’re short on time, by all means swap the homemade strawberry filling and mini meringues for store-bought.
Las Vegas is a magnificent, glitzy, tacky and terrible place, all at the same time. I’m not going to lie to you, this isn’t the heart of culinary delights in America (although I am sure they would like to think they are). Vegas is chockfull of celebrity chef-endorsed restaurants that are overpriced and generally of average quality. Having said that, there is a lot of good food to be found in Las Vegas if you do your research. Which is where I come in!
This is a round up of my favourite places to eat in Vegas, ranging from decadent buffets and fancy dinners to cheap and cheerful sandwiches and fried chicken. I deliberately chose places that were on Las Vegas Boulevard (ie The Strip) as that is where the vast majority of travellers stay.
And don’t forget to check out the rest of my America posts here!
♥ Bacchanal Buffet, Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. South Las Vegas
I had heard legendary things about the buffets in Las Vegas hotels, and it just so happened that the most highly rated buffet was at our hotel, Caesars Palace! Bottomless mimosas and champagne, mini hot dogs, a cheese buffet, sushi, the most amazing truffled potato gratin and the list goes on. And on. And then wait until you see the dessert bar! There is even a crepe and sundae station. Prepare to queue for this buffet, but it’s worth it.
♥ Poolside, Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. South Las Vegas
The perfect hangover cure for Vegas is waking up mid-afternoon, tottering down to the hotel pool and flopping on a beach chair. Proceed to snack on fried chicken and the odd bit of fruit and commence people watching.
♥ Mon Ami Gabi, 3655 Las Vegas Blvd. South Las Vegas
This French bistro serves up all the classics including steak frites and onion soup. We dined on the patio, right near the famous Bellagio fountains. Vegas restaurants are notoriously overpriced, but the price point here is good for what you get. My favourite meal was the warm Brie with croutons and garlic! Ooh la la!
♥ Spago, 3500 Las Vegas Blvd. South Las Vegas
Spago isn’t cheap, but if you want to spoil yourself, then this restaurant by Wolfgang Puck is my pick of the lot. Every course was impeccable, the service attentive and the wine list surprisingly affordable. This lamb dish was stunning!
♥ Bouchon, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South Las Vegas
Give brunch a go at the Bouchon buffet and you won’t be disappointed. All the standard breakfast trimmings (eggs, bacon, sausages, granola etc) but make sure you save room for the jam-filled donuts and pastries dipped in either Nutella or caramel!
♥ Hash House a Go Go, 3535 Las Vegas Blvd. South Las Vegas
If you’re sick of fancy, overpriced “gourmet” food at the plethora of hotels Vegas has to offer, give Hash House a Go Go a try. Featuring American classics such as chicken and waffles, smoked chicken chowder and biscuits and gravy, you’ll get a huge serving for a small amount of money. Plus, Adam Richman from Man V Food ate here.
♥ Earl of Sandwich, 3667 Las Vegas Blvd. South Las Vegas
Another cheap and cheerful option, this Earl of Sandwich store is located at the Planet Hollywood hotel and does a huge range of hot and cold sandwiches, wraps, salads and desserts. Service is quick and the prices are low, plus they’re open 24 hours a day meaning it’s a great midnight snack!
I think one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give your loved one (apart from a puppy) is a homemade present. Specifically, dessert.
I’ve rounded up my 5 favourite love-themed desserts to prepare you for the rapidly approaching Valentines Day. Even if you think it’s just a marketer’s shallow attempt to sell more greeting cards, who doesn’t love an excuse to eat chocolate and strawberries?
These intensely dark chocolate cupcakes are paired with the classically romantic flavour combination of strawberries, which provides a nice sweet/tart balance to the cupcakes. You’ll definitely be in the good books if you make your partner these.
If you don’t get roses, you can at least incorporate the flavour into your cupcakes. I love this Middle Eastern flavour combination of rosewater and pistachio, and the icing on the cake (so to speak) is the little rosewater-flavoured heart hidden inside each cupcake. Cute!
When I think of Valentines Day, I think of Lindt balls. It’s basically the “sorry I forgot to buy you something thoughtful” gift, but fortunately they taste great. So I took a delicious red velvet cupcake, added white chocolate icing and then stuffed a Lindt ball inside each cupcake. Heaven!
Dipping strawberries into chocolate sauce has long been promoted as the height of romance, but those store-bought chocolate dips are pretty terrible. This homemade version uses real dark chocolate and condensed milk as the base and is flavoured with peanut butter for extra romance.
Last, but certainly not least, is perhaps a cake that you wouldn’t initially associate with romancing your bae. But if you both appreciate a bit of tongue-in-cheek behaviour or are Valentines Day cynics, then this bleeding heart cake is for you. Layers of red velvet cake and cream cheese icing are adorned with a morbid amount of raspberry blood and a knife pierced through the middle. That’s true love!
