Lamingtons are an iconic Australian dessert, so I thought it was only fitting to make these for Australia Day coming up. It’s a simple dessert of sponge cake, dipped in chocolate and rolled in dessicated coconut, and was named after Lord Lamington who was the Governor of Queensland in the 1890s. Funnily enough, Lord Lamington was reported to have disliked lamingtons, which is quite ironic!
I was never a big fan of lamingtons either. Maybe because the only lamingtons I had ever eaten were the ones out of a packet that you buy from the supermarket. As a kid, I would eat off the chocolate and coconut layer, leaving the spongecake innards behind, but even the chocolate layer wasn’t that satisfying and soon I stopped eating them altogether.
Trying home made lamingtons for the first time was a revelation. There was none of that artificial taste, only a rich chocolate icing encasing a light airy sponge. It’s fair to say that after making these, I ate
a few several in one go… for quality control of course :)
Although lamingtons are usually large, I made these ones bite-sized so you could pop the whole thing in your mouth at once for one delicious, chocolatey mouthful of cake!
Lamingtons (makes about 60 small lamingtons)
adapted from this recipe
For the spongecake:
3 large eggs, at room temperature
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
80g plain flour
2 tsp cornflour
35g melted unsalted butter, at room temperature
or the chocolate icing:
170g chocolate, chopped (I used milk, but you can also use dark chocolate)
40g unsalted butter
220g icing sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (sifted if lumpy)
2 tablespoons boiling water
200g dessicated coconut
1. Sift the cornflour with the plain flour, and set aside.
2. Grease a 23 cm square cake pan and line the bottom with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
3. Whisk the eggs and granulated sugar and salt until thick and the batter forms a well-defined ribbon that remains on top of the batter when you lift the whisk. Stir in the vanilla.
4. Fold the flour and cornflour into the egg mixture by sifting the flour over the top of the beaten eggs while simultaneously folding the flour in using a whisk. Fold in the melted butter until no streaks of butter are visible, but do not overfold.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
6. Make the chocolate icing by melting together the chocolate, butter, and milk in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Remove the bowl from the pan of simmering water when smooth, then whisk in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Whisk two tablespoons of boiling water into the icing. Put the coconut into a shallow baking dish or bowl.
7. When the cake is cool, unmould it onto a cutting board and remove the baking paper. Using a serrated bread knife, trim the sides of the cake. Cut the remaining cake into 2.5cm x 2.5cm squares. Use your hands to dip the square cakes into the chocolate, rolling them around to make sure each side is coated with the chocolate icing, then wipe off any excess on the side of the bowl. Toss them around in the coconut gently to get them coated on all sides.
8. Once iced and tossed in coconut, place the lamingtons on a wire cooling rack and let stand until the icing firms up a bit.