Sunday, January 26, 2014

Lamingtons - Australia Day 2014




Happy Australia Day!  You can take the girl out of Australia, but you can't take the Australian out of the girl, so of course I wanted to celebrate. One of the most iconic Australian cakes is the lamington and that is what I wanted to make.



Basically a lamington is a square of sponge cake that is dipped into chocolate icing, and then rolled into desiccated coconut. It is thought to have been named after Lord Lamington, who was the Governor of the state of Queensland in the late 1800's, although there are conflicting stories as to the true origins of this Aussie treat.





I have to say that I am a purist when it comes to lamingtons and I stick to the classic recipe. There are variations including adding a jam filling, or a cream filling, or even both before coating them in chocolate and coconut.  And speaking of chocolate, some prefer to make a ganache to coat the lamingtons, and others like to use shredded coconut - so many variations.  It doesn't stop there either, as you can find recipes for strawberry lamingtons, lemon lamingtons, even a caramel lamington in the shape of Australia.


One trick I picked up while researching recipes was to refrigerate, or even freeze the cake overnight so that when you dip the cake in the chocolate icing you end up with less crumbs falling off. I didn't have room in my freezer for the two cakes, so I just put them in the fridge. It seemed to work quite well, but I want to try the freezer method next time.  Since I like dark chocolate I decided to use Hershey's Special Dark as the cocoa I used, and I loved the deep flavor it gave to the cakes.  Also, you will find that when you coat the chocolate-dipped sponge in the coconut it doesn't take long for it to become moist with the excess chocolate, so make sure you do not put all of the coconut in the bowl at once, but rather one cup at a time and add as needed.  Once I had finished I sprinkled a little more coconut over the top of them and pressed it onto them, just for presentation.





It has been quite a while since I have had a lamington, and making these made me realize how much I miss some of the truly Australian treats, and that I need to make more of them and feature them on my blog.  Hopefully you will come to love them just as much as I do.







Lamingtons

Ingredients
Cake ~
  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 3½ ounces unsalted butter, melted
Icing ~
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2½ ounces butter, melted
  • desiccated coconut, to coat (about 3 cups)
Preparation
Cake ~
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease 2 x 8-inch square baking pans and line the bases with parchment paper, set aside.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder three times, set aside. 
  4. Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 8–10 minutes or until thick, pale and tripled in volume. 
  5. Sift the flour a fourth time over the egg and sugar mixture and gently fold through using a spatula.
  6. Gently fold through the melted butter.
  7. Divide the mixture between the two pans and bake for 25 minutes or until the cakes are springy to touch and come away from the sides of the tins.
  8. Cool on a wire rack, and then refrigerate overnight.
  9. Cut the sponges into 2.3-inch squares - you will get nine from each cake.
Icing ~
  1. In a large bowl sift the powdered sugar and cocoa together.
  2. Add the water, milk and extra butter and whisk until smooth. 
  3. Place the coconut in a medium bowl. 
  4. Using two forks, quickly but gently dip the sponge squares in the icing, turning so that all sides are coated; allow to drip over the bowl for about 10 seconds  to remove excess icing.
  5. Then place in the desiccated coconut and using hands press coconut so that it covers all sides. 
  6. Place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and refrigerate until set. 

Recipe by Donna Hay.



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