The humble Lamington: a squarish piece of sponge cake dipped in chocolate icing and then rolled in desiccated coconut. They can also come with a cream or strawberry jam filling.
The Lamington is a quintessential part of every Australian's childhood, because they are sold at tuck shops (canteens) around the country and they are the most popular treats to sell at school fairs.
Lamingtons are believed to have been named after Charles Cochrane-Baillie, 2nd Baron Lamington, Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901.
Governor Lamington is reputed to have been highly displeased with his name being lent to the little sponge cake due to his rude utterings about them. I won't repeat what he was alleged to have said but let's just say he would have preferred to have been remember for other things.
I found an excellent recipe for Lamingtons on the Joy of Baking website. The sponge cake, which I was a bit apprehensive about making, turned out perfectly. It was light, moist and delicious.
2 cups of flour
2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of sea salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup of room temperature butter
3/4 cup of white sugar
1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup of milk
4 cups of icing sugar
1/3 cup of coco powder
3 tbs of butter
1/2 cup of milk
2 cups of unsweetened desiccated coconut
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Butter an 8 inch square cake tin. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In another bowl, beat the butter until soft with an electric mixer. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs on at a time to the butter/sugar mixture. Beat well after adding each egg.
- Add the vanilla to the mixture and mix well.
- Now, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with flour. For this bit I used a spatula to mix the flour and milk into the butter mixture instead of using the electric mixer to do so.
- Spread the batter into the cake tin and make sure it is evenly spread.
- Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. Test the centre of the cake with a toothpick and make sure it comes out clean.
- Cool the cake in the tin for about 7 minutes and then invert it onto a wire rack. Once the cake has cooled cut it into squares of a desired size and wrap the portions in cling wrap. Pop the cake in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- Now for the icing. Place the icing sugar, cocoa powder, butter and milk in a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
- Stir the mixture until it is smooth but still a bit thick. You don't want the liquid to get too thin otherwise the sponge won't absorb it properly.
- Now it's time to assemble the Lamingtons. Put out some newspaper under wire racks to catch any mess. Place the cake pieces on the racks and have your chocolate icing and coconut ready.
- Quickly coat the sponge cake on all sides in the icing mixture and then gently roll the cake in the coconut.
- Set aside to dry and then gobble them up when nobody is watching.