Around the World in 12 Cakes - Month 1 - Australia

Every month this year I have decided to challenge myself to make a cake or dessert from a particular country. 

With Australia Day just around the corner, what better way to kick off this little challenge than to pay homage to my home country, Australia, by putting a little twist on some of our most loved biscuits and sweets - Tim Tams, lamingtons and my personal favourite Iced VoVos.

I put my thinking cap on a decided on a Tim Tam cake (filled with Tim Tam's), lamington macarons and Iced VoVo tart!
No matter where you call home, I hope you have a fantastic Australia Day. Where do you think I will travel to next month?

Tim Tam Cake

Tim Tam Cake

This cake is a household favourite - the boy made it for my birthday a few years ago and we made it for our friends after they got engaged. It is delicious, sweet and full of chocolatey goodness. Recipe taken from the lovely Raspberri Cupcakes.

Cake ingredients:
4 large eggs
110g (½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
65g cornflour (cornstarch)
35g (¼ cup) Good quality cocoa powder
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the cake filling:
100g butter, removed from the fridge 30 minutes before starting
150g chocolate, melted (I used milk chocolate)
3 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp milk

For the chocolate ganache topping:
300ml pouring cream
400g milk chocolate

To prepare the cake:
1. Line two 17x27cm rectangular slice/brownie tins.
2. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
3. Whisk eggs and sugar in an electric mixer until thick and pale (5-6 minutes, go nuts and don't underwhip).
4. Sift in cornflour, cocoa, flour, cream of tartar and bicarb soda into egg and sugar mixture and fold in with spatula.
5. Fold in butter, spoon into prepared tin.
6. Bake in centre of oven until the centre of the cake springs back when lightly pressed (10-12 minutes). Turn onto baking paper covered wire rack and cool completely.

To prepare chocolate icing filling: 
1. Beat butter light and fluffy and then gradually add sifted icing sugar and beat until smooth and pale.
2. Add melted chocolate and milk and beat until smooth. (You can adjust the amount of milk you add to get the icing to the texture you want) Spread icing over the top of one of the cakes.
3. Sandwich other cake on top of the icing and biscuits.

To prepare the chocolate ganache topping:
1. Break up chocolate into small pieces and place in a large mixing bowl.
2. Slowly heat cream in a small saucepan. Just as it starts to come to the boil, remove from the heat and cool for a couple minutes. Pour hot cream over chocolate and set aside 10 minutes to allow chocolate to melt.
3. Mix cream and chocolate together until smooth using a whisk, then cool (I placed mine in the fridge for about 15 mins) until it reaches room temperature and thickens.
4. Pour over the top of the cake, using a spatula to ensure the ganache covers all the top and sides of the cake (the excess will drip off everywhere so make sure you lay down some baking paper to catch the drips).
5. Chill in the fridge until the ganache sets.
6  Peel off the bottom baking paper and serve cake at room temperature.

*This recipe made quite a thin cake - so if you would like a higher cake you can double the quantities.

Lamington Macarons

Lamington Macarons

I think I have a new found love of lamingtons. For some reason I was never a fan of this little cake. I know, I know, what's not to love! Cake - good, chocolate - good, jam and cream - good and coconut - good -all rolled into one what was I thinking?! I am putting it down do a slightly stale batch keeping us apart all these years but I think I may have to give them another go.
This batch didn't quiet get their little feet and had a bit more of a cakey texture but still tasted delicious - I will try to tweek the recipe a little and see how they turn out. Recipe from Whiskitforabiscuit

Macaron Shell Ingredients

135g almond meal
135g icing sugar
30g cocoa powder
110g egg whites (2 x 55g)
150g caster sugar
45g water
Desicated coconut for topping

