10 Australian Baking Recipes for the Outdoors

A single small pavlova topped with cream and berries on a blue camping plate.

Australia isn’t famous for its bakeries (but perhaps it should be), because you sure do miss them when living overseas and realize the wide range of simple baked goods that you took for granted.

On my trips home to Australia (currently living in Seattle America) it feels like I’m on a constant bakery crawl as get all the amazing offerings that I miss. It was quite hard to narrow it down to only 10 for this summary post as I get to showcase my childhood favorites.

After a lot of time, trial, and error I have created this list of recipes that I cook while feeling homesick, most are adapted for the outdoors including camping, hiking, picnics, and just traditional backyard BBQ.

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Cheese and Bacon Rolls
  2. 2. Caramel Slice
  3. 3. Pavlova
  4. 4. Boiled Pineapple Fruitcake
  5. 5. ANZAC Biscuits
  6. 6. Rocky Road
  7. 7. Vanilla Slice
  8. 8. Chocolate Apricot Bites 
  9. 9. Lamingtons
  10. 10 Meat Pies

1. Cheese and Bacon Rolls

This is almost always the first baked good I buy when going home to Australia, whether a batch from the local supermarket or one from the local bakery. It took a while to lock down the recipe as it is a light bread which is different from many of the other rolls I make. 

The big thing to get right was the topping, it needs to be a white style cheddar (or Monterey Jack), and the bacon, which actually to get the closest turned out to be using ham.

A basket with cheese and bacon rolls in it sitting on a picnic table.

Camp Oven

Cheese and Bacon Rolls Recipe
Popular in Australia, these cheese and bacon rolls can easily be made at home and taken on your next picnic or day outing. They are savory and tender, with homemade dough. Serve…

by Saffron Hodgson

2. Caramel Slice

Slices, in general, aren’t a thing here, with the closest items here being bars and ‘tray bakes’, so unsurprisingly these are not readily available. There are in some parts of America where caramel shortbread and millionaire shortbread are available, which are similar, but not like the ones of my childhood.

The small touches that make it the Australian versions are three relatively hard-to-get ingredients (depending on where you are) golden syrup, copha, and desiccated coconut.

A close up of a square of caramel slice on a serving platter, with distinct layers of cookies, caramel, and chocolate.

Camp Oven

Chocolate Caramel Slice Recipe
Chocolate caramel slice is a popular Australian bakery item that is great for picnics, packed lunches, and desserts. The firm base gives the softer caramel center and chocolate top support when it…

by Saffron Hodgson

3. Pavlova

Brought up in Australia this is a traditional dessert through summer and even Christmas which is light and served cold, perfect for those hot evenings. I do appreciate however its history is a little murky and there is the possibility that it is actually a New Zealand dessert.

This version is a picnic-style that has individual serves. They can be pre-assembled or brought the components and assembled just before serving. These ones are topped with fresh strawberries although passion fruit is more traditional, again, is one of those hard-to-get items which I use when I can, but alas had none when doing these photos.

Two individual pavlovas with cream and berries sit on colorful camping plates.

Camp Oven

Individual Pavlovas Recipe
Pavlova is a traditional dessert from Australia and New Zealand that is a large meringue-like base filled with cream and topped with fruit. Traditionally the fruit is canned passion fruit. This is…

by Saffron Hodgson

4. Boiled Pineapple Fruitcake

Unlike America where there seems to be an irrational dislike for fruitcakes, often turning up as the trick ingredient in cooking and baking shows, it is still loved and most supermarkets have at least two always readily at hand (dark and light).

This was by far my favorite recipe which is quick and easy to make compared to others where the dried fruit can be too hard or sinks to the bottom. It also features a Queensland stable, pineapple which is a definite Aussie twist to its English ancestors. 

A whole boiled pineapple fruitcake cooling on a rack.

Camp Oven

Boiled Pineapple Fruitcake Recipe
Fruitcakes are one of the longest-lasting cakes, making them a perfect choice for harsh outdoor conditions. This version is an easy boiled pineapple fruitcake recipe that is moist but firm. Fruitcake is…

by Tom Brewer

5. ANZAC Biscuits

To understand these biscuits you first need to understand the acronym ANZAC which stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. This goes on to help explain the simplistic ingredients such as no eggs as this biscuit was often baked and posted to deployed soldiers during World War I, so needs to be able to last long periods of time.

This also answers a modern debate in Australia of whether they should be crispy or soft and chewy. The true traditional versions clearly had to be dry and crisp to last the postage and war storage. These days however there is a wider variety, many of which do contain eggs and are soft and chewy.

This version is based on a recipe published in the early 1900’s around the time of the First World War and what I consider the true traditional version. It was cooked and photographed in a wood-fired oven from the late 1800’s c/o Fort Nisqualli Living History Museum which gracefully allowed me to cook in their period-accurate kitchen.

