Friday, 22 March 2013

Marshmallow Cupcakes... A fluffy dream

Sometimes I forget how much I really love making things look pretty. Whether it be stationary, presents or dessert. I really enjoy sitting back and looking at something cute, after I have just spent hours making it.

That is what sparked my passion for baking. The final product in all its sparkles and prettiness. Obviously taste plays a major role too...

This week I couldn't move past the idea of marshmallows.. What with their fluffiness. They're like little clouds.. I wanted them... In a cupcake.

So bake a cupcake I did. Or more like 20.

This was scary and new because I didn't just want a cupcake that resembled the taste of marshmallows, I wanted marshmallows inside it, on top of it and all around it.

So I started with a basic chocolate cupcake, as most ideas do. This was inspired by the chocolate cupcakes in the Primrose Bakery Cookbook. I then stuffed in a marshmallow and baked it. I took them out of the oven early, stuffed in another marshmallow and baked them for a further couple of minutes and this was the result.

After baking with 1 marshmallow...
A toasted marshmallow in a cupcake.. what more could you want?
Mmmm, they look just like when you cook them over a campfire.

Top it off with some lovely fluffy butter cream icing and voila. Not all together as gorgeous and heavenly looking as I had hoped but I have let it go a bit in the cupcake department of late so I think we'll call this display a practice run. You get the idea...

Now that you are ever so slightly amazed at my creativity, I do have a confession to make... I also wanted to make marshmallow icing to go with my ever so mallowy cakes so I took a leaf out of the Primrose book and attempted their marshmallow icing. I may have caramelised the sugar... It turned to toffee the minute I added the melted sugar and golden syrup to the egg whites. It was a disaster! So so so sticky. I have since had the epiphany that in my icing mentality I used icing sugar rather than caster sugar for my syrup. As a result I am still sticking to everything I touch and have left the saucepan in the sink for Little Sis S to deal with after I experienced a slight mental episode trying to clean it... She is not yet aware of this.

Please enjoy the fool proof recipe below that I resorted to after almost creating a second base for my saucepan.

Marshmallow Cupcakes
Makes around 20
(inspired by the Primrose Bakery Recipe for Cookies and Cream Cupcakes and Buttercream Icing)

120g 70% cocoa Lindt dark chocolate (or similar)
90g butter
180g brown sugar
2 eggs
190g plain flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon bi-carb soda
A pinch of salt
250ml skim milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
A packet of marshmallows of your choice. Two are needed per cupcake.

120g butter
60ml skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
500g icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Line muffin trays with cupcake liners ready to go.

2. Melt chocolate by stirring in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water... or in a microwave on short bursts with stirring in between. Be careful that you do not burn the chocolate. Set the chocolate aside to cook slightly.

3.  Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and mix well. Add the eggs one at a time until combined then add the melted chocolate and mix well.

4. Sift together the flour, bi-carb soda, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.

5. In yet another bowl, mix the milk and vanilla essence.

6. Add half the flour to the butter mix and beat well. Follow with half of the milk. Once well incorporated add the rest of the flour then the rest of the milk.

7. Place a marshmallow in the cupcake liner then fill the liner half way with cupcake mix. They will expand a lot in the oven, especially the marshmallow.

8. Place the cupcakes in the oven for 13 minutes or until the marshmallow is completely melted. Remove from the oven and place another marshmallow in the hole where the original marshmallow has melted. Place back into the over for a further 2 minutes or until marshmallows are slightly browned on top.

9. Leave cupcakes to cool in tray for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack. Once they have completely cooled they are ready to decorate.

for the icing;
beat the butter, milk, vanilla and half the icing sugar until mixed and fluffy. Gradually add the remaining sugar until the icing has a creamy appearance. Color to your own preference.

I added another marshmallow on top for decoration (making it 3 marshmallows per cake) and some pretty fairy sprinkles.

Happy Baking...

Thursday, 21 March 2013

This Week I...

- was taken to Melba's at The Langham for a delicious buffet and all the food I could eat for a week.

- made some cute marshmallow cupcakes

- started reading "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin and embarked on my own happiness project... Which includes baking on a much more regular basis.

- ate a fantastic lunch at Duke's in Prahran

Photo from

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Chin Chin... a nod of the head to Thai food

So I caved and FINALLY made my way down to the ever so trendy and popular Chin Chin in Flinders Lane, Melbourne...

... and let me be honest, this post will be mostly about their cocktails at Go Go Bar... they were mind blowing!!!!

But like all stories, this one must start at the beginning.

Go Go Bar @ Chin Chin

Now I have attempted to enter the ever alluring restaurant a number of times in the past, but have always been greeted with a 2 hour wait... 2 HOURS!!! on a weekday no less!!! I was always too hungry and impatient to cope with the wait. But on this particular Friday night I was prepared for anything. I had a late lunch that day and turned up at 6pm prepared for the lengthy wait. Without fail, I was given a 1.5 hour wait, they took my mobile number and after asking where I could get a drink I was ushered downstairs to Go Go Bar @ Chin Chin.

