lamington gelato cakes

27 Jan 2020

I'd planned to make a lamington swiss roll for Australia Day but following 2 failed attempts I put that idea on the backburner. Then I saw a photo of a lamington gelato cake on Instagram which came from Piccolino Gelateria. It consisted of a layer of sponge cake topped with strawberry jam, followed by a layer of vanilla gelato finished with a coating of chocolate and a dusting of shredded coconut. With one failed swiss roll still in the freezer and a freshly made batch of berry jam in the fridge I was halfway there.

2 weeks ago I bought an ice cream maker as a Christmas gift to myself, so now that I can make gelato it was decided - I was going to make my own version of the lamington gelato cake in honour of Australia Day.

I wasn't sure how well the sponge cake would hold up after being in the freeze for a while, so I brushed the cake with some vanilla syrup before topping the cake layer with berry jam.

For the gelato, I made a batch of milk gelato also known as fior di latte gelato. Fior di latte consists of only 3 ingredients so you can't skimp on quality here so I bought some organic milk and organic cream with which to make the gelato. It was absolutely delicious.

I made these ice cream cakes on a 34°C day in my non air conditioned flat which was a challenge. I also made them in a single day, something I wouldn't attempt in the future as there is a lot of time spent waiting for the gelato to firm before you can move on to the next step. Next time I'd make the gelato the night before. The chocolate coating was also a bit too thick - it was the only component that set but it set too quickly! I'm not sure what I can do to rectify that though.

Piccolino Gelateria is in Melbourne and I live in Sydney so I have no idea how closely my attempt matches their version but I was quite pleased with how they looked and especially pleased with the fior di latte gelato.

Here's the recipe for you which makes six 8 cm cakes. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. I use unsalted butter; all eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional gas oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Lamington Gelato Cakes – inspired by the Piccolino Gelateria Lamington Ice Cream Cake. You’ll need to start this recipe the day before serving.

1 bought sponge cake, sliced horizontally into 1 cm thick slices or a 3 egg sponge cake baked in a swiss roll tin 
⅓ cup raspberry or strawberry jam
1 batch vanilla syrup (recipe below)
1 batch of fior di latte gelato (recipe below)
1 batch of chocolate topping (recipe below)
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Vanilla syrup
¼ cup caster sugar
¼ cup water
½ vanilla bean, sliced lengthways, seeds removed

In a small pan, combine the sugar, water, vanilla bean and seeds and stir over a low heat until dissolved. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and gently simmer for 5 minutes or until the syrup has thickened. Take off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before fishing out the vanilla pod. Don’t throw it out – when dry, place it into your caster sugar.

Gelato al fior di latte adapted from this Emiko Davies recipe
550ml full-cream milk
125g caster sugar
200ml cream, chilled

Combine 1 cup of the milk and the sugar in a saucepan over a low–medium heat. It should not boil, but just reach the point where tiny bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Take the pan off the heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Cover and allow to cool to room temperature. Add the remaining milk and the cream and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions until frozen and creamy but firm. If you want you can make the gelato in advance but you’ll need to let it soften a little so you can scoop it into the ramekins.

To make the cakes, line the base of six 8cm ramekins with baking paper. Cut the sponge cake into six 8cm rounds and place one sponge round in the base of each ramekin. Generously douse each cake with some of the cooled vanilla syrup. Once the syrup has been absorbed, spoon a few teaspoons of jam over each cake, smoothing with an offset spatula. Place the ramekins in the freezer to firm the cake before filling each ramekin with approximately ½ cup of the fior di latte gelato. Return the ramekins to the freezer and freeze for 3-4 hours or until firm. While the gelato is freezing, make the chocolate topping.

Chocolate Topping

300g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
60mls vegetable oil


Place the chocolate and oil in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (the bowl shouldn't touch the water) and stir until melted. Allow to cool completely. 

When the gelato is firm, run the sides of ramekins quickly under hot water and unmould onto a cold saucer covered with baking paper. Remove the lining paper then invert the cake so the sponge cake is now the base and return to the freezer for another hour to harden before coating with the chocolate topping. 

Place the frozen cakes onto a wire rack placed over a tray to catch any drips. Gently pour over the topping then sprinkle each cake with some of the shredded coconut. Loosen the cakes from the tray and return to the freezer until serving time. It’s a good idea to place the lamington cakes in the fridge for about 15 minutes before serving.

I hope you're all enjoying the Australia Day public holiday. See you all again soon with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


afghan biscuits

20 Jan 2020

Today is my first working day for 2020. To sweeten my return to work I decided to make some biscuits. I used to make Afghan biscuits when I was still in primary school, in fact I think I won third prize at my school fete with a batch.  I don't have that recipe any more so I turned to the internet for help. 

Most recipes for this biscuit, which is a kiwi classic, seem adapted from the one in the Edmonds Cookery Book. The afghan is a simple chocolate biscuit studded with cornflakes. I played around with the sugars and added a touch of vanilla but otherwise it's much the same as the Edmonds cookery book recipe. The icing came from a Gourmet Traveller recipe whilst the walnut praline came from the Cook and Baker.

