Lamingtons are about as Australian as you get. You can tell this because when you type the word lamington it is not recognised as a word and comes up in spell check. As today is Australia Day I thought I’d get all patriotic and bake a bunch of these sweet squares of sponge cake coated in chocolate and coconut. I’d like to say it’s a tradition but to be honest, it’s the first time I’ve had a crack at making them! I’m quite happy with the way they have turned out and I think that’s because I actually followed a tried and tested recipe from the Australian Women’s Weekly. Those ladies sure know how to bake and I find every AWW cake recipe is fool proof (perfect for me!) I did however attempt a different way of coating the squares in chocolate icing which I can attribute to the great Merle Parrish, the old lass from the Country Women’s Association who scored a cookbook deal after being on MasterChef.
Merle is a true blue pearler who knows baking like the back of her hand. When I was on MasterChef All Stars the ladies from the CWA presented us a cake challenge, even though it was the least exciting 90 minutes of my life (I made a butter cake and watched it rise), I picked up a few tricks on how to coat lamingtons in an apparently simpler method. Instead of cutting the sponge cake into squares and coating them in icing individually, you ice each side before cutting them up into squares – genius! It sounds easy peasy, but I still made a ridiculous amount of mess, but then again when do I not? Wishing you all a happy Australia Day celebrating community, friends and fairdinkum food!
2/3 cup (150g) caster sugar
1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
1/4 cup (35g) cornflour
25g soft butter, chopped
1/3 cup (80ml) boiling water
3 cups (270g) desiccated coconutChocolate Icing:
4 2/3 cups (750g) icing sugar mixture
1/2 cup (50g) cocoa powder
20g soft butter
3/4 cup (180ml) milk
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease and flour a 20cm x 30cm lamington pan, line base with baking paper.
7. Cut into lengths about 5cm wide. Ice the cut sides and sprinkle with coconut. Cut each length into cubes. Ice the cut sides and sprinkle with coconut. Leave to set.
8. CHOCOLATE ICING: Meanwhile, sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a large heatproof bowl; add the butter and milk; stir over a medium saucepan of simmering water until icing is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Divide icing mixture into 2 small bowls.
- Sponges have a reputation for being difficult to make, but are actually quite simple if you have a good electric mixer and a light hand.
- Have the eggs at room temperature before you begin beating.
- Beating the eggs in a deep bowl, rather than a wide, shallow one, will give maximum volume.
- Gentle folding in of the flour and water is important; heavy handling equals a heavy cake.
- Use the kitchen tool you feel most comfortable with. Some people prefer a large metal spoon, some a rubber spatula. We prefer a large balloon whisk to fold through without deflating the mixture.
- If all else fails, a packaged sponge mix, baked in a lamington pan, can also be used.