What does an Aussie take to a 4th of July BBQ?

Fourth of July Pavlova

When I was asked to bring dessert to an Independence Day barbeque, I got really excited, because I haven’t made a red, white and blue dessert before. Finally, now was my chance! I searched Pinterest boards and blogs but there were a few things stopping me from whipping up some of those spectacular examples:

  • There’s nothing more American than apple pie, so guess what was popular… apples – yeah, no thanks. I’d like to be functional this weekend.
  • A flag cake – I don’t have a rectangular cake tin and a round flag would look silly.
  • A bundt cake, covered with white icing and filled with strawberries and raspberries – one of my rules is to never experiment when you’re serving it to someone else.

What could I make that was tried and tested, as well as red, white and blue? A Pavlova, of course. I hope Americans forgive me for using an Aussie dessert.

Using my never-fail (famous last words?) Pavlova recipe, I covered it with whipped coconut cream and berries for an Aussie-fied 4th of July dessert offering.


  1. Castor sugar is 1:1 fructose and glucose, so is low FODMAP. However, too much of any sugar can set some people off, so watch your portion sizes. If you have SIBO, I would steer clear of this dessert.
  2. I have attempted a glucose/dextrose Pav before and it was a complete flop. I guess the way dextrose crystallises differs too much from sucrose.
  3. Egg whites are low FODMAP; I use 50 g (large) eggs.
  4. You can use either potato starch or corn starch, both are low FODMAP. Corn is a grain, so if you use corn starch it will no longer be grain free.
  5. Vanilla extract is low FODMAP, just beware additives that might change this.
  6. White wine vinegar is low FODMAP in 1 tsp. servings.
  7. Coconut cream is low FODMAP in half cup serving sizes. Refrigeration causes the fat and water content to separate, giving you an even richer, creamier and more whippable topping.
  8. Strawberries and blueberries are low FODMAP fruits.



  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 pinch table salt
  • 250 g castor sugar
  • 2 tsp. corn starch or 1 tsp. potato starch
  • 1 tsp. white or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract


  • 400 ml of full cream coconut, refrigerated
  • Red and blue berries, to top. I used strawberries and blueberries.


Let your eggs sit for 30 minutes at room temp to take the chill off, unless you’re working in a warmer environment, in which case I find colder eggs hold stiff peaks better. Separate the egg whites and yolks, store the yolks for use at another time. Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F.

Beat the egg whites and pinch of salt on a low-medium speed for 1 minute, then on a high speed for 3-4 minutes, until they are fluffy. While maintaining a med-high speed, slowly add in the castor sugar until it’s combined, then turn the speed up to maximum for a further minute.

Lift the beaters out of the batter – does the peak formed retain its shape? If yes, add in the starch, white wine vinegar and vanilla extract and mix through on a medium speed for 30 seconds.

Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet covered with baking paper, so that it forms a circle with a 20 cm diameter.

Place it into the oven on the bottom tray and turn the heat down to 150 C/300 F. Bake for 30 minutes, before turning the heat down to 120 C/250 F and baking for a further 45 minutes. Alternatively, if you don’t want to play around with temperatures, you could bake it at 120 C/250 F for 2 hours. When the time is up, let it cool for 15 minutes with the oven door cracked open, before removing it to the bench. I was in a hurry and took mine out too soon, so it cracked and collapsed a little. No worries, though, as we’re covering it with whipped coconut cream, so no one will be the wiser… unless they read this.

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I used Oh She Glows’ instructions on whipping coconut cream. I’ll let you head over there to view her step-by-step photo tutorial but I have to tell you that you need to refrigerate the tin overnight (this is important, as I have done this with a tin refrigerated for only 4 hours and it hadn’t separated enough).


Smother the Pav with whipped coconut cream (or normal whipped cream) and top with blueberries and strawberries (or other blue and red berries) for a patriotic looking 4th of July dessert that is crispy on the outside and marshmallowy soft on the inside.

