Post number two on the blog and it’s a bit out of order chronologically. My rum balls post was about our second international food day at work and this is actually about the first one we held. It was earlier this year and wanting to do my country proud, I decided to make lamingtons. Lamingtons are a great little Aussie cake. Almost every Australian child grows up having lamingtons with their green cordial for afternoon tea when they get home from school. They consist of small squares of white sponge cake dipped in chocolate icing and rolled in desiccated coconut. Some varieties put a layer of jam or cream in between two layers of sponge cake, but I like the good old plain ones.
Now I had never made lamingtons before and I knew they were a little bit fiddly, but thought I’d be able to handle it. I even purchased a rectangular cake tin especially for the purpose of making this little taste of home. When I told my Kiwi colleague what I was making, she asked if I was going to do some raspberry ones as well. I hadn’t heard of raspberry lamingtons before, but she assured me they were a real thing (in New Zealand maybe!). After looking up how to make them, I thought, why not go the whole nine yards and try them as well.
Luckily for me International Food Day fell on a Friday and I started my lamington prep early in the week, because disaster was just around the corner waiting to get me. My plan was to make the sponge cake first on the Tuesday, leave it overnight, and then do the icing and coconut rolling the next evening. I would have then earned a night off on Thursday before the big day.
Disaster reared it’s ugly head when the recipe I was using called for something like 6 eggs. At the time I thought it was a bit excessive, but I’m a stickler for following the rules, so 6 eggs went into my batter. After cooking for the recommended amount of time, I pulled the cake out of the oven. Not only was it really heavy, it also had hardly risen. My spidey senses realised that this was not what should be coming out of the oven, so I thought I’d try a bit of the cake to see if it at least tasted alright. It didn’t! It was awful, all you could taste were the eggs. So it was very promptly thrown in the bin.
Another recipe was found and although I had to forgo my relaxing night in on the Thursday to complete the lamingtons instead, they turned out great. Our kitchen is not very big. In fact, it’s the size of a shoebox, so I knew it was going to be a bit of a mess by the time I was finished with it, but it really did get put through the wringer, poor kitchen. It was covered in chocolate icing and raspberry jelly, so as much time was spent in the clean-up as in the prep and cooking, but that’s all part of the journey.
The lamingtons were a hit with the workmates and even the Aussies among them thought they tasted pretty good. I feel that I can now call myself a true blue Australian because I have made lamingtons from scratch. and survived the ordeal!
Sorry that the photos aren’t so great in these first few posts. When I made the recipes, I hadn’t even dreamt of setting up a food blog, so the photos were just for my family and friends on Facebook. I am taking more and better photos of my creations now that I’ve set up the blog.
Prep Time: 30 minutes + setting aside overnight
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
125g butter, softened
1 cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups self-raising flour, sifted
½ cup milk
2 cups desiccated coconut
3½ cups icing sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp butter, softened
1 sachet raspberry jelly crystals
½ cup boiling water (for chocolate icing)
2 cups boiling water (for raspberry icing)
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 20cm x 30cm cake tin with baking paper. Combine butter, sugar and vanilla using an electric mixer, until light and fluffy. One at a time, add the eggs, beating well after each one.
- Sift half of the flour over the butter mixture, stirring to combine. Add half the milk and stir to combine. Sift the remaining flour, stirring to combine, and then the remaining milk, again stirring to combine.
- Pour mixture into prepared pan evenly and smooth. Bake for 30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn cake out onto wire rack. Once cooled, wrap in a clean tea towel and set aside overnight.
- To make the chocolate icing: Sift icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl and add the butter and boiling water, stirring until smooth.
- To make the raspberry icing: Make jelly according to directions on packet.
- Cut cake into 15 even pieces. Add coconut to a small bowl. Pick up a piece of cake with a fork and dip into icing of choice, flipping if needed. Allow excess icing to drip off and then roll in coconut. Leave cake to set on a wire rack and repeat with remaining pieces. Allow to set for a couple of hours before serving.
Note: If the chocolate icing is becoming too hard and thick, place it in the microwave for 30 sec-1 min to soften. The raspberry lamingtons will look very pale after dipped in the raspberry jelly, however will darken and look more like icing once set.