I’m back in the kitchen, where I belong. I feel fine. The only thing that remains is a bit of a lingering cough, but other than that, I am back to 100%. My first recipe for you is a big batch of Lamingtons. These were some of my dad’s favorite desserts while growing up. So Daddy, these are for you. I hope you enjoy them, wherever you are.
Lamingtons are a sponge or butter cake dipped in chocolate and covered all over with desiccated coconut. Inside you might find a layer of cream or perhaps even jam, if that’s your… jam. They were originally created in Queensland, Australia around 1896, by the chef of the territory’s 8th Governor, Lord Lamington, to feed unexpected guests. As with many great recipes, they are thought to have been created by accident. Much of the Lamington’s iconic status probably derives from its suitability for the Australian climate, as sponge cake lasted much longer in the heat when it was iced in bite-sized squares and covered in coconut. Their popularity soon grew to cover all of Australia, and obviously they made their way south down to Melbourne, because as I mentioned, they were some of my dad’s favorite desserts. But then again, if it was something sweet, chances are my dad was going to love it. He had a real sweet, sweet tooth. 🙂
Once again, I am learning new things as I share them with you. I originally thought Lamingtons were British in origin, and I thought they made their way to Australia via England. I contacted my friend Karen for her feedback on the jam, but she had no idea what they were and Karen is originally from England. So even though I grew up with Lamingtons, I always thought they were British in origin and not Australian. We all learn something new everyday.
I had always remembered Lamingtons as having either a cream or jam filling, but the recipes I found didn’t call for either, so it had me questioning what I remembered. But, upon further research it turns out I was correct. Not that it really mattered much to me anyway. You should all know by now that I am going to do my own thing and will always add my own personality. I made them with a layer of blackberry jam in the center. Recipes are just guidelines. Creativity comes from expanding upon those guidelines, and that I do all the time. 🙂
Make your sponge cake, filled with either pastry cream, custard or jam, at least one day in advance. Then cover it tightly and store in the refrigerator until ready to dip into the chocolate and coconut. You want the cake to be firm so when you start dipping it, it won’t fall to pieces and become all crumbly. When it is cold and firm, it is much easier to handle and work with. It will also allow the flavors to really pop too.
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
about 1/2 cup of either strawberry, raspberry or blackberry jam, or custard or pastry cream, all of which are optional
Preheat the oven to 350* F or 180* C.
Spray a square cake pan with cooking spray. Because I doubled the recipe, I used a 9×13 baking pan.
Just like with any batter, mix your dry ingredients together and set aside. Then mix your butter and sugar together, and gradually add the eggs and vanilla, mixing in between each addition. Add 1/2 the flour mixture and beat again, then the milk and repeat until everything is incorporated together. Do not overmix or your sponge will be tough and not spongy.
Evenly spread about half the batter in the prepared cake pan, then carefully spread the jam or filling over the batter. Cover the filling with the remaining batter and evenly spread it over the jam to completely cover it.
Place the cake into the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until it is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Allow the cake to cool completely, still in the pan, then cover tightly and refrigerator for at least one day.
Once you are ready to make your Lamingtons, cut the cake into bite-sized squares. I doubled my recipe, so I have a lot, but you will get a goodly amount as it is.
Make your chocolate sauce and fill a bowl with your dried coconut.
3 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup milk
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup melted butter
Line some baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk everything together until smooth and creamy.
Cut your cake into bite-sized squares and completely coat with the chocolate sauce. Shake off the excess, then roll into the coconut and completely coat all sides.
Once all your Lamingtons are coated in both chocolate sauce and coconut, cover again and refrigerate for at least an hour to set. Then share them with friends and enjoy. Good on ya mates, and Aussie, Aussie Oi!!!
Stay safe, stay well and carry on. ‘Til next time.