Now to wait until after dinner to devour it. *Twiddles thumbs.*

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Red Velvet Cupcakes – Fructose Friendly


Red Velvet Cupcakes

So this post is a little belated, I suppose. These babies were made on Valentine’s Day for the Aussie girls who are living in Seattle with me. Well, not with me, with me. But they’re all within a 30 minute drive. Which is awesome.

One of my friends Chath decided she would have a little lunch to properly introduce her new baby, Callum, to his “Seattle Aunties.” He’s such a little spunk!

I’m holding hot property here; everyone wanted a hug

Okay, so you can’t see his cute little face but trust me; he’s a looker. And he pulls the funniest faces when we’re talking. Well, at least his eyes are very expressive. Normally looking at us as if we’re idiots and he was concerned for our mental well-being. But maybe that was just gas…

To the cupcakes! I was a tad skeptical about making red velvet cupcakes, for all they just scream Valentine’s Day. I’d tried one from one of the better-known bakeries in NYC on my 24th birthday and I had been pretty under-whelmed. Dry and not particularly flavourful of anything, which was disappointing because I’d heard so much about them. But I decided to give them a go.

Here’s the recipe I followed, from BigOven’s website http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/207947/red-velvet-cupcakes and altered to be GF and to have a LOT less red food dye… because we all know how great red 40 is for you 😉

Red Velvet Cupcakes:

  • 3 1/2 cups GF plain flour
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 3/4 cups/1 stick softened unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups castor sugar
  • 3 eggs at room temperature*
  • 2 tbsp. red food colour (3 if you really feel like it)
  • 6 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. bicarb soda

* It’s always good to work with room temperature eggs.

Preheat your oven to 350 F/180 C. Either grease your cupcake pans or place patty pans in them for 24 cupcakes.

Sift the flour, xantham gum and cocoa powder into a bowl, then set aside for later.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer, until they’re smooth and fluffy – this should take a few minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well. Then add the red food dye and vanilla.

Stir the salt into the buttermilk then add it into the batter, alternating in thirds with the flour. Ensure that the batter is well combined but do not over-beat it. Separately, mix the white wine vinegar and bicarb soda in a small bowl and then add it to the batter and incorporate well. The batter should be smooth.

Pour the batter evenly among the prepared pans and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, swapping pans on the top and bottom shelves half way through. When a tester comes out clean, they are done. Let them cool for 5-10 minutes before you finish cooling them on a rack.

I ended up with leftover batter so I filled a ramekin and baked that too

Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 16 oz/450 g cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp. softened unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 9 oz/250 g icing sugar (more or less to your personal taste)

This makes enough icing to put generous servings on top of the cupcakes if you’d like; I normally end up with half of the mixture left over… you don’t hear me complaining!

Nellie approves of the cream cheese wrappers;
she even dropped her bunny to get a taste

Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of your stand mixer and beat until combined and smooth.

Gradually add the icing sugar and beat it into the icing until you have reached the sweetness level that is right for you. You can add more or less than the amount I gave, that is just a guideline and I usually go by taste and not by weight at all.

You can either mound the icing onto the cupcakes and spread with a spatula or using a piping kit to ice them.


As you can see, I’m pretty terrible with the piping kit and I still need lots of practice. If anybody out there has tips or tricks they’d like to share I’d be very grateful. That’s why I normally go for the “rustic” look and just dust them with icing sugar (as above). My secret is out! Although I suppose the benefit is way less calories.

Sprinkle with red crystals, cut out red fondant love hearts, do whatever you’d like. It will all look pretty.

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I can’t vouch for red velvet cupcakes in general but I have to say that this particular version blew my previous bad experience away. They were moist, chocolate-y and had just the right amount of fluff to the cake’s texture. Add on the cream cheese icing (my second favourite icing, behind the all time best icing ever, passion fruit cream cheese icing) and you have a pretty bloody awesome combination.

Just try not to eat them all in three days.