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    Entries in review (14)


    Adriano Zumbo Packet Mix Macaron and Brownie Review

    Adriano Zumbo Salted Caramel and Passionfruit Macaron mixes, plus chocolate brownie mix

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    We love Adriano Zumbo here in Australia, the Sydney based patissier has been proclaimed the king of macarons by those far and wide that have tasted his perfectly pretty, often exciting macarons and pastry creations. 

    Now we can have a little bit of Zumbo at home with the release of Adriano Zumbo packet baking mixes. 

    I usually bake from scratch and I don't have that much experience using packet mixes so I called in a "non baking friend" to try out the macaron mixes.

    First a look at in what's in the box:


    In the Salted Caramel Macaron box (pictured) there is Caramel meringue mix, Almond meal mix, and Caramel filling sachet. Two piping bags are included, one for the macaron and one for the filling. Ditto the Passionfruit but passionfruit flavoured and the brownies contain the batter mix and choc chunks.

    There is a template ring so you can mark out your circles on your baking paper. You can also go to the website and download a template sheet if you, ummm "can't find a pencil??" Seriously, a lot of thought and time has gone into developing these products, from the funky packaging to video web links to help you along the way and as for the macarons lets see what a self professed non-baker can do.

    I was surprised how quickly my friend was able to use an electric hand mixer make the meringue (with cold water), sift/fold and pulse in the almond meal and then piped perfect macaron circles (I did ask about their piping technique and they said "I do watch MasterChef") and baked the following...

    Goodness, how perfect are these shells!!

    Here they are Passionfruit complete with filling and the caramel....

    I know you will be tempted to eat them straight away (and they do taste great), but do try saving them overnight to end up with the squidgy authentic macaron experience.

    Still not feeling confident baking macs... you always scan the side of the macaron mix box to watch videos.

    Alternatively head over to Zumbo Baking where you will find helpful videos to assist you in your baking.

    More of a chocolate fan? The Adriano Zumbo range includes, chocolate brownie and choc mud mirror cake (couldn't get this one for the review). 

    A quick look at the brownies... you will have this mix together in a couple of minutes... hand mix with a spoon, pour into a lined tray and viola see what you get! Served warm with ice-cream for your next family get together.

    Dark and delicious chocolate brownies from the Adriano Zumbo Chocolate Brownie Mix

    Happy Baking :) 

    You might also be interested in liquorice ice-cream

    or Bundy Banana cupcakes with toffee toppers


    Cadbury Marvellous Creations Chocolate Review

    Cadbury Marvellous Creations Chocolate 

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    Perhaps it's the difficult economic times or perhaps we have always been wanted an excuse to access our inner child; whatever the reason the "Willy Wonka type" trend in food continues with Cadbury's Joyville range of chocolates. 

    Cadbury's latest entry in the Joyville range is 'Marvellous Creations' an oddly shaped chocolate block/bar with lots of added bits. Now truthfully, I'm not a huge fan of Cadbury milk chocolate I find it too sweet, though I'm not immune to even the scent of Cadbury chocolate evoking my childhood memories of lining up in the lounge room to get a piece of the latest Cadbury block off my mum.

    cadbury's marvellous creations advertising campaign with it's "Wonka factory" feel

    However, my closest friend Jactina is loving this new Cadbury range so much she has been asking (uhh hmm nagging!) for a blog post. Soooo, lets have a look at what's inside each block.... 

    three flavour choices 'jelly crunchie bits', 'peanut toffee cookie' and 'jelly, popping candy and beanies'... so popular is this new range of chocolate the first few stores I tried were sold out. 

    Starting with 'Jelly Crunchie Bits'

    Cadbury milk chocolate, red jelly lollies and small pieces of Cadbury 'Crunchie' (honeycomb/sponge candy). This flavour is the favourite of my friend Jacinta and my step son Daniel. Daniel saying that "you wouldn't think honeycomb and jelly lollies would work together, but they soooo do!!".

    What I think... probably my favourite too, though the jelly bits do have a slightly bitter aftertaste, the crunchie bits are evenly distributed and if you have ever had a 'Crunchie' Easter egg or block chocolate you know that works well with the dairy milk chocolate.

    Next up 'Peanut Toffee Cookie'

    Daniel thought this one is "pretty good" and wants to have more this week (ensuring his place in the "where is all the chocolate going queue??"), Jacinta has it on her list to try.

