For the May challenge Marcellina from Marcellina in Cucina dared us to make Lamingtons. An Australian delicacy that is as tasty as it is elegant.
It has been great to be back participating with the Daring Bakers, this month is no exception. When the challenge was announced I had no idea what a Lamington was, it sounded more like a Town than a dessert. The classic Australian Lamington is a cube of vanilla sponge cake dipped in chocolate icing then coated with desiccated coconut. Chocolate, coconut and cake, these sound delicious!
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup castor (superfine) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups cornflour (cornstarch)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon butter, melted (optional)
2¾ cups unsweetened desiccated coconut, to assemble
1. Preheat oven to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
2. Prepare a 4 ½ cm (1¾ inch) deep, 23cm x 33cm (9”x 13”) baking pan by lining with non-stick paper
3. In a stand mixer bowl place eggs, sugar and salt. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high for 15 minutes.
4. While the eggs and sugar are beating sift the cornflour and baking powder at least 3 times.
5. After 15 minutes add vanilla and beat on high for another 5 minutes. The mixture should have at least tripled in size, be light in colour and very foamy.
6. Sift flour mixture over the egg mixture.
7. Spread mixture into your prepared pan and smooth out evenly. Bake in preheated moderate oven for 22-25 minutes.
8. The sponge will rise quite a lot but then settle back down. Don’t be tempted to open the oven to peak. I also warn the family to walk gently past the oven! When baked the sponge will have shrunk very slightly from the sides and should feel springy when pressed gently. (Mine was still giggly at 25 minutes. I tried to see if it was springy at 35 minutes but my finger broke though, still wet. Almost an hour later I took it out assuming it was done – had dropped a lot!)
Turn the sponge out immediately onto a wire rack to cool and reverse sponge so as not to mark the top. Allow to cool. It is best to keep the cake for a day before making the Lamingtons as the cake will be easier to handle.
I finished the recipe the next day.
3 ¼ cups icing sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon butter, melted
½ to ¾ cup milk
1. Melt butter in a double boiler
2. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa, add to the melted butter
3. Add ½ cup milk. Stir until icing is smooth adding more milk to thin the icing if needed. I find I need more than ½ cup but not quite ¾ cup of milk.
To assemble the Lamingtons:
1. Cut the sponge cake into 24 rectangular pieces – 6 across and 4 down. To be particular you can trim the crusts. (I cut mine in random sizes)
*Mines ended up with a thin ‘crust like top’. It cracked as soon as you touched it. It was quite crumbly and messy so I removed it
2. Place desiccated coconut in a shallow bowl. I did not have desiccated coconut, just regular shredded. It looked to be a little long compared to most of the pictures I saw of Lamingtons. I just put it into a mini chopper, worked quite well.
3. Keep the icing over the hot water to keep it melted. Dip each piece into the chocolate icing
4. Allow excess to drip off then toss gently into the coconut.
5. Stand cakes on a wire rack to set, about 2 hours.
These were pretty good.
I also made some rolled in Graham crumbs, for those fussy coconut haters! They were good too
Everyone seemed to like them more than I did. They were raving about them.
I quite enjoyed them. I don’t think my cake turned out quite how it should have, as it was very crumbly. The Lamingtons were very light and sweet. I really liked the chocolate icing, it had a texture like the macaroons I make. Actually, now that I think of it, they kind of remind me of that, just a lot more work. They were very piddly and time consuming. It may just have been because my cake was super crumbly, but the dipping process was a messy disaster.
The first couple were ok, then they started to fall apart. Huge crumbs in the chocolate, thank goodness the coconut covered all that up!
Thank you Marcellina, for a wonderful challenge!
Store Lamingtons in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Or do as many Australians do, in the same
sealed container store in the freezer for a handy treat for unexpected visitors. Lamingtons would last in the freezer for 2 months at least. Frozen Lamingtons defrost very quickly. Also many Australians mums will pop a Lamington into their children’s school lunch box for a treat.