Saturday marks the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign in World War I. A bloody eight month campaign which commenced on April 25, 1915 with the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey. Through its course there were over 25,000 Australian casualties. The selfless courage, determination and mate-ship of our troops created a legend; the ANZAC spirit.
Each year on the anniversary of the Gallipoli landing we honour the bravery of all the men and women who have served our country through war. Tomorrow, to mark this very special centenary year, we’ll be attending a Remembrance Mass and Commemorative Lunch. On Saturday, ever hopeful that the Sydney storms will well and truly be over, we’re planning to attend the Dawn Service at the Centopath in Martin Place. A poignantly beautiful requiem, held at half-light to remember those who had fallen. Ending with a lone bugle call of the Last Post, it never fails to send a shiver down my spine.
Apart from the hundreds of commemorative services which will held across the country, ANZAC day is all about our legendary mate-ship. There’s gatherings and barbecues with family and friends, and perhaps an opportunity to take your chances at a true blue game of two-up at your local pub or club. It’s the only day we can legally bet on the flipping of two coins; a gambling game well favoured by our troops in the trenches.
Each year I’ve marked April 25 with a special ANZAC day post. Of course, there is nothing more traditional than a good, old-fashioned Anzac biscuit. Baked by wives and mothers during World War I, they were packaged up in food parcels and sent to their loved ones in the trenches. So far my posts have involved a re-interpretation of that iconic coconut, oat and golden syrup biscuit; first there were Anzacs filled with a white chocolate ganache and last year, an Anzac Day granola.
Building on those ideas, this year I improvised just a little more to devise an Anzac Day version of yet another well loved, old fashioned Australian dessert – the Chocolate Ripple Cake. I’ve assembled my little Anzac Ripple Cakes using stacks of four biscuits. Brushed with a little tea to ensure a soft cakey texture. Filled with three layers of jam and chocolate buttercream. Smothered in vanilla scented whipped cream. Garnished with a sprinkling of crushed Anzac granola for good measure.
Bake your own Anzac biscuits using the recipe provided or buy them from the bakery or store; it really doesn’t matter. With the biscuits taken care of there’s no baking involved at all. Just a little whipping and careful assembly, with an overnight chill in the refrigerator to allow the cakes to set.
Little Anzac Ripple Cakes
Makes 6 Stacks
24 Anzac biscuits, homemade (recipe here) or shop bought
1/2 cup strong black tea
1 cup raspberry jam
1 1/2 cups chocolate buttercream, recipe follows
500 ml thickened cream
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
a pinch of xantham gum, to stabilise the cream (optional)
1/4 cup Anzac granola (recipe here), crushed, to decorate
BRUSH each of the Anzac biscuits, on flat side with tea. Set aside.
TAKE a biscuit and spread a teaspoon of raspberry jam over its tea brushed surface. Cover with a generous (heaped teaspoon) layer of chocolate buttercream, then sandwich with another biscuit.
CONTINUE to sandwich biscuits together with layers of jam and chocolate buttercream until you have six stacks; four biscuits high filled with three layers of jam and buttercream. Do not spread jam and buttercream on the top layer – this will be covered with whipped cream.
USING an electric mixer, whip together cream, sugar, vanilla and xantham gum (if using) until soft peaks form. Xantham gum stabilises the cream, making it much easier to spread.
COVER the sides and top of each filled Anzac biscuit stack with cream, using a palette knife to smooth the edges.
PLACE cakes in a deep lidded container and refrigerate overnight to set.
JUST before serving, remove from refrigerator and dust the cakes with crushed Anzac granola.
Chocolate Buttercream Filling
60g butter, at room temperature, diced
225g (1 1/2 cups) pure icing sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon milk
100g milk chocolate, melted, cooled
BEAT butter in a medium bowl on high speed for at least 5 minutes until pale and creamy.
GRADUALLY add icing sugar and milk, continuing to beat until mixture is smooth and fluffy.
FOLD in cooled chocolate until just combined.