Lamingtons

Oh boy, once again my curiosity and obsession took hold of me.  I first saw a link on lamingtons on the British Food Network few months ago and I’ve been obsessed since.  British Food Network was gearing up some recipes for the Australia Day (January 26th) and they were showcasing lamingtons.   I kept on telling myself I have enough recipes queued up so I’ll just have to wait.  However, whether the recipe which I’m obsessed about is good or not (that is not the question, do you understand?), once this curiosity sets inside of me I really have to try it out. 

Lamingtons are the trademark dessert/snack of Australia.  Sponge cake is covered with chocolate and coated with desiccated coconut.  You can find plain lamingtons or lamingtons with jam filling or cream filling.  I think it originally started by using old sponge cake (so that they don’t go wasted), but to me it doesn’t make sense.  What is the joy of eating old dried up sponge cake??  Anyway, there’s a history behind this lamington, but I won’t get into it on my blog, you can check it on this link.

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I have searched for good lamington recipes (how do I know if it’s good?  it gets tricky especially if I haven’t had an opportunity to taste certain recipes.  However, I usually go by instinct or looking at the ingredient lists to see if it’ll work or not).  I’ve come across handful of potential recipes, which I think I may try out all of them eventually.  For today’s post I decided to stick to the traditional plain lamingtons.  I chose the recipe that really spoke to me.  I chose Delicious Delicious Delicious for my cake base, and Delicious Delicious Delicious for my chocolate coating.  Well, I’m a month behind the actual Australia Day, but hey, these morsels can be enjoyed anytime, right?

Since the measurements were all in metric, instead of using the online conversion I decided to get my trustworthy scale (brought to the USofA from Japan 26 years ago!!).  After I measured the metric in scale I used my measuring cups and spoons to convert the measurements into the US Standard. 

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Cake base:  Yields 2-8×8 square pans

6 large eggs
3 sticks (375 gm) butter, room temperature
1-1/3 cups (375 gm) granulated sugar
2-1/4 (325 gm) cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon (75 gm) potato or corn starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2-3 Tablespoons of milk (maybe)

Preheat oven to 350F; grease and fit parchment paper in the square cake pans.

Sift the dry ingredients.

Beat the eggs until light and fluffy, gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until sugar dissolves.  Carefully mix in the dry ingredients and add the butter – mix until combined.  You may have to add a splash of milk if the mixture is a bit too thick. 

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Divide the mixture into 2 prepared pans and bake for 25 minutes. 

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Let the cakes cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and invert on the wire rack.  Once the cakes are cooled slice into about 2×2 squares (so, you’ll get 16 squares from each pan). 

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(I tasted the cake and it’s really good by itself!!)

Chocolate Coating: yields enough to coat cake squares from 1 pan; if you want to coat both pans you’ll have to double this recipe.

3 bars (equally close to 300 gm total) high quality dark chocolate (I used mostly 70-80% cacao)
2 Tablespoons liquid honey
1/2 cup heavy cream
1-2 cups desiccated coconut

** Do not get the sweetened coconut shreds, those will not work.  Desiccated coconuts are drier and they look like this:
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Melt the chocolate, honey and heavy cream in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Once melted and stirred until smooth set aside to cool down. 

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Dip the cake squares one by one into the melted chocolate.  I used a wooden skewer to assist me. 

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Coat with coconuts.

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Place them on a wire rack and let the lamingtons cool and dry for about 1-2 hours ( I let them sit for about 2 hours).  This is the hardest part, waiting, waiting, and waiting…
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My opinion: As I said before, the cake is really good by itself!!  What makes it even better is the fact that you are using good dark chocolate to cover this moist cake and coating with desiccated coconut!  I think depending on the cake base and what kind of chocolate you use this lamington can be really sweet.  However, the version I used wasn’t overly sweet, which was appreciated and loved by my family. 

I am very happy I made this and that my curiosity was satiated.  It was well worth the effort!!  This wasn’t difficult to make at all.  However, I don’t know if I’ll make this for my children’s class party or any gatherings where I have to make large quantities.  It does take a little bit of time and by using good quality chocolate this lamington becomes rather expensive.

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