Aussie Lamingtons. Oi!
Food wise, Australia as a nation is known for very few dishes globally, the lamingtons being one of them. I often ate these from a little bakery in Darwin growing up and now I get to watch my 4 year old niece wolfing them down with delight whenever she gets her hands on one. Aussie kids are just in love with em.
However, sitting on the other side of the fence as a cook and not an eater of these lamingtons, I came to realise, the lamingtons is really just a badly executed butter cake left to stale over night. The sponge in its own right would not be worth eating. Having said that, there is a BIG however, in that magic truly does happen when all the elements that is the lamington comes together. From the not so sickeningly rich sponge to the coco coating with the crunchy coconut sprinkling, the lamington has earned its keep in the baker’s collection of must knows.
- 90g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 large eggs (thank you Betty and Penny)
230g plain flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder
A good pinch of salt
- 120ml milk
A knob of unsalted butter (around 2 tablespoons)
250g icing sugar
25g cocoa powder
1 packet dry shredded coconuts
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius on fan forced settings. Line a baking dish with baking paper.
Start by making the sponge cake. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well and set aside.
In a separate large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time beating well, and then add the vanilla essence.
No more electric beaters from here on please. Using a wooden spoon, add a third of the dry ingredients set aside earlier and a third of milk, fold until combine. Repeat until all dry ingredients and milk has been mixed in.
Pour the batter into the lined baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Test that the sponge is cooked through by inserting a skewer and observing that it comes out clean. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes before lifting out onto a cooling rack. Once completely cooled, wrap in aluminium foil and leave to harden overnight. Winter in Adelaide has been painfully cold this year so I just left it on the kitchen bench, otherwise I would normally fridge it.
Cut the cake up in whatever shape you like. Square is usually the convention. I tend to cut some in squares, some in logs and offer up a few varying sizes.
To make the coco coating, nuke the butter and milk in the microwave until the butter has just melted. Do not boil the milk. The butter infused milk should be warm and comfortable to touch. Add to this the coco and icing sugar. Whisk using a balloon whisk to remove any ugly lumps and bumps.
Place the shredded coconut onto the chopping board. I tend to give the coconut shreds a few good chops to make them finer and prettier to coat with. Insert a fork into cake square and spoon over the coco coating while rotating the sponge; this method is far easier than dipping. Let the excess drip off and then working quickly, throw coconut bits over each side of the lamington.
Carefully rest the coated lamingtons on a cooling rack and remove the fork. Touch up the bald coconut patch from removing the fork with some added coconut sprinkling. It’s going to keep dripping so make sure there is something underneath the cooling rack to catch it. Leave to set for about half an hour and then its welcome to Gobbleville, population one because I’m not sharing.