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Happy Australia Day 2014!

While I still fail to do anything particularly Aussie when Australia Day comes around every year, I did want to share some Australian-themed food today.

For those of you who want to be extra patriotic when eating, why not try to copy the flags in food created by an Australian advertising agency? Their Australian meat pie and sauce flag is perfect! Click the photo to see their other flags in food, but before you do, can you guess which foods they used for Italy, America, Greece or Japan?

VisualNews_australia-flag-made-from-food-600x471

I love following the many people on Instagram who create amazing bentos and cute food; they give me lots of inspiration and encouragement to attempt my own simple creations. I just discovered Lunarbell’s this past week. Sarah’s koala lunch is just the most adorable plate!

Lunar_Bell_Koala

Finally, I created these lamington cupcakes a little while back. You can have the taste of an Aussie lamington with a lot less effort!National Cupcake WeekWishing you a Happy Straya Day!!!

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Lamington cupcakes

Today is the first day of National Cupcake Week! Yes, a whole week devoted to celebrating those morsels of cakey goodness. What better excuse to get into the kitchen and then relax with your baked efforts?

I’ve been experimenting with cupcakes for the last couple of weeks to try to come up with some different ideas. Some of my experiments haven’t worked, but mistakes are the best teachers. I came up with the idea for these ones after feeling disheartened by an idea I just couldn’t make work and had to give up on. I wanted something that definitely wouldn’t fail and would be very simple.

Australia doesn’t have a lot of unique cuisine. When people ask me what dishes are particularly Australian, I usually find it difficult to give a good reply. But one of the things I most love about my homeland is its eclectic mishmash of cultures and cuisines.

Lamingtons are definitely uniquely Australian. They make me think of my childhood and are perhaps one of the reasons I love coconut so much. Their simplicity is probably their biggest selling point – cubes of light vanilla sponge, covered in runny chocolate icing and finally dipped in desiccated coconut. Sometimes they’re cut in half and cream (sometimes also jam) is spread inside, but it tastes much better in its original form.

My cupcake version of lamingtons omits the messy dipping into chocolate icing stage. What could be better? You still have the wonderful taste combination, but without all the fiddly work!

LAMINGTON CUPCAKES

Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Makes 12 cupcakes
Uniced cupcakes can be frozen for up to a month

Vanilla cupcakes

125g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
125g butter, softened
125g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs
2 tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan).

Sift the flour and baking powder together.

Beat the butter and sugar with a handheld mixer, or in a food processor, until creamy and a paler colour.

At a slower speed, add the vanilla, eggs (one at a time) and milk.

Put the creamy mixture into a bowl and carefully fold in the flour mixture, being careful not to overmix it.

Divide the mixture between 12 cupcake cases (the mixture should fill the cases about one half or two thirds full).

Bake for 12-15 mins until cooked through when tested with a skewer. Cool on a wire rack.

Chocolate buttercream icing

140g butter, softened
250g icing sugar
30g good quality cocoa powder
1-2 tbsp milk
1 cup desiccated coconut

Sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder together.

Beat the butter in a large bowl until soft and creamy.

Add half the icing sugar and cocoa powder mixture and beat until smooth.

Add the remaining icing sugar and cocoa powder, and the milk, beating until creamy.

Once the cakes are cool, spread the buttercream icing liberally on top. Sprinkly generously with coconut.

Variations:

  • Ā  use 30g of melted chocolate instead of the cocoa powder in the buttercream for extra decadence