Macaron Shell Method

1. Grease and line 4 oven trays with baking paper, and preheat the oven to 160c.
2. Place one lot of 55g egg whites in a large, dry and clean bowl and set aside.
3. Sift together the almond meal, icing sugar and cocoa powder four times, and set aside, along with the second lot of 55g egg whites.
4. Combine the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan over a low heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved and syrup is hot.
5. Begin beating 55g egg whites in the large bowl, and slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl. This will create an Italian meringue. Beat until soft peaks form – you do not want to overbeat your egg whites. The mixture should be thick and very glossy.
6. Pour the remaining 55g egg whites into the dry ingredients.
7. Carefully spoon 1/2 the Italian meringue mixture into the dry ingredients bowl and stir to combine.
8. Once combined, fold mixture (one single stroke) until there are no air bubbles left – this will usually take 30-40 seconds if you are folding non-stop.
9. Using a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle, fill the bag 2/3 way with the macaron mixture
10. Gently pipe small circles onto prepared baking trays.
11. Leave trays for about half an hour, or until they are dry to the touch and a crust is formed.
12. Place in oven for 10-12 minutes.
13. Cool on rack until ready for assembly.

Vanilla Buttercream
100g butter, softened
200g icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Beat butter in an electric mixer, medium speed, until pale and fluffy.
2. Add sifted icing sugar gradually until combined.
3. Add vanilla extract and mix to combine.

Raspberry Jam
1 cup frozen raspberries
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon corn flour
lemon juice to taste

1. Place rapberries and water into a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring continuously until soft.
2. Once raspberries have collapsed add cornflour and still until combined.
3. Add lemon juice to taste (about 1 tablespoon, but depends on how tart you like your jam) and continue to stir as mixture thickens.
4. Once micture thickens, remove from heat and place in a small container and refrigerate for 15 minutes or until set.

Sugar Syrup
1 tablesppon caster sugar
1 tablespoon cold water

1. Combine sugar and water in a small/ medium saucepan.
2. Br1ing to the boil, then simmer for 3 - 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and it has reduced by half.
2. Pour into a heatproof bowl, and allow to cool.

To Assemble:

1. Match up like pair of macaron shells.
2. Fill a piping nag with the vanilla buttercream, and using a round tip, pipe the buttercream onto one macaron shell.
3. Place a small tablespoon of jam in the centre of the buttercream and sandwich with other shell
4. Lightly brush top of macaron with sugar syrup and top with coconut
5. Repeat.
6. Store in an airtight container.

Iced VoVo Tart

Iced Vovo

The Iced VoVo was always a favourite of mine - how could you possibly go wrong with raspberry, coconut and that perfect shade of pink! I simply couldn't pass up this recipe when I saw it on

100g Arnott’s Iced VoVo biscuits
150g plain sweet biscuits ( I used Milk Arrowroot)
130g unsalted butter, melted

Marshmallow filling
150g pink marshmallows
1 tbsp milk
2 drops pink food colouring
200ml thickened cream
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Raspberry jelly
2 McKenzie’s gelatine leaves
1 cup frozen raspberries
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp caster sugar

400ml thickened cream
2 drops pink food colouring
1 tbsp moist coconut flakes

Step 1
To make the base, spray a 35x11cm (base measurement) fluted tart tin, with removable base, with canola oil. In a food processor, blitz combined biscuits until finely crushed. Add butter. Process to combine. Use a glass to spread and press mixture firmly over base and sides of prepared tin. Place in the fridge for 1 hour.
Step 2
To make marshmallow filling, stir marshmallows and milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes or until the marshmallows melt and the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in food colouring. Set aside, stir occasionally, for about 6 minutes to cool.
Step 3
Use an electric beater to beat cream and vanilla bean paste in a bowl until firm peaks form. Gently fold half the cream mixture into the marshmallow. Fold in the remaining cream until combined. Spoon over the biscuit base and smooth the surface. Place in the fridge for 2 hours or until firm.
Step 4
Meanwhile, to make raspberry jelly, place gelatine leaves in a bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside for 6 minutes to soften. Stir the raspberries, water and sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat for 1 minute or until sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until raspberries collapse. Squeeze excess liquid from gelatine leaves and add to raspberry mixture. Stir until gelatine dissolves. Strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Discard the seeds. Set aside, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes to cool.
Step 5
Carefully pour the jelly over marshmallow. Place in fridge for 2 hours to set.
Step 6
To make topping, use an electric beater to beat the cream in a bowl until firm peaks form. Stir in food colouring. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm fluted nozzle. Pipe rosettes in 2 rows along the 2 long sides of the tart.
Step 7
Sprinkle with coconut flakes.

*Keep in refrigerator until serving otherwise base can become crumbly.