And here I could have spent the remainder of my night without food just drinking my way through the tremendous list of cocktails. I trawled my way through the gorgeous array of drinks.

I know, I talk a big game... I only had four cocktails.. I am a little weak I will admit.

First though was the "new fashion"... a strawberry and lemon vodka with orange bitters and palm sugar on ice... yum, but very very sweet. First sip was like sucking on a lemon. Don't let that deter you though, Was delicious.

"New Fashion"

Next I moved on to the "lychee and cardamon bellini"... consisting of fresh lychee juice, cardamon sugar and topped up with king valley prosecco.

Lychee and Cardamon Bellini

By now I was feeling adventurous... an hour of waiting can do that to a girl... so onto the "provence" I went... amaretto, lavender, elderflower liqueur, fresh lemon and egg white. This was by far my absolute favorite!


My phone went off and upstairs to my table I went. I was seated in the back corner (quite a squeeze.. the tables are so close together!!!) and I ordered another drink. This time it was a pomegranate cocktail that included szechuan infused gin, apple juice, lilley rouge, palm sugar, thai basil and fresh pressed lemon. Very nice.

I sipped my cocktail while I perused the menu.

DIY fresh spring rolls were bundles of entertainment. I love any item of food where you get to assemble it yourself. It makes your meal interactive. These spring rolls were delish.

DIY Spring Rolls

Next up were the spicy corn and coriander fritters served with iceberg lettuce and chilli jam. Another hit. I devoured these.

And for the main was the delightful selection of a dry red curry of soft shell crab served with snakebeans, thai basil and kaffir lime leaf.

Spicy corn and coriander fritters

After all that, and some rice, I was stuffed and ready to continue on my way for the night. I think I'd be back at Chin Chin just for the wait so I can sample the rest of the cocktail menu. Who needs food when you can drink like that???

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 16 March 2013

This Week I....

- Had my birthday on St Patrick's Day (as it has been for the last 25 years) I must just be lucky!

- Pastried it up at a Burch & Purchese cooking demonstration. Fantastic! I also snagged myself an awesome Pablo the Penguin... Pictured below, he is adorable!!!

- was given an amazing book called The Vintage Tea Party Year by Angel Adoree. Can't wait to plan one myself!

- Experienced the Melbourne Grand Prix, right on my doorstep (which also happened to fall on my birthday)

- Had a momentary freak out... Omg! I'm 25!! I know, not old but its all going so fast!!!

Now that the weather has cooled it will soon be time to once again get my bake on....

So have a good week and happy baking to you all.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

This week I...

- succumbed to temptation and finally went to Chin Chin Melbourne.. But more on that in a later post

- learnt a bunch of new leadership skills in a management course (I'm all about improving my skills where I can)

- visited Jock's icecream in Middle Park on those nasty hot days for some delish homemade icecreams and sorbets... If you haven't yet, check it out!

And... I've started a new semester at uni so please don't hate me if my posts are less frequent!

Also of note... It's my birthday next week !!!

Happy weekend everybody!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Lamington French Toast

I dont know about you but Lamingtons are a part of my very fond memories of birthday parties, picnics and all things related to growing up in Australia.

For those of you who are thinking Lamingtons.. what the? A lamington is a traditional Australian dessert. It consists of two squares of sponge cake sandwiched together with jam in the middle. The sponge is then coated with a delicious layer of chocolate and rolled in coconut. Voila!! On a special occasion, and when made to eat fresh, the lamington will usually also contain a healthy dollop of cream in the centre much to your taste-buds' delight.

Now that we are all on the same page, let me introduce you to a completely new approach to Australia's favorite cake. I must give credit where it is due; Miss Jackson in St Kilda introduced me to the idea and I could not resist trying to develop my own recipe...

Low and behold.... The Lamington French Toast! Please hold all applause until the end.

This dessert treat is the ultimate mouth watering indulgence. It is so incredibly more-ish. I could not stop eating it. Two layers of delicous brioche french toast, sandwiched together with jam in the centre, coated in chocolate sauce and sprinkled with coconut. Served with a healthy scoop of ice cream.

Lamington French Toast (makes two serves)

4 slices brioche (or thick, sweet-ish bread)
2 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
3 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup of boiling water
Strawberry Jam
1 cup desiccated coconut
vanilla or coconut ice-cream

In a bowl whisk together the eggs and milk. Melt a small amount of butter in a fry-pan on medium heat. Soak a slice of brioche in the mixture then place in fry-pan. Fry until golden on each side.
Repeat for each slice.

Spread strawberry jam thickly over two of the slices of french toast then place another slice on top of each to make a sandwich.

In a heatproof bowl sift together the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Add the butter and boiling water and mix until a reasonably thick sauce has formed. If the mixture is very runny, simply add some more icing sugar until you reach the desired consistency.

Spread chocolate sauce over your french toast sandwich until it is fully covered. Cover with desiccated coconut.

Add a scoop of your chosen ice cream on the side and try not to get chocolate all over your clothing as you devour this fantastic Australian dessert!

Making some french toast

Mix together water, chocolate, sugar and butter

Happy Baking!!!!