How will you be celebrating Valentines Day this year?
Want to give any of these Nutella recipes a go? Head along to this link and prepare yourself for Nutella Nirvana.
And so what have I decided to create this year? Nutella donuts of course. This donut recipe is almost embarrassingly easy to make, it only has 3 ingredients!
There is something magical about using Nutella when you bake, as it takes on the role of fat, moisture and flavour so you don’t have to add the standard ingredients of butter, milk or cocoa powder. You literally mix the Nutella with some eggs and a tiny bit of flour and voila. Nutella donuts within minutes!
Super Easy 3 Ingredient Nutella Donuts for World Nutella Day
– I have lived in Surry Hills, Redfern and Balmain and work in Chippendale, so most of my selections revolve around these areas. Fortunately, this is where the best food is (in my humble opinion).
– I will update this list as I visit more places, so feel free to bookmark it and come back later.
♥ Kürtősh – 604 Crown Street,Surry Hills (full of Hungarian “chimney cakes” – get the Nutella one, plus a huge selection of cookies, slices and cakes)
♥ 4Fourteen – 414 Bourke Street, Surry Hills (while all their desserts are great, I lose my mind over the white chocolate sandwich)
♥ La Paula – 214 Anzac Parade,Kensington (this bakery is chock-full of amazing South American treats, the alfajores are great but you simply MUST try the tres leches cake)
♥ Bourke St Bakery – 633 Bourke Street, Surry Hills (the ginger brulee tart is my favourite, with the lemon curd tart and chocolate croissant tying for second place)
♥ Gelato Messina – Locations in Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Bondi and more (there’s a reason why there is a queue snaking out the door of these gelaterias, with flavours like salted caramel and white chocolate and drool-worthy weekly specials, you’ll have to go again and again)
♥ Love Dem Apples – 454 Cleveland Street,Surry Hills (an entire store dedicated to toffee apples?! You heard me. Tooth-aching flavours include Pretzel Caramel, Cherry Ripe, Popcorn and Rocky Road)
♥ Aqua S – 501 George Street, Sydney (you’ve probably seen this image a million times on Instagram, but the good news is it tastes as good as it looks. I think fancy soft serves are the new dessert trend of 2015 – goodbye Froyo!)
♥ N2 Extreme Gelato – 43/1 Dixon St, Sydney (gelato, made with liquid nitrogen! By people in lab coats with test tubes! And it’s not just a gimmick, the gelato is delicious)
♥ Black Star – 277 Australia St,Newtown (Black Star is a tiny cafe producing a large amount of delicious sugary things. Try the chocolate eclair and their famous watermelon cake!)
♥ Brewtown –6-8 O’Connell St,Newtown (Grab a cup of coffee and treat yourself to a Cinnamon Brewnut or Nutella Cruffin. Or both, no judgement)
♥ The Pie Tin – 1 Brown St, Newtown (Ahhh these pies are what dreams are made of, huge slices of freshly made Snickers pie, Oreo cookie pie and brown butter pecan pie)
♥ Doughbox Diner – 137 Enmore Road,Enmore (A huge selection of retro treats including crepes, waffles, cinnamon doughnut flavoured milkshake (!!) and giant sundaes)
♥ Adriano Zumbo – 296 Darling Street, Balmain plus other locations (he’s famous for his macarons, but try his amazing white choc and raspberry muffins, a zonut or.. well basically anything in the store. All heavenly)
♥ Hartsyard – 33 Enmore Road, Newtown (no matter how full I am after a meal at Hartsyard, I always have to order the peanut butter and banana sundae. Also give the weekly soft serve special and pie a go. Andy Bowdy is a genius!)
These ANZAC biscuits were traditionally baked by anxious wives and mothers during World War I and sent to the Australian soldiers in the trenches, and are now a staple in any Aussie baker’s repertoire.
I tried to narrow this list down but we are so spoilt for choice this list has grown to 38 places and counting.
As previously noted:
– I have lived in Surry Hills, Redfern and Balmain and work in Chippendale, so most of my selections revolve around these areas. Fortunately, this is where the best food is (in my humble opinion).
– I will update this list as I visit more places, so feel free to bookmark it and come back later.
♥ Ester – 46-52 Meagher Street (Ester is really helping the revitalisation of Chippendale, and their Modern Australian menu with a Mediterranean influence is sensational. You must try the bone marrow!)
♥ Autolyse – 28 Broadway (this eat-in bakery serves up a huge array of soups, salads and sandwiches. The slow cooked lamb sandwich is divine)
♥ Phamish – 248 Palmer St (seriously delicious Vietnamese food, there’s always a queue but it’s worth the wait!)
