Category Archives: Desserts

Double-chocolate lamingtons

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These awesome lamingtons were made last Australia Day. It was really great to be able to celebrate Australia Day in Australia once again. Last year I was melting in the sun at Big Day Out and unfortunately didn’t really get up to very much ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi’ chanting. So this year I made sure to have a few Aussie beers, listen to Triple J’s Hottest 100 and of course buy a pack of the mandatory Australian flag temporary tattoos to plaster on my arms. Unfortunately I did have to work, which got in the way of my drinking celebrations, but only for a few hours.

When there’s celebrations, there must always be cake. So I decided to make lamingtons, something I believe to be classically Australian. Many people are unsure of Australia’s cuisine. Maybe unsure is the wrong word, but many people seem to lament the lack of purely Australian dishes. I always associated meat pies with Australia but turns out Britain seems to have claim to them. Pavlova is supposedly Australian but if there’s a Kiwi in the room when you mention it there might be a bit of a scuffle. I don’t think it matters if you have a dish that’s pure ‘Strayan. The main thing I love about Australian cuisine is just how diverse it is. We have dishes with Malaysian influences, Irish, British, Greek, Italian, you name it. Salt and pepper squid is found all over Australia, in Thai restaurants, Italian cafes, Belgian restaurants. They all do it differently and that’s what makes it great. Some might even say that these double-chocolate lamingtons aren’t pure Australian because of the extra cocoa added to make the sponge chocolatey. Some have even called it ‘sacrilegious.’ I think that’s going a little far seeing as the essence is still the same and it’s just giving it another influence, another twist. Australian cuisine is unique in the influences that have come from all over the world. In last week’s Good Food David Chang of Momofuku pretty much summed it up, “If any country can get away from asking, “What’s our tradition?” and say, “Let’s just eat good food,” it’s definitely Australia.”

Double-chocolate lamingtons
Recipe from Dan Lepard

Ingredients

300g castor sugar
50g cocoa
75ml milk
50g unsalted butter
50g dark chocolate
50ml sunflower oil
4 medium eggs
100ml low-fat natural yoghurt
3 tsp vanilla extract
175g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder

For the coating (makes 750ml)

15g cocoa
50ml cold milk
175ml boiling water
200g dark chocolate, finely chopped
450g icing sugar
1-2 250g bags coconut (that is, much more than you would think)

Method

1. Line the base of a deep, 20cm square cake tin with non-stick paper and heat the oven to 170C (150C fan-forced). Put the sugar and cocoa in a bowl and beat in the milk. Melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan, and add to the sugar mix along with the oil. Beat in the eggs until smooth, stir in the yoghurt and vanilla, and mix in the flour and baking powder. Pour into the tin, cover with a slightly domed sheet of foil and bake for an hour. Lift off the foil for the last 15 minutes. Remove, cool in the tin and, while warm, cover with cling film to keep them moist.

2. For the coating, mix the cocoa and milk until smooth, whisk in the boiling water, then stir in the chocolate until melted. Whisk in the icing sugar until dissolved and pour into a deep, wide jug. Cut the cake into nine, dunk each piece in the coating and fish out with two forks. Roll in coconut and leave to set.

Note: Lepard advises putting foil over the cake because it helps the cake rise more evenly. You’ll have about 250 millilitres of coating left over – just the stuff, he says, for lamington milkshakes with ice-cream and coconut.

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Anzac biscuits

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Last Anzac Day I decided to finally try out the traditional dish of the day. And luckily I discovered it is the ultimate cheap-o student dessert.

Wives of the soldiers used to send the biscuits over since they don’t spoil easily and they transport well.

So if you make enough biscuits you can keep them for ages. Breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, dessert…you can eat them whenever. There aren’t any eggs in them either so you can just keep them in some tupperware and they’ll keep for a while.

I used a Donna Hay recipe which turned out really sweet and chewy. The recipe makes almost sixty small biscuits, enough for Anzac day dessert for you and our friends, plus more to take along for the next few days.

Anzac Biscuits:
Makes 28

Ingredients:
1 cup (90g) rolled oats
1 cup (150g) plain flour
1/3 cups (150g) caster sugar
3/4 cup (60g) desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons golden syrup
125g butter
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of (baking) soda
2 tablespoons hot water

Preheat oven to 160°C (320ºF). Mix the oats, flour, sugar and coconut in a bowl. Place the golden syrup and butter in a saucepan over low heat and melt. Mix the bicarbonate of soda with the water and add to the butter mixture. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well. Place tablespoons of the mixture, leaving space between each one for spreading, onto baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper and flatten to about 7cm in diameter. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until a deep brown. Cool on trays for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Enjoy!