    What I think... I thought I would like this one the best, but it's packed with rather bland coarse shortbread textured cookie pieces, peanuts and toffee bits, the toffee tastes nice but too much salt overall is coming from the cookie/toffee combo. 

    packed with cookie pieces 

    Last in the line up is 'Jelly, Popping Candy, Beanies'

    Daniel thought this one was "bland" though the piece he tried was devoid of "jelly pieces" and he felt with the jelly pieces it would have been a different story. Jacinta and family loved this, I know Jacinta was smiling during our phone conversation about this block.

    What I think... the beanies (M&M type chocolates) don't add much to a block of chocolate, the jelly lollies again have a slightly bitter aftertaste. As for the popping candy, lol ok it did make me smile :) 

    I'll leave the summing up to Jacintas teenage daughter Emma who after saying "I like the fun shape of the block" and "I like the bright packaging" added the most important part of any chocolate review "It's YUM". 

    Well I'm off now to enjoy a glass of Cabury drinking chocolate, hey I did say I wasn't immune to the lure of Cadbury.

    Get yourself in a Cadbury kind of mood and watch their TV ad for Marvellous Creations.

    Happy Baking :)

    Maybe you would prefer a Bounty Bar? Then how about a Bounty Bar inspired cupcake recipe


    Fat Witch Brownies book review

                       fat witch brownie with added chocolate on top

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    Books make such fabulous stocking stuffers, I thought I'd review a few cookbooks in the lead up to the holidays. Starting with one that's been out for a while, 'Fat Witch Brownies: Brownies, Blondies and Bars from New York's Legendary Fat Witch Bakery'. 

    This book is extremely well reviewed on Amazon , many of the reviewers compare the bought brownies from the bakery with the recipes from the book so I'll keep my review short and sweet.

    The leafy outer suburb of Melbourne is worlds away from New York's Legendary Fat Witch Bakery, but it's here that I baked half dozen recipes from the Fat Witch book... three of which I'll be talking about today.

    The small format book is full of promise, beautiful photos, 50 plus recipes, smart use of one 9x9 inch cake pan for all recipes (closest 22 cm in Oz) and a warm chatty tone that emanates from author Patricia Helding. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite live up to expectations starting with the disappointing "Fat Witch" brownie that is more cakey than fudgy. I baked this one twice, the second time pictured at top of page was sprinkled if chocolate pieces to add more flavour. Look, it's not awful... but it's not that flavourful either, plus it's a cake brownie not the promised chocolately fudgy hit I was expecting. That said, my best friend Jacinta liked this brownie and it's made it's way to parties where it has been well recieved. 

    The cocoa brownie on the following page is "ok" too... but not "wow!". 

    frozen cream cheese brownie

    Step son Daniel loves cheesecake so next up was the frozen cream cheese brownie. This tasted more like a brownie, but I did change the filling the second time around adding vanilla and sour cream. I'd make these again with the adjusted filling.

    banana bread brownie

    Then we tried the banana bread brownie... which in no way resembles any brownie I've ever seen/tasted. Dense, moist with good flavours, this will probably end up on my "goodness, the bananas have gone brown" rotation. It's is an odd one, particularly texturally!! 

    The book contains a wide selection of brownies, blondies and bars, plus frostings and glazes and tips. It is a nice slice/bar book, but not the "I'll never need another brownie recipe" book I was expecting. 

    Later today, yes today!.... there is another brownie story coming up, plus a competition to win a stocking stuffer recipe book.

    Until then, happy baking :)


    Super Food Ideas iPad App Review

    Super Food Ideas iPad App

     More and more of your favourite magazines are available as digital versions; including some of my favourites 'Martha Stewart Living' and 'MasterChef Australia', but today we are looking at an Australian family favourite 'Super Food Ideas' for iPad.  


    Super Food Ideas is a family orientated magazine that specialises in weeknight family meals, easy baking and the like.

    With the cover price for a paper copy being $2.95 (AU), the digital version at 99 cents (AU) is a bargain if you already own an ipad. For me personally, the space saving element of not having paper magazines to store has been a boon. 

    Now for a look at what else swapping to digital has to offer...

    Lets say you have decided you want to make the 'Rich Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cake', here is something your paper copy can't do; press 'cook mode' and you have enlarged print so you easily view your recipe as you cook.

