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Simon Holst's burger and chocolate cake recipes - 6 October

Homemade hamburgers

Super-easy chocolate cake

Homemade Hamburgers

The hamburgers may just be the ultimate sandwich. Not only are they quick and easy to prepare, but they taste great and are popular with children. It sounds clicheed, but hot off your own stove they really are quite different to (and much nicer than) anything you can buy!

For 4 'quarter-pound' burgers
500-600g minced beef
1 cup (2-3 slices bread) soft breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Black pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl, then mix thoroughly (clean hands work best for this). Divide the mixture into 4 balls then flatten these into roundish patties - it doesn't matter if they're not perfectly round.

Grill or barbecue about 20cm from the heat, turning when browned, or, brown on both sides in a hot, lightly oiled frypan, then lower heat and cook until the centre is firm when pressed.

Serve in lightly toasted plain or sesame buns with three or four of the following:

sliced tomato
torn or shredded lettuce (or coleslaw)
sliced cheese
fried egg
red, yellow and green capsicums (raw or roasted)
sauteed mushrooms
sliced gherkins or dill pickles
thinly sliced red onion, crisped by soaking in cold water.
sliced avocado
sliced beetroot
watercress or other fresh herbs
chilli beans and sour cream

Of course no burger is complete without tomato sauce and/or mustard.

Note: You can prepare and shape the hamburger patties in advance and refrigerate them until required.

Super-easy Chocolate Cake

This cake seems to defy a lot of traditional cake-making wisdom, but hey, it works and you get a large, moist cake as a result (or two smaller ones).

For 1 x 22 x 33cm cake or 2 x 21cm round cakes
2 1/2 cups plain flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups warm water
1/2 cup canola or other oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat the oven to 180degC (or 170degC if using fan bake). Non-stick spray and line the cake tin/s with baking paper.

Sift the first five ingredients into a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Pour the runny batter into the pan/s and bake for 30-40 minutes until the centre springs back when pressed gently and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool on a rack before icing with chocolate icing (below).

Chocolate Icing
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp butter
4 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cup icing sugar, sifted

To make the icing, measure the cocoa and butter into a small bowl. Add the boiling water and mix to a paste. Add the vanilla essence and icing sugar and beat until smooth. Adjust the thickness by adding a little extra water or icing sugar if necessary.