Australia Day is a chance to look around us, recognise the awesome country we live in and the awesome varied people who live here and give thanks that we are lucky enough to call this fair country home. Last year my family took 4 weeks off work and headed into the outback to see some of our vast land firsthand. The diversity of even just the small portion of the country that we saw was amazing; from rolling hills of green and vineyards as far as the eye can see, to rugged mountain ranges and desolate sprawling deserts. Each landscape we saw was uniquely beautiful and I struggle to choose a favourite, although if pressed, it is hard to go past the rugged beauty of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. I can’t wait to be able to head off again and see even more!
Most years we try and head to the family farm for Australia Day and relax among the bush, with a beverage in hand and a steak sizzling on the barbie. I’m looking forward to continuing the tradition this year. Last year’s Australia Day weekend was one I will always remember. We got flooded in at the farm after over 450 millimetres of rain fell in 36 hours. Check out this post for some great pictures of the farm in flood! Fast forward 12 months and we desperately need rain, about 65% of the state has been drought declared and while we are fortunate to not be in an area that is included in that declaration, our dam and creek are empty. Such a contrast to how it was just 1 year ago and I can’t even imagine how it is for those people in inland Queensland where they have had 2 failed wet seasons. Our Aussie farmers are really doing it tough. You can help by donating to the Aussie Helpers, a charity who look after struggling rural communities.
In addition to a beautiful, if sometimes, unforgiving country, Australia also has some awesome food. One of my favourites is the lamington; a sponge cake that is coated in chocolate icing and rolled in coconut. SO GOOD! The only problem with them is that they can be a little time consuming and messy to make yourself. Worth it, but not always possible when you live a busy life. To fix this problem, this year I have made lamington cupcakes! The flavours of the lamington but really simple and quick to put together: a basic vanilla cupcake with a jam centre and topped with chocolate icing and coconut.
To start, follow the small cakes recipe below. Cream the butter and sugar well and then add the vanilla and eggs. Once they have been mixed in well add in the milk and flour and beat until the mixture is light and smooth. Spoon mixture into patty pans and bake.
Once cooked and cooled cut small circles in the top of the cakes and fill the holes with jam. Place the tops back on.
Make the icing by mixing the butter and cocoa together and then adding the icing sugar and milk until a soft and spreadable consistency is reached.
Spread icing over the top of cupcake and then sprinkle with coconut.
Make the buttercream by creaming butter and adding icing sugar, vanilla and milk. Divide into two mixes and add cocoa to one. Pipe cocoa in a circle in the centre of the cupcake and then top with a swirl of the vanilla buttercream and a dot of jam.
This post is linked up the Australia Day Link Party over at Cooker and a Looker