    You can pull up the nutritional information at any time by pressing 'fact file'. 

    I love being able to bookmark recipes too, rather than my usual method of "slips of paper between the pages".

    Some of recipes include a video tutorial, like the 'Coconut Caramel Swirl Cheesecake'

     Navigation is a intuitive; swipe, scroll and tap with your fingers. Use the index page, page viewer or tap on a recipe within a page to make your way throughout the magazine.

    Scroll up or down on the index page, tap to view. 


    Page viewer allows you scroll sideways, tap to view.

    Want to try before you buy? Super Food Ideas is offering a free special edition 40 recipe copy. To get it... download the Super Food Ideas app from the iTunes store... you will need to open an account if you don't already have on. Once installed, open your app and you will see the free magazine plus current and back issues of the magazine.

    Press the free button on the Super 10 special edition, your copy will start downloading. Once downloaded it's ready to view.

    Not from Australia??? The handy conversion charts will get you baking like an Aussie in no time ;)

    Happy Baking :) 


    Review Martha Stewart Living app

                                Martha Stewart Living ipad app

    With Martha Stewart's move to the Hallmark station we are no longer getting the show in Australia. I for one am "missing Martha", but I'm finding comfort in the new Martha Stewart ipad app.

    Open the app and you will see the cover of this months Martha Stewart Living come to life as chocolate sauce pours over the ice-cream... okay, I did think this was very cool & opened the app a few times just to see the chocolate pouring ;) 

    chocolate sauce pours until you end up with the full cover shot

    navigate the app by scrolling right to left to find the story you're after, then scroll downwards to read the story.


    For Australians cost is a major factor, a paper subscription to Martha Stewart Living is going to set you back $240.00 whilst the app version is $4.99 ($3.99 US) an edition with the promise of a subscription price shortly. Even without the subscription you will have a saving of $180.12. 

    All the usual too, too gorgeous content of the Martha Stewart Magazine with the added bonus of being fully interactive (working links to clipart, suppliers & the like), plus videos and effects.  

    a Martha Stewart video shows Martha demonstating how to make a pavlova

    find something you'd like to make & access the recipe with one touch of the "recipe button"

    Saves space by storing all your magazines in one device.

    The portability factor; no more reading those out of date magazines at the dentists office... whip out your ipad and browse your Martha Stewart collection.


    Whilst I loved the pouring chocolate effect of the front cover, I must be getting old and grumpy because I just found it too much seeing the same type of effect over and over throughout the app. Is it really necessary to see more chocolate pouring, chocolate milk pouring or ice-cream melting? My step son Daniel loved the effects; I on the other hand, was thinking about our internet download levels! 

    ice-creams melt away to nothing in this special effect

    "Pinch" you can't pinch the text to make it larger, I want to be able to pinch the recipe text to a larger size when I'm cooking from the ipad. 

    Bookmarking; there is no bookmarking feature. I can paper bookmark my paper MS Living copies, I should be able to do the same thing with app version so I can find that recipe I'm after quickly. 

    If your not Australian you might not be experiencing the price advantage.

    All in all

    I love "Martha" and I will be buying a subscription as soon as it is offered. By the way the edition I reviewed is February 2011... OMG chocolate desserts in this one guys... a "must have" however you buy it. 

    Happy Baking :)

    By going to itunes directly and searching "Martha Stewart Living" or by visiting  Martha Stewart's App Page

    In Valentine's mode? You might also like Love heart cutters and moulds


    Curtis Stone's Silicone Wafer Baker review

    Curtis Stone's black silicone wafer bakers arrive individually packaged in masculine black card folders. 

    The month of June in Australia means it's time to hit the shopping centres for the Mid Year Sales!

    The shopping savvy sprinted to the stores June 1st, but here I am dawdling behind with my with my first bargain. Well "bargain" is probably too strong a word, more of a "slight discount". Though these Curtis Stone Silicone Wafer Bakers are going to come in handy... that or there was a subliminal message in the Celebrity Apprentice to buy "Curtis Stone merchandise". 

    I ended up buying three wafer bakers: the heart, tear and star shapes. I took the star shape for a test drive by first baking parmesan and black pepper wafers (pictured above); the wafers baked quickly, evenly & easily slipped out of the non stick surface. 