♥ Lucio Pizzeria – 248 Palmer St (in the same courtyard as Phamish, this pizza place always hovers at the top of my “Best Pizza in Sydney” list)
♥ Hinky Dinks – 185 Darlinghurst Road (a great 1950s vibe, lovely staff who make amazing cocktails and the perfect American diner snack food to complement it)
♥ Buffalo Dining Club – 116 Surrey Street (this is the place where you think you’ve died and gone to heaven. Ask the waiter for their recommendations and they will bring you plate after plate of cured meats, cheese and pastas. And it’s never very expensive!)
♥ Mr Crackles – 155 Oxford St (if you’re stumbling home after a big night I highly recommend you swing by Mr Crackles. Giant pork rolls, cups of crackle, chilli fries etc. Always amazing)
♥ Menya Mappen 537-551 George St (it’s kind of like a “build your own noodle dish” bar, where you choose your base stock and noodles, and then pile on as many tempura/vegetable items as you wish)
♥ Frankies Pizza – 50 Hunter St (a dive bar serving up margarita slushies and delicious pizza until the wee hours of the morning. It’s super loud, but that’s the appeal, right?)
♥ Hot Star Fried Chicken – 96 Liverpool St (a small Taiwanese takeaway shop serving up huge portions of deep fried chicken the size of your head. They also have great sides – also deep fried. Don’t go when you’re on a diet)
♥ Chinese Noodle House/Restaurant – 8 Quay St (both these restaurants are located in the same area, have grapes hanging from the ceiling and hustlers out the front trying to get you to come in. Both have delicious and cheap dumplings! I still haven’t made up my mind who wins the Chinese Noodle House vs Restaurant dumpling war)
♥ Rockpool Bar and Grill – 66 Hunter St (the best steak, duck fat cooked chips and gorgeous desserts, housed in a beautiful Art Deco building. For when you want to get a little fancy)
♥ Alpha – 238 Castlereagh Street (top notch Greek food, especially the spanakopita, platter of haloumi and slow cooked lamb)
♥ Happy Chef – 401 Sussex Street (my FAVOURITE laksa in Sydney. I get serious cravings for this on a regular basis, especially when sick)
♥ Ramen Ikkyu – 401 Sussex Street (in the same food court as Happy Chef, this is one of the best ramens I’ve had in Sydney)
♥ Bowery Lane – 1 O’Connell St (New York-inspired dining with excellent burgers, slow cooked meats, oysters and a bangin’ cocktail list)
♥ Hartsyard – 33 Enmore Rd, Newtown (the best buttermilk fried chicken with sausage gravy I’ve ever had, along with delicious American desserts and weekly changing soft serves from pastry-master Andy Bowdy)
♥ The Stinking Bishops – 63-71 Enmore Rd, Newtown (Ugh this place. The cheese, oh the cheese. Try it in grilled cheese sandwich form or on a platter with some cured meats)
♥ Mary’s – 6 Mary St, Newtown (home to some legendary burgers and fried chicken, and they recently opened a takeaway branch in the city for more temptation!)
♥ Mantecato – 85 Reynolds St, Balmain (A risotto restaurant. That’s right, an entire restaurant dedicated to one of my favourite dishes. The staff are super lovely, the risottos are spot on and the Italian desserts are magnificent. I can’t wait to return!)
♥ Jasmin1 – 116 Marion St, Leichhardt (delicious and cheap Lebanese food with platters of haloumi, felafel, garlic sauce and meat on skewers!)
♥ Four in Hand – 105 Sutherland St (fancy pub food, great service, I really need to return for the Sunday roast!)
♥ The Nighthawk Diner @ The Unicorn Hotel – 106 Oxford St (one of my favourite burgers in Sydney and they do great shakes as well!)
♥ Spice I Am – 90 Wentworth Ave (my favourite Thai food in Sydney, closely followed by Chat Thai. Beware, this places is SPICEY and will make you cry. In the best way)
♥ Toko – 490 Crown St (fancy Japanese food, done impeccably well. Yes it’s expensive, but well worth the price)
♥ Porteno – 358 Cleveland St, temporarily closed due to the fire (South American food means huge hunks of meat slow cooked over coals, empanadas and the best brussels sprouts you’ll ever eat!)
♥ Longrain – 85 Commonwealth St (a modern take on upmarket Thai food, one of my favourite date night places)
♥ Yulli’s – 417 Crown St (my favourite vegetarian place in Sydney, I highly suggest you go with a group and get the banquet so you can try as much as possible!)
