Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Lamingtons - An Australian Treat

Lamingtons are something I read about a while back and have been considering making.  So I watched a few videos and checked out some recipes.  Originating in Australia and named after an erstwhile governor of Queensland, these cakes seem to come in several variations, but all have a cake centre, a chocolate coating and then coconut on the outside.  

Some also have some jam in the middle.  I have even seen some with cream on top.  I decided to make a butter cake, though others use a heavily egg based  sponge cake.  I wanted to make sure my cake was solid enough for dipping in the coating.

Then I had another idea, that was to make a flavour variation, so may be not really a Lamington at all, for some of the cakes.

So I ended up with 8 chocolate and coconut cakes and 8 of my variation which was strawberry jelly(jello) instead of the chocolate.

In the recipe below the cake will make 16 even sized squares, and I give the ingredients for enough of each of the coatings to cover 8 cakes.  If you just want to try the chocolate ones you simply need to double the chocolate icing ingredients.

They are a little bit messy to make, since your hands will get covered in the coating and the coconut, unless you use spoons to do everything.

My chocolate ones turned out just as expected.  The strawberry ones were fine too, in the end, but I did suffer from the eagerness syndrome, wanting to get them coated before the jelly was sufficiently think to coat properly.  This meant that when I first dipped the cakes into the the jelly it simply absorded into the cake.  So I coated them with coconut and then waited for the jelly to become thicker and coated them again.  That meant that the cakes were wet, but after refrigerating they firmed up nicely.  The flavour of strawberry was therefore also in the cake which made them very nice.  But for me the favourite was definitely the chocolate variety.  So the Australians clearly have it right.  

I think that when making the jelly the amount of boiling vs cold water should be varied from what I did for mine, so I have adjusted the recipe to reflect that. With mine I didn't use enough ice cold water, so I had to wait longer for the jelly to start setting.

I believe they are very popular there, particularly on Australia Day.

These cakes are really worth the effort, so give them a try.
Lamingtons - Two variations

                               Lamingtons - Two variations - Video
Ingredients:
  • 200g Plain Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 113 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 200 grams granulated white sugar
  • 2 medium eggs (large in USA)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120 ml milk, at room temperature
Chocolate Icing:
  • 225g icing sugar
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 22g unsalted butter
  • 60ml milk
  • 100g dessicated coconut to coat icing
Strawberry Jelly Coating:
  • 135g packet of strawberry jelly(or equivalent in Jello, to make 3/4 pint)
  • 210 ml boiling water
  • 2200 ml ice cold water
  • 100g dessicated coconut to coat the jelly.
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350.
  2. Grease an 8 inch/20cm square cake tin and line the base with parchment paper ( I also placed two layers of brown paper around the outside of my tin, but this isn't strictly necessary)
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and airy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat in.
  5. Add the vanill extract and beat in.
  6. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together.
  7. Add the dry ingredients, in three separate additions, alternating with half the milk, so flour, milk, flour, milk and then the last of the flour.
  8. Beat to combine and place the batter into the cake tin, levelling it out and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until cooked and a skewer in the centre comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for ten minutes.
  10. Remove from the cake tine and allow to cool completely.
  11. Break the jelly into individual cubes, in a bowl.
  12. Pour the boiling water over the jelly and stir until it has all dissolved.
  13. Pour the ice cold water over it and stir in it.  Set aside to cool and begin to set.
  14. Place the icing sugar, cocoa powder, 22g of butter and 60 ml of milk in a bowl and place onto a saucepan of gently simmering water.  
  15. Stir the mixture until the butter has melted and everything has formed a nice, silky chocolate sauce.
  16. Cut the cake in half, placing one half in the fridge.
  17. Cut the remaining half into 8 equal squares.
  18. For each square dip the top and sides in the chocolate sauce to coat(you can also coat the bottom at this stage, by I did that later)
  19. Coat the square with dessicated coconut and place on a wire rack.
  20. When all 8 are done allow to set a little.
  21. Then turn each one over and coat the bottom with chocolate and then coconut and allow to set firm.
  22. When the jelly has started to set take the remaining half of the cake out of the fridge and cut into 8 equal squares.
  23. Coat with the setting jelly, as you did with the chocolate, and then cover with coconut.
  24. Place in the fridge to allow the jelly to fully set.

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