Happy Australia Day!
There are not many foods that Australia can lay claim to, and fewer that I am excited about making. Don’t get me wrong, Australian food is fantastic – we’re great at making recipes in our own special way, but to be fair, the origin of most foods had been claimed long before we came along.
To name a few iconic Australian foods I’ve tried…
Damper – bread made without yeast, and traditionally cooked in the ashes of a campfire. Personally, I’d prefer a sourdough loaf… but then I’ve never had damper cooked in a campfire…
Pavlova – meringue casing filled with whipped cream and topped with fresh fruit. I wasn’t a huge fan when I was younger, but it’s grown on me now… although there is debate as to whether it originated in Australia or New Zealand.
ANZAC Biscuits – tasty, although unattractive, oat biscuit. Said to have been sent to soldiers during WW1 as the ingredients did not spoil easily – hence the name.
Lamingtons – squares of sponge cake coated in chocolate sauce and rolled in desiccated coconut, sometimes filled with cream and strawberry jam. The history of how this sweet treat came about is another subject in debate. My favourite account – Lord Lamington’s cook accidentally dropped a block of sponge cake into a dish of melted chocolate.
And this is where my Australia Day Cupcake Lamingtons come in…
I also enjoyed mine with a blue heaven spider… cake, ice-cream, lemonade… what more could you want for breakfast on Australia Day!
Australia Day Cupcake Lamingtons
Yield: 13 cupcake lamingtons
130g unsalted butter (room tempetature)
1 tsp vanilla extract
30ml rice bran oil
250g plain flour
15g baking powder
Preheat oven to 180°C/350° F/Gas Mark 4.
Grease the sides of your cupcake/muffin tin, and line the base with small circles of parchment paper.
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
Add in the oil and beat until smooth and creamy.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl and stir to combine.
Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture a third at a time, alternating with the milk, starting and finishing with the flour.
Spoon the mixture into your cupcake tin, and bake for 15 minutes.
150g fresh strawberries (hulled and quartered)
1/2 lemon (juice only)
Place strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan and gently bring to boil.
When the mixture starts to thicken, take off the heat and set aside to cool.
Tip: place a small saucer in the fridge, or freezer, before starting your jam. To test your jam has reached setting point, place a small amount on the chilled plate – if it’s still liquid it’s not ready.
If your jam sets too hard on the plate, just add a little boiling water.
100g dark chocolate
30g cocoa powder
120ml boiling water
Melt the chocolate with the milk in the microwave, and dissolve the cocoa in the boiling water.
Combine the two mixtures and add the sugar, stirring until all granules have dissolved. If the mixture is still grainy, place it in the microwave for a further 20 seconds.
Set aside to cool.
Tip: use a deep bowl so that you are able to submerge your cupcakes into the mixture.
With these quantities you should have sauce left over, depending on how much is absorbed by the cakes.
Whipped Cream & Cream Cheese Topping
220ml double cream
200g cream cheese
1/4 cup icing sugar, or to taste
Tip: don’t make your topping too sweet, the rest of the cake is sweet enough.
Whip the cream with the icing sugar until stiff peaks are formed.
Beat the cream cheese in a separate bowl until smooth and creamy, then fold into the cream mixture.
Assembling your Cupcake Lamingtons
100g – 150g dessicated coconut
whipped cream topping
Start by levelling the tops of your cupcakes using a serrated knife.
Cut a small section out of the centre of your cake. To do this, I used a small, sharp, pointed knife. Place the point of the knife about one centimetre in from the edge of your cake, and insert it on a diagonal towards the centre. Cut around in a circle until the piece comes loose.
Cut the pointed tip off the loose piece of cake so that you are left with a small, round half centimetre thick piece of cake – this will be your lid.
Fill the hole in your cupcake with strawberry jam, leaving enough room to place the lid on top.
Place your filled cupcake into the bowl of chocolate sauce and coat completely, then gently lift it out and place into your bowl of coconut. Cover the base and sides of your cupcake in coconut, leaving the tops uncovered.
For the topping I used a piping bag with a round tip, and a petal tip #104. If you don’t have a piping bag, just dollop the creamy mixture on top – it will still taste the same!