Three baked ANZAC biscuits rest on a baking sheet.

Camp Oven

Traditional ANZAC Biscuits Recipe
ANZAC stands for Australian New Zealand Army Corps. These oat-based biscuits have a history going back to the First World War and the ANZAC troops. Now they have become a significant element…

by Saffron Hodgson

6. Rocky Road

In traditional Australian style, this has a back story too. It was originally concocted way back when most goods were still being shipped from Europe, so it wasn’t unusual after the long voyages for items to arrive spoiled.

Not to be in a position to waste food, the spoiled confections were encased in a chocolate coating to disguise the taste and sold as a new item. This became so popular it continues to be made today, although the recipes vary wildly to use old candy or showcase other items. The modern version typically consists of nuts, lollies (candy), and/or marshmallows.

Marshmallows, candy, and walnuts are being poured into a bowl containing the chocolate and peanut butter mixture.


Chocolate Rocky Road Recipe
A sweet tooth’s dream, chocolate rocky road is a slice that is packed with marshmallows, nuts, and candy. The whole thing is held together by a chocolate and peanut butter mixture. It…

by Ash Hodgson

7. Vanilla Slice

Filled with a rich firm custard, vanilla slices are a perfect dessert option for a picnic or day outing. Although using a custard filling it is made with cornflour and custard powder rather than the traditional egg method making it both more stable and giving a longer shelflife.

This version uses the traditional puff pastry and simple icing topping from my childhood, but I have noticed that some are becoming more elaborate with different pastries and even coconut toppings on the icing.

A single square serving of vanilla slice sitting on a black camp plate.

Camp Oven

Homemade Vanilla Slice Recipe
A homemade vanilla slice is a wonderfully satisfying baked dessert item perfect for picnics, packed lunches, and day trips. With its layers of puff pastry, cream filling, and white and pink icing,…

by Saffron Hodgson

8. Chocolate Apricot Bites 

Growing up in South Australia it was likely that FruChocs was one of your childhood favorites. A confection produced by local company Robern Menz which started making them 1948. It was also a fun place to visit as you could get anything chocolate coated, and there were a lot of dried fruits and lollies (candy) to choose from. 

For those not familiar with these, they are a cube of fruit paste covered in milk chocolate. FrutChoc inspired, I can taste my childhood favorite in the recipe, but… on getting my hands on the ingredients of the original there are actually a lot of differences such as this being all apricot when the original has more peach than apricot. The other main one being the recipe uses dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. 

Looking into a row of cut apricot bites on a white plate, with a chocolate cookie base, apricot filling, and chocolate drizzle.

Camp Oven

Chocolate Apricot Bites (Fruchocs) Recipe
Super rich in both fruit and chocolate, these tasty chocolate and apricot bites are a sweet treat. Layers of a cookie base, a dense apricot filling, and a chocolate drizzle leave this…

by Saffron Hodgson

9. Lamingtons

Growing up lamingtons were just always there, we made hundreds of them for school fundraisers, but now living out of the country I have to admit it is sort of weird having a cake with icing on all 6 sides. I can’t say that I have run into anything similar on my travels.

They are also not as easy to make as you would think! The key trick is to add the chocolate icing and coconut to the frozen cake, this stops it from falling apart. This took me a surprisingly long time to work out. Reflecting on my childhood we did actually do this but I always just thought it was how the baker delivered the cake… sigh…


Camp Oven

Homemade Lamington Recipe
Perfect for picnics and day hikes, lamingtons are one of my all-time favorite cakes. Probably one of the top 10 iconic Australian foods, I’ve had to create a good recipe so I…

by Saffron Hodgson

10 Meat Pies

Meat pies are an Aussie food institution. They are everywhere from bakeries to supermarkets, street vendors to the corner coffee store. This simple handheld food is the lunch and easy dinner across the country.

Making a really good one however has proven to be a little trickier. This recipe is now my go-to when making an Aussie meat pie. The filling is basic and spot-on to taste. To create a bit more stability the base is a shortcrust pastry while the top is the traditional flaky puff pastry.

They are made in a mini version in a cupcake tray, because living overseas if it is hard to buy premade Aussie meat pies, it is definitely impossible to buy a standard Australian meat pie size tray.

A plate of golden brown meat pies.

Camp Cooking

Mini Meat Pie Recipe
The traditional Aussie meat pie is a great camping option if you have a camp oven. This recipe uses two types of pastry: shortcrust and puff pastry. You can make your own…

by Saffron Hodgson

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About Saffron Hodgson

Outdoor cooking has been Saffron’s passion since she was young, often choosing to go camping and cook hearty meals over fire rather than stay inside, watch TV, and eat take-out. Today she is the driving force of Bush Cooking bringing the skills of cooking outdoors to thousands of people.

Learn more about Saffron Hodgson
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