    Non stick, dishwasher, microwave safe & oven safe to 260C (500F). Also available in round shapes, black 'Silicone Wafer Bakers'. The photo at the top of the page is a truer representation of the their colour.

    Then on to the good stuff "chocolate"! First I cut chocolate stencil sheet stars to fit the wafer baker, then used an off set spatula to fill the wafer moulds with tempered milk chocolate & set aside to set. The chocolate and gold stars popped out straight out with the perfect finish (pictured top tucked into folder sleeve).

    Here comes the best bit... super easy to clean! Wash in warm soapy water, rinse and shake dry. Can also be put in the dishwasher, but keep them away from sharp edges.

    Use them for twill biscuits (cookies), chocolate, toffee/hot sugar work, sweet or savoury wafer biscuits (cookies), stack them high with creams and berries or go retro with brandy snap baskets. 

    I got mine in Australia for $9 AU each at Peters of Kensington, also available worldwide from Curtis Stone's website for $12.95 US each.

    Happy Baking :)


    'Laurent Patisserie, Melbourne' ... Review

    Laurent Patisserie Boutique Collins Street Melbourne

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    Daniel Teenage Stepson of The Lone Baker;

    So okay, I’ve been sick, fatigued, busy, lazy, homework-y... plus I am the king of procrastination... because of this combination this review entry is beyond late, and for this I apologise. To make up for it, I will try to get another review up ASAP, and it will be awesome. ;)

    Eliza and I recently went to Laurent, one beautiful (in our winter-loving eyes) morning, the air was cool and the rain was falling just enough to not saturate us and turn us into cold complain-y teenagers. We found Laurent in Little Collins St, on the corner of Little Collins, and some nice looking Alleyway ‘thing’ with a street sign titled ‘The Causeway’. I was very attracted by how French Laurent’s exterior looked, and how warm the yellow glow inside appeared.

    warm yellow glow

    We entered the the Patisserie while also entering our usual zone of indecisiveness, though this time it was warranted because of its insanely vast selection of everything ever. Breads and cakes, pastry, other sweets... I could list everything... but I won’t. The point is, it was amazing, EVERYTHING looked and smelled delicious, high quality, and presumably baked on premises. Because of a little food excitement, we ordered quite a lot, a plate of three different macaroons, a beautiful almond croissant, and the ultimate chocolate-y bastard, by the name of ‘Christine’.

    the 'Christine'

    I won’t go into detail about the food, Eliza’s review is coming up and it covers everything awesomely, but I’d just like to mention that this food was amazing. I was sick with a horrible virus during this day, making my throat and neck insanely sore, so it was painful to actually swallow the food... but it still ended up being the most enjoyable beautiful food ever!

    OH! And I forgot to mention that the woman who served us had the cutest French accent EVER! 

    But now to Elly...

    Eliza teenage friend of the the teenage stepson of The Lone Baker;


    There are some foods that are just plain sinful to eat, whether it’s because they’re incredibly decadent or they’re too gosh darn pretty to devour… or both. In the case of our brunch at Laurent’s Little Collins St store, it was most definitely both. Thankfully,Laurent isn’t a patisserie that I’m unfamiliar with; there’s one just by my work, as a matter of fact- God bless Chadstone’s ubiquitously pretentious stores. But standing under our umbrella in the rain, staring up at the elegant bakery with its alley way seating arrangements, I couldn’t help but feel like we’d stepped directly into a scene from Roman Holiday (Except Laurent is French, not Italian… And Dan’s about a foot too short to pass for Gregory Peck). Fortunately, we managed to order and eat without too much embarrassment this time… if you don’t count giggling for five minutes at the selections of Croque-Monsieur, and Dan dropping his cutlery all over the floor…

    part of the selection

    Personally I’ve always had an immense love for Almond Croissants, so when I saw a whole line of them in their lovely little display, I insisted on having one. While the croissant itself didn’t really look appealing at all – in fact, it looked more like a baking disaster than a piece of culinary excellence – it was certainly the best almond croissant I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot. Dan had never had one before so I was hoping that they’d choose the one that looked the nicest out of those on display for his first try, unfortunately all of them looked more like a (excuse the use of the vernacular) dog’s breakfast rather than a French breakfast. The edges were slightly burnt and the only solution they seemed to be able to come up with to fix it was to bury it in almonds and icing sugar. Luckily I’m not superficial, and what it lacked in appearance it made up for in tastiness. I definitely recommend trying one, especially how I had it- on a cold morning, watching the rain outside and drinking tea (I sound like an old woman).

