So what do you get when you take a sponge cake, chop it into squares, smother them in thick glossy chocolate icing then give them a good dredging in dessicated coconut?
Why, a wonderful treat known as the lamington, of course!
Much like the humble pavlova, the lamington’s origins are contested – this time, not just between Australia and New Zealand (and really, what would our relationship be without a little healthy competition ;)), but with the Scottish also putting up their hands for a claim on this little cake. In the end, regardless of where they originated from, they are just sinful little morsels that are a well known treat here – in fact, it’s common for schools to hold lamington drives as fundraisers, tables and tables covered in these speckled treats being sold and many goofy chocolate and coconut coated grins running round around them.
To make these, a soft yet slightly dense sponge is either just cut into squares or rectangles that are sandwiched with a little strawberry or raspberry jam, then dipped into a shiny chocolate icing which is meant to verge on tooth-achingly sweet (though admittedly I don’t like my sweets quite that much, and reduced the sugar so it’s more chocolatey than sweet). After they’ve been iced, you roll them around and around in dessicated coconut till they’re completely coated and once they’re dried a bit, sit down to enjoy a piece or two.
It sounds like a fairly simple procedure, but there is a bit of effort required. For instance, you cannot just dip these sponges into the chocolate icing as losing crumbs into the icing makes it clump up. The best way to ice these is to spear them with a fork and gently spoon icing over them till they’re completely coated, then balance them on the edge of the bowl so that the excess icing drips off. You also need to keep an eye on the consistency of the chocolate – too hot/thin and it won’t coat the sponge properly, yet too thick and it will be impossible to toss through the coconut and take forever to dry. It will take a few tries to get it right, but all this means is that the mistakes can be enjoyed straight away
So, if you’re looking for something to make for the kid’s school’s bake sale, or just for a fun little cake to share amongst friends, consider the humble lamington. Not the fanciest of desserts, but it’ll put a nice chocolately smile on your dial
(Makes approx 16-20, from Bill Granger’s “Every Day“)
150g caster sugar
200g self-raising flour
30g butter, melted and cooled
3 tbsp hot water
300g pure icing sugar
200g dark chocolate, chopped
15g unsalted butter
375g dessicated coconut
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, and lightly grease and line the base of a 18cm x 28cm tin with baking paper.
2. To make the cake, beat the eggs for about 5 mins with an electric beater till they are light and fluffy, then gradually add the sugar and continue to beat till the mixture is thick and the sugar has dissolved. Sift in the flour and fold in lightly, then add the butter and water and stir gently to combine. Pour into the tin and bake for 30 mins or till lighty golden on top and a skewer comes out clean (be sure not to overbake!)
3. To make the chocolate icing, put the sugar, dark chocolate, butter and milk into a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir till melted and well combined.
4. Cut the cooled sponge into 16 squares (or however many float your boat) and pour the coconut into a bowl. Skewer each sponge with a fork and coat with the chocolate (making sure it’s completely covered) then let the excess drip off before tossing through the coconut and placing on piece of baking paper to dry completely.
[tags] antipodean, cakes, dessert, chocolate, sweets, recipes[/tags]