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Brownie pudding

This dessert is just the thing for a fun family dinner or a romantic date night. It’s easy to make in a big brownie pan to share or you can go for a more fancy route and use a couple ramekins. Either way it’s an incredibly easy dish. Plus it’s got crazy trans-formative qualities- from the outside it looks like a perfectly normal dish of brownies- but as soon as you dig in, BAM! You realize the inside is all melty and gooey and warm and delicious. It’s a great  beginner recipe and the ingredients are quite cheap- except for the vanilla bean. Those things are pricey but here it really makes a difference so I’d suggest splurging. Plus, I would try and use good quality cocoa powder if you can.

For date night.

For date night.

Brownie pudding
Serves 6

225g unsalted butter, plus little extra for buttering the dish
4 extra large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup good cocoa powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

Vanilla ice cream to serve with

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Lightly butter a 2 quart (9 x 12) by 2 inch oval baking dish. Melt the butter and set aside to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.

When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, lower the speed to low and add the vanilla seeds, and cocoa powder and flour mixture. Mix only until combined. With the mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.

Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan. Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake for exactly 1 hour. A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out three quarters clean. The center will appear very under-baked, this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.

Allow to cool a little and serve with vanilla ice cream.

And for a low key family dinner dessert.

And for a low key family night dessert.

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German Chocolate Cake

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While I was home for the holidays I was lucky enough to see a lot of my family members. And while we were all together we decided to have an impromptu surprise birthday dinner for my grandfather. We’re rarely all in the same place for his birthday so when I was asked to make the cake I wanted something decadent, something extravagant. Something that no one was going to forget for a while. And thus, I started searching for the perfect German Chocolate Cake recipe. German Chocolate Cake is one the richest desserts I’ve ever had. Whoever decided they wanted a moist, decadent chocolate cake, smothered in chocolate buttercream and topped with sweet, sticky coconut and pecans, was a genius.

Some people aren’t big fans of German Chocolate Cake, I think it may be due to the sugar overload, but somehow this recipe was loved by all, even the previous skeptics. My mouth is watering just looking at the photos and I am beyond disappointed I don’t have a slice hanging out in my fridge for me to nibble on. But, considering how much sugar is in it I think this is a once-a-year type cake.

This recipe takes some genius shortcuts, making the process a bit easier. Instead of having to splurge on those ridiculously expensive blocks of good quality chocolate this recipe calls for a box of Devil Food cake mix. I’m sure there are people out there with an aversion to cake mix but it’s really not the end of the world. And I swear no one will be able to tell there is boxed cake mix in there. In fact if I hadn’t been careless and left the empty box on the top in the trash bin, instead of cleverly concealing it, none of my family would have believed it wasn’t completely from scratch.

So next time you have a big occasion coming up, or just feel like treating your friends to some insane chocolate-y goodness, I recommend trying this recipe out.

German Chocolate Cake
Yields 1 double layer cake or 24 cupcakes
Recipe from Your Cup of Cake

For the chocolate cake:
1 box Devil’s food cake
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup sour cream

For the German chocolate frosting:
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut

For the chocolate buttercream:
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsn. milk or cream, if needed

Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease and line two cake pans, set aside. In a large bowl, combine the oil, eggs and vanilla. Sift about 1/3 of the cake mix and mix until combined. Add the buttermilk and stir until combined. Add another 1/3 of the cake mix, stir to combine. Add the sour cream, then the remaining cake mix and stir until combined. Fill the cake pans and bake for 18 – 22 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

To make the frosting, over medium heat in a saucepan, constantly stir the evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks and butter until thickened (basically until it boils, about 15 minutes). Stir in the vanilla, pecans and coconut. Let cool. To make the chocolate buttercream, beat the cream cheese and butter for 4 minutes, add the cocoa, powdered sugar and vanilla. Let beat for 3 minutes. If it is too thick, add some milk. If it is too thin, add some more powdered sugar. Place one layer of cake on a plate and cover the top with 1/2 the frosting. Place the other layer on top and frost the sides of the cake with the chocolate buttercream. Cover the top of the cake with the rest of the frosting and pipe the remaining chocolate buttercream along the edges.

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