    almond crossiant

    Next up were the macaroons, and at a steep $2.20 each, they’re definitely not an everyday snack- although I’d happily hand over an hours pay for a box of these babies. We decided on three flavours: pistachio, lemon and strawberry, and Dan once again proved himself to be inept at fractions when he was unable to divide them in half. While I found the lemon to be slightly too overpowering and the strawberry slightly too flavourless, the pistachio was by far my favourite. I certainly didn’t find any of the three bad though, quite the contrary. In comparison to the macaroons Dan and I tried at the Lindt Café, those at Laurentwere more of the classic French style in that they were much chewier on the inside than those at the Lindt Café, which took more of a biscuit form. And the three looked so cute on the plate together that I just didn’t want to eat them… that of course didn’t happen, they were destined to be in my belly.

    We saved the prettiest ‘til last, though. Something that was called a Christine, and it’s safe to say is the epitome of all desserts.To put it bluntly it was a chocolate mousse cake with crème brulee and macadamia nuts buried at the bottom of it, decorated chocolate panelling, and topped with a small chocolate with ‘LAURENT’ printed on it and what, if the world were made of chocolate, would be your television antenna.

    While this epitome cake lacked the fun of cracking the top of a crème brulee with a spoon, the richness of the mousse and the gratuitous amounts of chocolate made the cake worth it’s money- I wasn’t even able to get through half of it before I was going to burst (keeping in mind that I had just eaten three quarters of an almond croissant and a few macaroons). The whole cake itself was so pretty and well presented that it broke my heart to see it cut in half and even more so to see it eaten by Dan and I. But that’s what it gets for being so tasty.


    worth the money

    Thanks again to Eliza, for the amazing review, she has done the best job. In the next review I will give her a better hand, I swear!

    review & photos; Eliza Nicoll & Daniel Paxton-Zahra

    Laurent Patisserie

    • 306 Little Collins St
      Melbourne 3000 VIC
    • Phone: (03) 9654 1011


    You might also be interested in;

    'The Cupcake Bakery' Review


    Dessert Fourplay: Sweet Quartets from a Four-Star Pastry Chef

    my own chocolate beetroot cupcake featuring 'Candied Beets' (Beetroot) from Dessert Fourplay

    Off the shelf

    baking book reviews

    Sexy & charismatic pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini doesn't disappoint in his first (and long overdue) cookbook 'Dessert Fourplay: Sweet Quartets from a Four-Star Pastry Chef' 288 pages 

    Divided into six sections; Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Chocolate (if Chocolate isn't a "Season" it should be!) & Building Blocks, the book is chock full of plated desserts each comprising of four elements. The desserts are beautifully photographed in this glossy paged hardback, instructions are clear and precise with cup & metric weight measurements. 

    Well, I'm a bit of a Johnny Iuzzini fan so I'm loving this book, if you're an adventurous home cook you will enjoy playing around with 'Chocolate-Beet Cake with candied beets and raspberry beet sauce' or 'Apple Soup with sweet potato gnocchi and apple tempura'. Some flavours challenge your taste-buds like 'Corn Panna Cotta' or chocolate and olives, other flavours are retro like choc malt to chocolate mousse with a few childhood breakfast cereals & lollies recalled in-between. The book includes a few molecular gastronomy recipes that you will need chemicals for... though most don't and that leads to me to what I think is an odd element of the book. 

    The attempt to widen the target audience for the book with sidebars of alternative suggestions doesn't really work, i.e. the 'Make it Simpler' sidebar that accompanies the 'Chocolate-Beet Cake with candied beets and raspberry beet sauce' reads as follows 'You could skip the candied beets if need be. As an act of desperation, your could substitute store bought chocolate cake for the cake here'. If your not making the 'cake' part of the 'cake' that's probably going a bit far with the 'make it simpler' ;)

    page 31 Chocolate-Beet Cake with candied beets and raspberry beet sauce

    However, all the elements of the Fourplay desserts do work separately, we loved the 'Concord Grape Sorbet' served on a hot day, the 'White Chocolate Ice-Cream' is luscious and could be served with so many fruits and desserts. Many cakes and tart recipes are included plus my favourite 'Building Blocks' section is fabulous with brioche to crispy tangerine sticks. 

