Today I’m happy to share a recipe of a traditional Australian/ New Zealand sweet treat with you, - a Lamington. It consists of squares of sponge cake coated first in a layer of traditionally chocolate sauce, then in desiccated coconut. Lamingtons are sometimes served as two halves with a layer of cream or jam between. Sounds simple but it is delicious!
It is said that the cakes were named after Lord Lamington who was the Governor of Queensland, Australia in 1896 - 1901. Stories abound as to why the cakes came about. One of them tells of Lord Lamington’s maid-servant accidentally dropping a freshly baked sponge cake into some melted chocolate. Apparently Lord Lamington disliked wastage so he suggested coating the chocolate coated cake in desiccated coconut to avoid messy fingers. A good idea, isn’t it? Some New Zealanders actually like to claim the Lamington as their creation!
However the Lamington came to be, it is now firmly embedded in the Australian culture. Sold in bakeries, cafés, supermarkets, at bake sales and everywhere you expect and don’t.
Blog-checking lines: For the May challenge Marcellina from Marcellina in Cucina dared us to make Lamingtons. An Australian delicacy that is as tasty as it is elegant.
My Lamingtons are light vanilla sponges sandwiched together with a layer of tart cherry jam in between, covered with dark chocolate sauce and coated with desiccated coconut. For plain Lamingtons, I suggest to double the recipe to have a tall squares or rectangles as they won’t be sandwiched together.
The Lamingtons are usually 6-7 cm squares, but I also saw some variations of a rectangle shaped Lamingtons. I made both - 6 cm squares and 3 x 6 cm rectangles. To my liking, I think the rectangles are easier to handle while eating.
It is best to use a day old sponge since the process of slicing the cake into rectangles, icing and rolling in desiccated coconut is much easier. I baked mine in the night and left in the tin on the counter until the next morning.
The recipe makes 8 large 6 cm square sandwich Lamingtons or 18 3 x 6 cm rectangle sandwich Lamingtons.
Recipe by Richard Bertinet
- 125 g/ ½ c/ 4.4 oz caster sugar
- 4 eggs (200 g)
- 1 t vanilla essence
- 125 g/ 1 c/ 4.4 oz all-purpose flour, sifted
- 25 g/ 2 T/ 0.8 oz unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/ 350ºF. Line the base of two 18 cm square cake tins with baking paper. Or you may use just one pan, then just divide the ingredients in half, make the batter, send to the oven and while it’s being baked, prepare the second batch with the remaining ingredients.
Put the sugar and eggs in a heatproof bowl and stir with a whisk, then put the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (don’t let the base of the bowl touch the water). Whisk for for 3-5 min., until the mixture is foamy and has tripled in size.
Take the bowl off the water bath and whisk with a mixer on high speed for another 4-5 min., until the mixture has cooled down and clings easily to the whisk, which will leave ribbon patterns in the mixture as you lift it.
Very gently fold in the flour a little at a time with a metal spoon. You want to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
Then, again very gently, fold in the melted butter.
With a spoon, divide the mixture between the pans and tilt them so that it spreads into the corners.
Bake in the preheated oven for ~20 min. until light golden and the centre is springy to the touch. Take the pans out from the oven. At this point, as I baked the sponges in the night to be used the next morning, I left them in the pans and covered them with a towel.
The next morning, run a butter knife around the edges of the pans and turn the sponges out onto a board. Cut the sponges into 9 6 x 6 cm squares each. If you are making rectangle Lamingtons, cut each square in half to have total of 36 sponge rectangles.
Filling and coating:
- 100 g/ ½ c/ 3.5 oz cherry (or any other) jam
- 300 g dark chocolate
- 4 T icing sugar, sifted
- 4 T milk
- 200 g desiccated coconut
Spread a moderate layer of jam onto a sponge square or rectangle. Sandwich it with another slice. Repeat with the rest of sponges. Place them in the fridge while making the coating.
Melt the dark chocolate over water bath or in a micro (30 sec. with 30 sec. intervals, stirring after each time, until fully melted). Stir in the icing sugar and milk.
Place the desiccated coconut in a shallow bowl.
Dip a sandwiched cake into the chocolate sauce, coating all sides evenly and removing excess with a tip of a teaspoon. Transfer the cake to the bowl with the desiccated coconut and gently toss to evenly coat all sides. Place the Lamington on a wide plate. Repeat with the rest of the cakes. After all are done, refrigerate the Lamingtons for about 1 hour to set the chocolate sauce.
Store Lamingtons in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Or do as many Australians do, in the same
sealed container store in the freezer for a handy treat for unexpected visitors. Lamingtons would last in the freezer for 2-3 months at least. Frozen Lamingtons defrost very quickly. Also many Australians mums will pop a Lamington into their children’s school lunch box for a treat.