Here's the recipe for you which makes 18 biscuits. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. I use unsalted butter; all eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional gas oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Afghan biscuits – inspired by a Gourmet Traveller recipe
200 gm unsalted butter, softened
50g brown sugar
50g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
185 gm plain flour (1¼ cup)
25 gm Dutch-process cocoa (¼ cup)
Pinch salt
60 gm corn flakes

Walnut praline
1 cup (140g) walnut pieces
1 cup caster sugar
40mls water

Chocolate icing
240 gm icing sugar, sifted (1½ cup)
1½ tbsp Dutch-process cocoa
25 gm butter, melted
½ tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbs boiling water

Preheat oven to 180ºC and line 2 oven trays with baking paper. Beat together butter, sugars and vanilla until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Sieve flour, cocoa and salt over butter mixture and beat to combine. Add corn flakes and stir to combine. Place heaped tablespoonfuls of dough on prepared trays, press lightly to flatten and bake, swapping trays halfway, until edges are just firm (10-12 minutes). Cool completely on trays.

Walnut praline
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Evenly spread the walnut pieces over the tray. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring. Cook until the mixture turns a golden brown then working quickly pour the toffee over the walnut pieces, shaking the tray a little to distribute the toffee. Remember the toffee is hot. Allow the toffee to completely cool before breaking into smaller pieces. Store in a baking paper lined airtight container for up to 2 weeks. This will make more praline than you need.

Chocolate Icing
Combine icing sugar and cocoa in a bowl. Add the melted butter, vanilla and water and stir until smooth, adding a little extra water until mixture is thick but just spreadable. Spread thickly over biscuits and top with some of the walnut praline. 

Afghans are best eaten the day they’re made, but will keep for 2 days in an airtight container.

I hope you had a great weekend. If I survive the first working week of the year, then I'll be back again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



hobart - part II

15 Jan 2020

Welcome to part 2 of my mini break in Hobart.  I wanted to visit Mt. Wellington during my visit and found the only way to get there was to hike or book onto a tour bus. In the end I hired a car for the day and drove there.

It was a bit of a grey day which I thought might obscure the views of Hobart but in the end I think it added some atmosphere.

I drove back down Mt. Wellington and returned to Salamanca Place via the famous Cascade Brewery. It's such an iconic building.

I'm not a beer drinker so I wandered around the gardens instead of doing a brewery tour.

The next day dawned bright and sunny so I went for a wander around the Botanical Gardens.

The gardens were filled with colour and bird life.

As well as revisiting some favourite parts of the gardens I visited some new to me places, like the Tasmanian Community Food Garden.

Artichokes and bramley apples, any-one?

The beautiful lily pond.

I think this was my first visit to the Japanese garden.

Japanese garden design is always so serene.

Once the car was safely returned I made my way back to the hotel via Pigeon Whole Bakers where I bought this danish. I was on holidays, so no judging please. I call this research.

Revived by the pastry I continued to explore Hobart on foot.

The austere facade of St John's Presbyterian Church.

The beautiful Treasury buildings.

The Theatre Royal dwarfed by the new Royal Hobart Hospital building.

The Synagogue, the oldest in Australia.

The stately Hobart Town Hall.

From down-town Hobart it's a short walk to the waterfront and the Elizabeth Street Pier. 

This seagull was happy to pose for a photo.

The old steam engine at Victoria Dock.

Dock still life.

Life imitating art.

That's all for now from my trip to Hobart. I did take my film camera with me but the roll isn't finished yet so I'll share those images some time in the future.

See you all again next with some baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


hobart - part I

13 Jan 2020

I know it's been a while since I last blogged but I've been away for the past 3 weeks and have just returned to Sydney. On Sunday I went back into my kitchen for the first time in ages. I made a pot of berry jam to take advantage of all the berries in the fruit shop and will start baking later in the week. I promise that my food posts will return next week. In the meantime I have some photos to share with you of Hobart, where I spent a few days last week. It's no secret that I love Tasmania and one day hope to buy a place down there. 

Flying down to Hobart was a last minute decision. I stayed for a few days at the Moss Hotel at Salamanca Place, a new hotel tucked into an old warehouse. 

I took quite a few photos of the hotel, which is decked out in shades of mossy green, one of my favourite colours.

I stayed in a Grove Room which overlooked Sullivan's Cove. The bed was so comfortable I would have been happy to curl up there all day with a good book but I had things to do and places to see.

The glamorous bathroom.

Once I'd settled in I walked up Kelly's Steps to Battery Point, passing by this art installation.

I stayed in Battery Point during my second visit to Hobart about 20 years ago and fell in love with the place then. If money was no object I'd love to buy one of the beautiful places I walked past.

I roamed the streets doing a self guided walk.

The flowers were in bloom.

I walked past mansions and cottages down to the waterfront.

You can take a sculpture walk around Battery Point.

The next day I collected a hire car and drove south to Huon Valley, an apple growing region.

Tasmania is not called the Apple Isle for no reason.

I stopped by the side of the road to take a few photos of these apple trees at Lucaston Park Orchards.

I have plenty more photos to share, so I'll be back later in the week with Part II of my trip to Hobart.

See you all again soon.

Bye for now,


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