    All in all a fun and fabulous book for those who like to "play" in the kitchen & I'm loving the crystallised vanilla pod shreds too!


    My cupcake for today features one element from the book the 'Candied Beets' page 29


    2 bunches of baby beets (beetroot)

    2 cups of simple syrup



    Peel the beets and slice them with a mandoline slicer or slice thinly. 

    Bring the syrup to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat and simmer the beets gently until they're transparent, about 1 hour. Keep the heat low so they don't curl up as you cook them. Let them cool completely in the syrup.

    Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Drain the beets gently, so they don't break and dredge with sugar.

    Arrange on a baking tray and leave in a cold oven overnight to dry. Store in an airtight container for up to one week. 

    Simple Syrup page 184

    2 cups (400g) of sugar

    2 cups (480g) of water

    Combine the sugar and the water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium heat, cooking until sugar is completely dissolved. 

    Transfer to a heatproof jar, and let cool completely before using. Store in the refrigerator.  

      Available from all discerning booksellers... Amazon of course!

    'Dessert FourPlay: Sweet Quartets from a Four-Star Pastry Chef 

    You might also be interested in an Australian pretty in pink odyssey...


                   Musk Sticks


    'The Cupcake Bakery' Cupcakes Review

                                Custard Tumble cupcake $4.50

    Daniel teenage stepson of The Lone Baker;

    Greetings! Welcome to the first, of hopefully many more reviews of Dan and Eliza’s to be featured on The Lone Baker.

    To start us off, we decided to visit one of ‘The Cupcake Bakery’ stores, inside Melbourne Central.

    Okay, no lies here… this was an extremely embarrassing experience… firstly, I was way too indecisive to actually place the order for the cupcakes, and had to ask Eliza to kindly ‘do the honours’. This was an entertaining decision, as I was privileged enough to hear Elly awkwardly ‘Fumble’ around with the Cupcake names ;)

    As I handed the bakery employee the money however, thinking I had given her a $20 note, I stood, and stared at her waiting for my change for a substantial amount of time. I was asked strangely if I wanted anything else, to which I replied; ‘My change would be good’. An awkward pause, and some puzzled moments of following explanation revealed that I had indeed given her the EXACT change… The Cupcake Bakery’s staff are kind, willing to laugh, and joke. We found this out quickly!

    I did mostly enjoy the cupcakes, for aesthetic reasons at least. The shop window revealed quite a vast selection of  ‘butter frosting swirled’, ‘glittery’ and ‘ridiculously chocolate-y (in a good way!) cakes, all of which leaving the customer a very strong desire to scoff down some cupcakes fast.

    Elly and I selected 3 to taste test, ‘Red Velvet’, ‘Vanilla Strawberry’, and the ‘Custard Fumble’- I mean, ‘Custard Tumble’, which was a decadent cake from the stores more ‘deluxe’ range, with a debatably difficult to read label in front of the product.

    red velvet, strawberry vanilla & custard tumble

    -So, this spot right here, was initially where I was to have my cupcake review. Though, due to self-consciousness and fear of having the ‘inferior’ review of the two, I have stepped down and given Eliza this position. But in all seriousness, hers was naturally way better than mine, and covered everything awesomely. Thanks! :P

    Eliza teenage friend of the the teenage stepson of The Lone Baker;

    They say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but in the case of The Cupcake Bakery’s window display of all their different styles of cakes, it was hard not to. A good five minutes were spent by Dan and I just looking at and admiring the fancy little treats. The Vanilla Strawberry cupcake, topped with a swirl of icing and pretty pink sugar, and the Red Velvet with its colourful cake and cute-as-a-button, heart-topped icing looked so good I wanted to hang them from a necklace or smear them on a T-shirt, or something equally as unorthodox. While the pièce de résistance of our cupcake quest, the Custard Tumble (or the Custard ‘Fumble’ as I incorrectly read AND ordered) with its miniature mountain of profiteroles and caramel sauce looked so good you wanted to eat it… which I guess was the point.

    vanilla strawberry $3.50

    And the icing and decorations certainly didn't disappoint when it came to eating it; but while the icing didn’t, the cakes themselves did. The Vanilla Strawberry cupcake was a nice enough vanilla buttercake, but its ‘strawberry filling’ was really nothing more than a dollop of strawberry jam on top of the cake- more of which was on my half than on Dan’s. But to be fair, I’m sure The Cupcake Bakery hadn’t anticipated a pair of teenagers buying a bunch of cupcakes and dividing them in half for one another using an expired metcard, and purposely put more on my half.

    metcard; public transport ticket & makeshift cupcake divider

    Who would have known, though, that the quaint little Red Velvet cupcake was meant to be a ‘red coloured chocolate cake’?

