This weekend we are celebrating Australia Day. Sunday January 26 marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet in Sydney. Monday is an official public holiday, so we are enjoying another blissful long weekend. Another perfect excuse for picnics, barbecues and get togethers with friends. This weekend also marks the very last push towards the end of eight leisurely weeks of summer school holidays. Mid next week my little darlings won’t know what’s hit them; with the full onslaught of early morning wake-ups and frenzied timetables of school and extra curricular activities just around the corner. But then again, neither will I.
For the moment I’m not going to worry about that. More pressing is the contemplation of what to cook. I think Australia Day and visions of quintessentially Australian fare spring to mind. Platters of sausage rolls. Perhaps a roast leg of lamb, and let’s not forget a perfect pavlova and plates of lamingtons and jelly cakes. The problem is I have posted all these recipes before (the highlighted links will take you to them) so need to think a little more laterally.
Cruising the beautifully air-conditioned aisles of the supermarket this week (always a welcome diversion in this stifling heat) I was pleasantly surprised to find 50th anniversary packets of Arnott’s Tim Tam biscuits. Quintessentially Australian, Tim Tams have been an indelible part of both my childhood and that of my children. Evoking many pleasant memories.
I’m sure there aren’t too many of us who haven’t attempted a Tim Tam Slam. Almost a rite of passage for generations of Aussies. The childish delight of nibbling off each end of the biscuit to reveal its creamy chocolate centre. Dunking one end into a cup of warm milk, cocoa, tea or, for the more sophisticated and grown up amongst us, coffee. Then sucking hard on the biscuit as if it were a straw to draw up the liquid. At the end of the process, we were left with a deliciously gooey but sodden mess of disintegrated biscuit that needed to be devoured in one bite. Not the most elegant way to eat a biscuit, and probably best attempted in the privacy of your own home if you are over ten years old.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the humble Tim Tam biscuit, and to celebrate being a proud Aussie, I’m making a chocolate Tim Tam Cake this Australia Day weekend. I first came across this recipe in Australian Good Taste magazine last winter. I loved the idea, but as cake decorating really isn’t my forte, I tore out the page, relegating the recipe to the depths my kitchen drawer. Until now. Outrageously decadent this cake looks and tastes exactly like a giant Tim Tam Biscuit, and is guaranteed to strike a chord with the inner child in all of us.
Chocolate Tim Tam Cake
Adapted from Australian Good Taste, July 2013 page 89
Makes one large or two medium sized layer cakes
For The Chocolate Cake
185g butter, at room temperature, chopped
370g (1 3/4 cups) caster sugar
225g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour
75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
80g (3/4 cup) cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
125ml (1/2 cup) milk
125ml (1/2 cup) water
100g (half a packet) Arnott’s Tim Tams, finely chopped (for final assembly)
For The Chocolate Ganache
400g milk chocolate, chopped
300ml carton pouring cream
For The Chocolate Filling
125g butter, at room temperature, chopped
450g (3 cups) pure icing sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons malted milk powder or milo
2 tablespoons milk
200g milk chocolate, melted, cooled
For The Chocolate Cake Layers
PREHEAT oven to 180°C. Grease and line base and sides of two 18 x 27cm (base measurement) slice tins, or two 20cm x 20cm (base measurement) square cake tins.
USE an electric beater to beat butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until just combined.
SIFT over half the combined flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda. Add milk.
USE a metal spoon to fold until just combined. Sift over remaining combined flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda. Add water and fold until just combined.
DIVIDE mixture among pans. Smooth surface.
BAKE for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into centres comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
IF you have used square cake tins, slice each cake in half. This will give you four 10cm x 20cm layers to assemble two TimTam cakes.
For The Ganache
MEANWHILE, to make chocolate ganache, place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring cream just to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat.
POUR cream over chocolate. Stir with a metal spoon until melted and smooth.
PLACE in fridge, stirring often, for 40 minutes until thickened slightly.
For The Chocolate Filling
USE electric beaters to beat butter in a bowl until pale and creamy. Gradually add icing sugar, malted milk powder and milk, in alternating batches, until smooth and combined. With the beater on low, gradually beat in the chocolate until just combined.
To Assemble The Cake
PLACE base cake layer(s) on a wire rack set over a baking tray. Use a palette knife to spread filling over cake. Sprinkle with Tim Tams. Top with remaining cake layer(s). Place in fridge for 30 minutes to set.
POUR ganache over the top of the cake. Use a palette knife to spread ganache over top and sides to cover. Set aside for 30 minutes to set.