Recipe: Make one of our Australian-inspired bakes

PUBLISHED: 10:06 10 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:06 10 July 2018

Pavlova trifle  Picture: Archant

Pavlova trifle Picture: Archant


Put a bit of Australian sunshine into your weekend with one of these sweet and colourful Antipodean recipes.

Vovo biscuits and Cherry Ripe brownie bites  Picture: Ella BodsworthVovo biscuits and Cherry Ripe brownie bites Picture: Ella Bodsworth

We’ve gone all Aussie this week!

And to tie in with all things antipodean, what better than some bonza recipes to take you down under? These three sweet bakes wouldn’t have gone amiss at Kylie and Jason’s nuptials and are just the ticket for your summer barbecues.

So skip to it, mate. Let’s get cooking.

Cherry Ripe brownies

(Serves 12-16)

Cherry is one of the most amazing flavours ever. I mean, come on, of all the variations of cola, cherry has to be the best doesn’t it? I like the Fentiman’s one – mostly because it comes in a curious vintage-style bottle which somehow makes you feel like it’s travelled from a soda parlour of yesteryear.

Then there’s coconut ice (which doesn’t really taste of cherry but is pretty damn good). And if you’ve traversed the oceans to Oz, you might have wrapped your chompers around a Cherry Ripe bar. Made by Cadbury, it’s one of the country’s best-loved candy bars and is akin to those little Raspberry Ruffle chocolates you find in jars at the sweet shop – the ones that look a bit posh nestled between the Haribos and coconut mushrooms.

The cherry ripe is a luscious little slice of cherry and coconut heaven, all dense and delightful, smothered in chocolate.

In this recipe I’ve paid homage to it by layering the coconutty goodness over my best ever chocolate brownie. Boy it’s good. But it’s properly sweet, so serve in small pieces. I like it best eaten from the fridge.


For the brownie base:

185g unsalted butter

200g good quality dark chocolate

85g plain white flour

2 large eggs

100g golden caster sugar

175g dark muscovado sugar

40g decent cocoa powder

Decent pinch salt

For the cherry topping:

550g glace cherries, chopped finely in a food processor

120g condensed milk

140g desiccated coconut

2tsps vanilla extract

300g dark chocolate to top


Set the oven to 180C. Slowly melt the butter, chocolate and sugars together for the brownie mix. Allow to cool a little, then mix in the flour and eggs, cocoa and a decent pinch of salt.

Line a brownie pan or medium sized roasting dish (about 27cm by 20cm). Smooth in the mixture and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. You want it to be a bit crackled on top and firm but with a bit of give. When you push a skewer in it should come out with sticky crumbs all over it, but not raw mix. If it needs a bit longer than 30 minutes, give it three to five extra but no more. Allow to cool completely.

For the filling mix together the cherries, condensed milk, coconut and vanilla extract. Spoon over the brownie and level. Set in the fridge for 30 minutes. Melt the dark chocolate and spread over the cake. Allow to set and cut into pieces.

Magical fairy pavlova trifle

(serves 8)

OK, so there’s nothing really magical about this other than it has a dusting of sprinkles and whimsical pink cream on top. Fairy bread (buttered white bread covered in sprinkles) is a rite of passage in Australia. And pavlova is one of Oz’s go-to desserts. I’ve mixed it here with the elements of a British trifle in a kind of mash-up. You’ve got mallow meringue, strawberry jelly, heavenly passionfruit fool, sponge and cream, all heavily disguised as a health food by the generous helping of kiwi, strawberries and passionfruit on top. Oh yum! My advice is not to assemble it until just before serving so all those gooey meringues retain a bit of chew.


For the meringue:

3 large egg whites

175g golden caster sugar

Capful lemon extract

Zest 1 lemon

For the sponge:

2 large eggs

85g caster sugar

30g plain flour

20g cornflower

1/2tsp baking powder

For the fool:

200ml double cream, whipped until thick

200g passionfruit curd

For the strawberry jelly:

300g strawberries (hulled weight)

3 leaves gelatine

Sugar to taste

To top:

400ml double cream, whipped until thick and half coloured pink, sprinkles, fresh kiwi, strawberries and passionfruit


Get the meringue on first. In a very very clean bowl (top tip, give it a wipe with vinegar) whisk the egg whites until they begin to thicken, then add the sugar, spoon by spoon and combine with an electric whisk until stiff, holding peaks and glossy. Add the lemon extract and lemon zest.

Line two baking sheets and spoon a circle of the mix on each. One of about 8ins and one of 5-6ins. Bake at 140C for an hour and leave in the oven (turned off) for another 15 minutes.

For the sponge, separate the eggs. Whisk the egg whites until very thick and holding peaks. Whip the sugar with the egg yolks in another bowl. Fold the egg yolks into the whites. Sift in the cornflour, flower and baking powder and fold gently.

Spoon into an 8ins round tin and bake at 170C for 15 to 20 minutes until risen and golden.

For the jelly, puree the fruit and sieve into a bowl. Weigh the mix – you need exactly 300ml of liquid. Top up with a little water if needed. Add sugar to taste. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 10 minutes and squeeze out. Now warm the strawberry mix (don’t boil) and add the soaked gelatine to melt. Pour into a lined 6ins round tin and allow to set.

Whip the 200ml of double cream and fold through the passionfruit curd.

Whip the 400ml of double cream, add sugar to taste and (if you like) colour half of it pink.

To assemble layer meringue on the bottom, followed by a thin layer of whipped cream, then a layer of sponge and the jelly. Follow with all the passionfruit fool, another layer of meringue and the remaining whipped cream, swirling it into patterns and piling it high. Decorate with chopped kiwi, strawberries and fresh passionfruit and, of course, fairy sprinkles.

Vovo biscuits

(makes 12-16)

An Australian favourite combining crunchy biscuit, fondant icing, raspberry jam and coconut. They’re easy to make and look really very pretty on an afternoon tea table.


175g unsalted butter at room temperature

200g golden caster sugar

2 large eggs

1/2tsp vanilla extract

400g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

Pinch salt

Icing sugar

Pink food colouring

Raspberry jam

Desiccated coconut


Cream the butter and sugar for the biscuits until soft and fluffy. Add the eggs, then the flour, vanilla extract and baking powder. Bring together into a dough and split in half. Wrap each half in clingfilm, flatten slightly and pop in the fridge for half an hour to rest.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C and prepare a couple of baking sheets. On a floured surface roll the dough to about 1/2cm thick and cut out using ridge edged rectangular cookie cutters. Bake for 8-10 minutes until firm and starting to go golden at the edges.

Remove to a rack and allow to cool completely.

Make up some pink icing by mixing icing sugar with a little food colouring and water, drop by drop until smooth and thick. Pipe two rectangles onto each biscuit, leaving a space down the middle and allow to set. Now make a runnier pink icing and flood the areas you’ve piped, still leaving a gap in the middle. Fill the space down the middle with jam, and sprinkle coconut all over.

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