    I certainly didn’t. To be honest, I just thought it was ‘red’ flavour at the time, and it wasn’t until a few days later that Dan pointed out to me that it was meant to be chocolate. You couldn’t have picked it. I didn't. The Red Velvet was the only cupcake of the three we tasted that I really had a problem with. Again, my half was fine, but when I tasted some of the larger half that Dan snuck for himself, there was something horribly bitter about it. It was almost as if there was an ingredient that shouldn’t have been there, or the baking soda wasn’t mixed in properly. It didn’t make the whole thing overly appetizing. It did look really cute though.

    inside a red velvet cupcake

    Then there was the Custard ‘Fumble’. This little slab of decadence kind of proved to be a bitch to cut in two using our metcard-knife, and most of the toppings ended up smeared on my leg. Beneath the pile of choux pastry, there was a concealed pool of custard embedded into the top of the cake, which I guess is where the ‘custard’ part of the name comes in. Like all the others, though, the garnishes on the cupcake turned out to be better than the actual cake itself. The ‘vanilla almond buttercake’ was really no different to the vanilla buttercake of the Vanilla Strawberry cupcake, and nothing extremely special. The mini profiteroles and caramel sauce made the $4.50 paid for the cupcake all worthwhile though.

            review & photos; Eliza Nicoll & Daniel Paxton-Zahra

    The Cupcake Bakery can be found at...

    shop GD006, Menzies Lane, Melbourne Central, La Trobe Street, Melbourne


    Australian Women's Weekly Cupcakes

    choc-mint mousse cupcake

    If your an Australian or from the UK you know the Australian Women's Weekly cookbooks with 100's of titles being published over the years & more than likely you own at least one. The prolific publisher produces title after title, some great and some just okay, there are several cupcake books published by AWW but today we are looking at my favourite Australian Women's Weekly Cupcakes.

    Australian Women's Weekly Cupcakes 128 page softcover

    Australian Women's Weekly Cupcakes book, is certainly a mixed bag of tricks, you'll find a recipe for Toffee Tumbles that has you piping 300 (truly!) tiny choux pastry puffs & then a few pages later a recipe with only 4 ingredients for No-bake chocolate cakes.

    Toffee Tumbles, get out your piping bag for these!

    No-bake chocolate cakes, Dan has made these & everyone loved them!

    The book also covers using, embossing and painting fondant (RTR) icing, plus frosting, ganache, toffee & meringue. Recipes flavours range from Banana Caramel Cakes, Fig & Toffee Crowns to Choc-Mint Mousse cupcakes. Some recipes are inexpensive to produce like Lamington Angels, others will cost you more like the Coconut Kisses where you will need 450g (15oz) of Ferrero Raffaelo Balls.

    Christmas snowflakes, embossed & painted fondant

    Whilst there is cakes for the kids, the book does have a lot of what I'd call "dinner party & dessert" cupcakes. Weddings, Christmas and occasions are covered too. With a section on techniques to help you along & a handy conversion chart the small format book packs a lot in within it's pages.

    I like the book for inspiration, I started by making the choc-mint cupcakes page 19 (pictured top), which by the way my husband thinks is the best cupcake I've ever made. I've since taken the technique used & applied it to make my own recipe for frangelico choc-hazelnut mousse cupcakes.

    Recipes can be either be made with cup and spoon or metric weights. As Australian's we do use SR Flour (self raising/rising flour) in recipes, the book tells you how to make your own if you can't get it. Instructions throughout the book are clear and concise. 

    All in all, a different little book from others on the market and well worth getting if you are looking for inspiration, enjoy baking all sorts of cupcakes or an avid cookbook collector!

    Available in Oz from Dymocks, The Bookshelf of Oz

    Amazon US have new and used copies from other merchants here...  Cupcakes   

    Want to see something go terribly wrong from the book?

    Lol, my fault not the books, "When Good Cakes Go Bad!!"