You may or may not have noticed, but last Sunday there appeared to be some sort of… big sporting event. Rugby perhaps, or maybe the world cup? As much as I tend to avoid rugby I did jump at the opportunity to mix and mingle with some good friends and, naturally, good, sport-watching food. While one made gourmet sausage rolls, another made bacon and egg ciabatta sandwiches, and I, after some long hard thinking, made lamingtons.
Why the heck lamingtons? Well the said event happened to involve New Zealand and France. Which got me thinking about traditional NZ and French food. Which led to French desserts. Which of course reminded me of the fact that I have been dying to attempt the traditional French tarte tatin.And perhaps contrast this French sweet treat (I decided on mini tarte tatins) with a traditional New Zealand sweet treat.. you get my drift?
Lamingtons are totally one of those bakery staples. I’m going to admit, I always avoided them, choosing instead the hundreds-and-thousands-coated-gingerbread-men-shaped-biscuits (did anyone else have these at their bakery??). But I had never tried making sponge before (although this isn’t really authentic sponge), so I was totally up for the challenge. J, who was the kid that always chose the lamington, gave these his approval. I definitely enjoyed, and would like to try them again with a real sponge instead.
Recipe from The Antipodean Parisienne
For the cake base:
125 grams butter at room temperature
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup of milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Cream the butter in a bowl with an electric beater until light, then beat in the caster sugar until the grains are no longer visible.
Add the eggs and beat well after each.
Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in gently, then add the milk and vanilla essence and fold to combine.
Pour the mixture into a buttered and floured square slice mold (mine was 21 x 21cm and made really thin cakes, so you may want to either double recipe or use a tin half the size), and cook at 180 deg Celsius for around 15 minutes, or until springy to the touch.
After the cake mix has cooled, cut into small squares about 5cm across.
To make the icing, mix together:
2 cups icing sugar (sifted makes it easier)
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup boiling water
A small knob of butter
Add more water or more icing sugar to attain a compliant consistency so that the icing doesn’t drip immediately off the cakes, or take much spreading to cover.
Pour around half a cup of desiccated coconut into a shallow bowl or plate. (You will probably use around 1 cup of coconut in total but is best not to put it all in at once as the coconut tends to get “dirty” with chocolate.)
Cover each little sponge cake with the chocolate icing then roll in the coconut until each side is covered.
Whip 250 ml of full cream with 1tbsp of icing sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla essence.
Make a slice in each lamington and fill with cream, or spread cream between two lamingtons and pile one on top of the other as I have done. Decorate with fresh berries if you are so lucky, or a dab of jam.
Bundle them up on a beautiful plate and hurry yourself off to share with a friend.