After an early lunch with some friends in Melbourne I had some free time in the afternoon. so following up on a friends suggestion I decided to go for tea and a cake at Brunetti's on Lygon Street.
It was a nice sunny day and not too hot so the walk helped work off some of the calories from lunch whilst also giving me a slight appetite for the delights to come.
Brunetti's is a family owned 'Roman Pasticceria' with several locations in Melbourne and even in Singapore. The selection of cakes, gelato and savouries is staggering. glass cabinets line one side of the cafe with an amazing display. The choice was amazing and a visual delight. There were rows and rows of celebration cakes, cannoli eclairs, macarons, gelato and biscuits. All tastes, ages and hunger levels were catered for.
There was even a good selection of mini treats for those like me who couldn't decide what they wanted.
I was at the Lygon Street location in the middle of the week, mid afternoon and there was a queue of at least 10 people before me. Service was quick, but these guys are hugely popular so Saturday lunch times may not be the best time for a visit.
My salted caramel eclair and my mini white chocolate and raspberry opera cake were divine and the range of flavours have inspired me to give eclairs a try at home.
Sadly there were not enough days left in my trip to visit again as I would love to try their gelato, but I guess I can wait until my next trip to Melbourne.
If you live in Melbourne I guess you have already heard of Brunetti's. If you are visiting, why not save some room after lunch or dinner and take a walk here for dessert.
Brunetti - 380 Lygon Street, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia +61 3 9347 2801 Website
Baking is my new hobby. (And quite a good one for the winter months). I don't have a particularly sweet tooth so I'm happily feeding everyone I know with my experiments, usually the family here in CH.
Most people, I am happy to report are quite pleased with this set-up - me randomly showing up with home baked goodies !!
I really enjoy being in the kitchen, music playing, the food processor whiring, the oven blowing out yummy smells and just the chaos that cooking creates.
I've love cooking for people and having people for dinner, so baking was really the next step. Since my desserts had always been a bit 'simple' this has given me a whole new culinary avenue to explore. Before I'd manage maybe a Tiramisu or profiteroles made with ice cream inside - but now I am really enjoying making cakes and 'proper' desserts, and I'm looking forward to trying out some petit fours in the New Year.
I bought some new cook-books and downloaded the Great British Bake Off TV shows which really inspired me to get started.
My first attempt was a chocolate cake with piped roses (in the picture above), then a lemon cake with lemon roses piped on it, followed by cupcakes, fruit torte, chocolate torte, lemon torte, apple strudel and even my own Christmas Stollen. My cookbooks are plastered with post-it's stuck to recipes I want to try next and my cupboards are filled with different types of sugar and food flavourings.
The next big influence was the macaron class I took when I was in London in September.
Both my husband and I love Macarons but it is not easy to find a good one and when you do they are so expensive it really has to be a special occasion to justify the cost. Since the class I've been making them on a weekly basis, much to the pleasure of my husband.
I made them for friends when I was visiting the USA for Thanksgiving and I made a small mountain of them to give to friends and family here in CH instead of Christmas Cookies.
Its been a rough road trying to perfect the technique and also getting the ingredient quantities right when changing the flavours. Everything right down to the oven temperature needs to be spot on... so believe me there have been many mistakes, albeit tasty mistakes, and a fair bit of 'colourful' language, but it has still been fun.
The other thing I want to start making in the New Year is Ice Cream.
I want to eat an ice cream with ingredients that I know, not the E-numbers in the shop bought ones, and also it will be a great use for the left over egg yolks from the macaron making.
Both cooking and baking make me happy, my day is filled with something productive, we eat relatively 'clean' food with very few preservatives. Also there is nothing quite as rewarding as the look on someones face when they taste something (and enjoy) something you have created.
We stumbled on Magnolia Bakery after a trip to the Kangol shop... and what an amazing find..... I'd heard of Magnolia Bakery and have even contemplated buying their cookbook but to be honest we weren't seeking it out so it was a wonderful surprise.
The display was fabulous with lines of beautifully decorated cupcakes and celebration cakes either waiting to be sliced up for customers or waiting to be collected.
We had a strange mixture of food, I had granola and a lemon zest cupcake and my husband had a huge apple pie (eyes bigger than his belly as he couldn't eat it). Everything was scrummy, my lemon zest cake was super light and very lemony.....I'd definitely recommend these guys as a drop in place or to order cakes from for a party.
It was also lovely to be able to watch the cakes wing made and the amazing to see the how quickly they manage to ice a full sized celebration cake....
The only think I wouldn't recommend is the tea. I only had a small cup but the tea bag produced hardly any flavour. Sadly Starbucks do a better peppermint tea than Peets tea.
Magnolia Bakery - 200 Columbus Avenue (at 69th Street) New York City
This was my first attempt at a 'proper' cake and also first attempt at butter icing and piping...... If I can do it - anyone can !! Clearly my presentation needs quite a bit of work as I'm sure it would have Mary Berry hyperventilating, but I was quite pleased with it as a starting place...
You need quite a bit of time as the cake needs to cool down before you attempt to ice it, but as you do it in stages its easy to fit around other things you may be doing around the house wether that be cleaning, watching TV or drinking wine and chatting with friends via SKYPE. As long as you are around to keep an eye on the cake in the oven and to stop people taking a slice before it is iced !! First you need to make the chocolate cake. I make two sponges as I find it easier than cutting and also you have a better chance that they are both cooked evenly.
170g unsalted butter - softened 170g caster sugar
115g flour sifted with 1 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs 55g cocoa powder
pinch of salt
Cream the butter and sugar.
Add a third of the flour and one egg and mix well.
follow this process for the rest of the flour and eggs.
The batter should be smooth, if it is stiff add a splash of water.
Divide the mixture into 2 cake tins and bake for about 25mins at 170/190 C until springy to touch.
While the cake is baking you can make the buttercream icing and fill the icing bag ready...
Turn out and allow to cool before adding the filling.
This is where I cheated - slightly, as I bought the granache for the filling from Tesco's finest range !! You can use a layer of jam and fresh cream or even make more of the buttercream filling and use that. Its really up to you and your taste buds.
The buttercream Icing
50g good quality dark chic 100g unsalted butter softened
200g icing sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract
a little milk
Melt the chic in a bowl over hot water (or a bain Marie if you have one !!)
Beat the butter in a bowl until soft slowly adding the icing sugar.
Add vanilla and beat again.
Fold in the melted choc until fully mixed. If the mixture is too stiff you can add a little milk.
put the cake on the plate it will be served on - as it will be difficult to move later on !!
Using a 'rose' attachment on your piping bag fill the bag with the icing and get to work on decorating the cake. I started on the top and worked my way down the side. Keep a knife to hand incase you make a mistake - you can scoop up the icing and put it back in the piping bag and try again. If you aren't confident the you can always practice on some parchment paper first !!
This cake needs to be stored in a cool place until served.
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