Before today, I had never made lamingtons. Does that make me un-Australian? Gosh, I hope not. So I figured that this weekend was a good a time as any to fix that, and have a go at making them for the first time…
Happy Australia Day everyone!
As suggested by my concern about being labelled as un-Australian because I had never made them before, lamingtons are a famous Australian sweet treat. A soft sponge cake, covered in a layer of chocolate icing and rolled in coconut. Now, without going into a history lesson (sorry…I’m a teacher! I’m kinda interested in this kind of stuff…), some accounts say that lamingtons are named after a Governor of Queensland, Lord Lamington. What a cool name! Am I crazy to think that this would be a good name for a cat? Yeah, okay, maybe I am. Or maybe I have watched just a little too much of Glee.
Now, in my family, we like to celebrate special events with food. It’s just how we do things, and I love it. And today was no different that any other day that we celebrate or commemorate. With Australian pop music playing through the tv on the music channel, we all gathered around our outdoor table this afternoon in the warm weather (sorry Northern Hemispherians…not trying to rub it in!) to tuck in to an Aussie BBQ…lamb ribs, lamb chops, beef burgers, potato salad, pasta salad, garden salad, fries, and a big cup full of lemon, lime and bitters. Some well-known Australian favourites, but other cuisines represented too. The perfect lunch to celebrate our beautiful country.
With the clouds starting to turn a little grey (typical Tasmanian weather…all four seasons in one day), we moved onto the comfy couches in the loungeroom to dig into the lamingtons for afternoon tea, accompanied by a cup full of Twinings Australian Afternoon Tea (have you tried this yet?? SO good!). The perfect end to our foodie celebrations.
Recipe from Sweet! 260 Little Slices of Heaven by Sally Wise
125g self-raising flour
For the chocolate coating
375g icing sugar, sifted
1/4 C cocoa powder
2 tsp melted butter
250g desiccated coconut
1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degress Celsius for fan-forced ovens).
2. Grease a 2ocm square cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
3. Beat the eggs for 7 minutes with electric beaters.
4. Gradually add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes more.
5. Fold in the sifted flour with a metal spoon.
6. Meanwhile, place the butter and milk in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
7. Drizzle the combined butter and milk down the inside of the bowl into the egg mixture, and fold in with a metal spoon.
8. Pour into the prepared tin and gently smooth the top.
9. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and the cake starts to pull away from the side of the tin.
10. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
11. The next day, trim the edges from the cake, then cut into 16 even squares with a very sharp knife.
12. To make the chocolate coating, mix the icing sugar, cocoa and butter with enough boiling water to make a thin icing.
13. Place the coconut in a shallow bowl.
14. Dip the squares into the chocolate icing to coat on all sides, then roll in the coconut.
15. Place on a wire rack to set.
TIP! The cake is best made the day before to help prevent it crumbling as it is cut. It can also be frozen overnight, which ensures it will cut into squares cleanly. But don’t worry, if you only have the one day to make them, they will still be delicious! They will just bit a little bit more fiddly when you are trying to cover them. Ah well…all the more chocolate and coconut to lick of your fingers afterwards.
TIP! Sally Wise suggests that when you are covering the lamingtons, hold each square by its ends and roll the sides in the icing, then roll in the coconut to coat. With a knife, spread icing on one end, coat in coconut, turn over and spread the icing on the other end, then coat with the coconut. I went with the good ol’ dunk in the icing and roll straight in the coconut method. I found that if you have either a sink or bowl full of clean water next to you, by washing your hands after the first roll in coconut, it was then easy to roll the chocolate covered cake in the coconut for a second time and achieve an even coating.
Recipe yields 16 lamingtons.
If you have never made these before, or not even heard of them, why not give them a go?! It’s always good fun to make something that your family and friends have never tried before. Who knows? You may even start a lamington craze.