♥ Vacanza – 414 Bourke St (this place gets crowded early so be prepared to wait, but it’s worth it for the huge pizzas and generous antipasti boards)
♥ 121BC – 50 Holt St (a cosy Italian restaurant with a fantastic menu and great wine list. I just want to spend a rainy night in here eating pasta forever)
♥ Maya Vegetarian – 468 Cleveland St (I love popping in here for a quick and cheap Thali, a selection of various curries, bread and condiments)
♥ Nomad – 16 Foster St (housed in a huge converted warehouse, the decor is gorgeous and the food and wine list even better)
♥ Lucky Pickle – 509-511 Crown St, enter via Holburn St (this tiny hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop has the BEST lunch options. Get the chicken katsu or pork belly rolls and be very happy)
♥ Madame Nhu – 82 Campbell St (fresh and flavourful Vietnamese food, efficient service and delicious Asian-inspired cocktails)
♥ Ko and Co – 6 Hunt St (I never knew Korean/Mexican fusion could work so well. Amazing fried chicken and Korean tacos and a great cocktail and soju list)
I realise my list is woefully neglectful of the delicacies out West, but I rarely go out there. Some highlights include:
♥ El Jannah – Locations in Granville, Blacktown and Punchbowl (huge servings of charcoal chicken, lebanese bread, the best garlic sauce of your life, pickles, hot chips… oh god I love EJ!)
♥ Circa – 21 Wentworth St, Parramatta (my favourite brunch out west, Circa serves up great coffee and delicious servings of breakfasty goodness. Be prepared to wait as everyone else has discovered this gem!)
♥ Vietnamese Food – John St, Cabramatta (I couldn’t make up my mind for the best Vietnamese food in Cabramatta, so just walk down John St and you won’t be disappointed!)
Places still to try:
LP Quality Meats, Chippendale
Burger Project, City (I am like the only food blogger who hasn’t been)
Pei Modern, City
Cafe Paci, Darlinghurst
Red Lantern on Riley, Darlinghurst
ACME, Kings Cross
Papi Chulo, Manly
Silva’s Portugese Chicken, Petersham
The Oxford Tavern, Petersham
Billy Kwong, Potts Point
Chester White Cured Diner, Potts Point
Cho Cho San, Potts Point
The Apollo, Potts Point
The Butler, Potts Point
Da Mario, Rosebery
Dragoncello, Surry Hills
Goro’s, Surry Hills
Great Aunty Three, Surry Hills
Mama’s Buoi, Surry Hills
Pub Life Kitchen, Surry Hills
Tokio Bird, Surry Hills
What do you think of my (lengthy) list? Where’s your favourite place to eat lunch or dinner in Sydney?
This weekend is the Australia Day long weekend, which means a day off work, listening to the Triple J Hottest 100 while day-drinking and the bastardisation of Australian desserts. Which brings me to the Lamington Cake with Milo Icing.
Lamingtons are a well-know and loved Aussie treat that are traditionally made with old sponge cake that was cut up and dipped in a runny mixture of icing sugar, cocoa and milk and then rolled in desiccated coconut. Milo is an iconic chocolate and malt powder developed by Thomas Mayne in Sydney back in 1934 and sits in the pantry of most Australian households (I presume).
I wanted to create a sort of deconstructed lamington (how on trend!) in the form of a naked cake (ie that’s a cake without the sides iced, another trendy thing in baking at the moment). I baked 2 sponge cakes and horizontally sliced them into layers, then topped the slices of sponge cake with generous dollops of strawberry jam and cream. The final touch was an icing made out of Milo and sprinkled with coconut.
To get ultra patriotic, I also designed, printed and made my own Australia flag cake bunting – and you can make your own too! Scroll down to the bottom for the DIY printable and instructions to make your own.
2 tbsp boiling water or milk heated in the microwave
Coconut to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease 2 x deep, 20cm round cake tins.
Beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until pale.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add in the flour and baking powder and beat until just combined.
Divide the mixture between prepared tins and bake for 15-20 mins until lightly golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack before assembling.
Put all the dry ingredients into a small bowl and stir together.
Add in the boiling water or hot milk a little bit at a time, stirring well, until the mixture becomes a spreadable consistency.
Set aside to cool while you start the assembly.
Whip the thickened cream until light and fluffy using electric beaters.
Using a serrated knife, carefully slice each cake horizontally so you have 4 cakes.
Place the first layer of cake on your cake stand and spread 2 tablespoons of jam evenly across the top, followed by 2 tablespoons of whipped cream. I find it easiest to use a butter knife to spread the jam, followed by an offset spatula for the cream.
Put the next layer of cake on, and continue spreading the jam and cream between each layers.
When the top layer has been placed, spread the cooled Milo icing over the top of the cake (it may drip over the sides, don't worry!) and finish with a sprinkle of coconut.