Lamingtons recipe

Posted on January 29, 2013

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Like many of my fellow Australians, I spent the weekend just past baking lamingtons in a bid to celebrate Australia Day. For any overseas visitors, the lamington is a quintessential Aussie dessert. And unlike the highly contested pavlova, there is no dispute on the lamington’s country of origin. It’s definitely Aussie, supposedly named after its creator and once governor of Queensland, Lord Lamington.

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The humble lamington is a relatively simple sweet, a sponge cake doused in chocolate icing and coated with desiccated coconut. Often, the spongey bit will have a jam layer, sometimes a vanilla cream filling, while the smaller lamington ‘fingers’ tend not to have any filling. There will be many different lamington recipes, including more new age mocha or double chocolate variations. I settled for the one from the Australian Women’s Weekly Bake book. I received it as a birthday present last year and haven’t trialed any recipes from it yet, and how better than to start with this little Aussie treat?

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RECIPE – Lamingtons (makes 16 full sized or 32 bite sized lamingtons)

Original recipe found on page 99, Australian Women’s Weekly (2008), Bake

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 2/3 cup (150g) caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
  • 1/3 cup (50g) self raising flour
  • 1/3 cup (50g) corn flour
  • 4 cups (640g) icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup (50g) cocoa
  • 250mL milk
  • 15g butter, melted
  • 2 cups desiccated coconut

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 20cm x 30cm baking pan and line with baking paper, allowing some overhang along the sides of the pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until thick and creamy. Your eggs should almost triple in volume (this will take approximately 10 minutes).
  3. Gradually beat in sugar a couple of tablespoons at a time.
  4. Sift flours together three times, then gently fold triple sifted flours into egg mixture.
  5. Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan and bake for ~30minutes. The sponge cake is done when an inserted skewer comes out clean or when the cake springs back when gently pressed in the centre. Allow sponge to cool to room temperature.
  6. Meanwhile prepare icing by sifting icing sugar into a large bowl. Stir in milk and butter.
  7. Set the bowl of icing sugar over a medium saucepan of simmering water (ensuring that the base of the bowl does not touch the water). Stir icing until it forms a smooth ‘coating’ consistency. Once the desired consistency is reached, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  8. When the cake has cooled, cut the sponge into 16 even pieces (or 32 small pieces if making lamington fingers). If you wish to have a jam layer in your lamington; slice your pieces in half, spread on a layer of jam and sandwich the two halves together.
  9. Dip the cake into chocolate icing mixture, ensure all sides have even coverage, drain off excess icing then toss sponge into coconut. Most recipes will suggest using a fork for this process, however I prefer using chopsticks. This way I don’t need to spear my sponge and it’s especially useful for turning the lamingtons in the icing and coconut.lamgintons
  10. Place lamingtons on a wire rack to set. These babies are ready to eat in about 15 minutes.IMG_5861

Despite owning quite a few cook books in my collection, this is the first time I’ve featured a recipe from one. And while I adore cook books, most recipes I use tend to be found online from fellow bloggers. In some ways, my experience with this recipe highlights why I prefer using recipes from bloggers rather than following a book. This recipe, as it was written in the book, lacked detail – it didn’t even bother specifying what state the butter should be in when making the icing. Should it be a room temperature or melted? I decided to melt the butter before using it because that just seemed to make more sense. And what is ‘coating consistency’? There was no indication of how long the icing needed to be heated, and honestly, my icing did not really change its consistency all the much when I put it over the double boiler so I’m not sure what the step was meant to achieve. The missing detail wasn’t critical, but it was a little annoying. I thought lesson 101 in cookbook writing was to assume no prior knowledge and be as instructive as possible?

But enough whingeing from me. I still like the book, it’s a nice compilation of recipes and the introduction to baking basics at the start is great. I also really like the fact that the recipes from this book included weights. And generally the recipe above delivered pretty good results; the sponge was light and springy, the icing was chocolatey and my guinea pigs were very happy. However, as I’ve pointed out before, sponges made without any fat (ie. oil or butter) tend to be on the drier side of things. It’s forgivable because in this case, it was masked by the coating of icing, but I think for any future lamington attempts, I will look for another sponge recipe – one that features some fat.

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Posted in: Cakes, MissC cooks, Sweets