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Pelican Waters QLD - Recipes

Lamington Recipe

Lamington is a sponge cake in the shape of a cuboid, coated in a layer of traditionally chocolate icing then desiccated coconut. Lamingtons are sometimes served as two halves with a layer of cream and/or strawberry jam between, and are commonly found in Australasian outlets such as cafes, lunch bars, bakeries, and supermarkets. The raspberry variety is more common in New Zealand, while a lemon variety has been encountered in Australia.

The chocolate coating is a thin mixture, into which cubes of sponge cake (one cookbook states 4 cm per side) are dipped, and the chocolate is absorbed into the outermost layers of the sponge where it sets. (Similarly, the strawberry jam or chocolate icing is absorbed into the sponge.)
The cubes are then covered with coconut and left to set.

They have traditionally been popular as fund raisers for Australian youth groups such as Scouts, Guides and churches to the extent that such fund raisers are called "Lamington drives".

The cake is supplied by commercial bakeries in large slabs and cut into about 40 mm cubes. Teams of volunteers work together, dipping the cake into the chocolate icing and rolling it in the coconut. Generally they are packaged up into one dozen lots for distribution within communities which have been solicited for orders ahead of time. Commercially produced versions are also sold.

Friday 21 July 2006 was designated as National Lamington Day in Australia.

In September 2006, the National Trust of Queensland named the Lamington one of Queensland's favourite icons.

Etymology
The Lamington is named after Charles Cochrane-Baillie, 2nd Baron Lamington, who served as Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901. According to legend, Lamingtons were first served in Toowoomba when Lord Lamington took his entourage to Harlaxton House to escape the steamy heat of Brisbane.

The Lamingtons' chef at Queensland's Government House, Armand Gallad, was called upon at short notice to provide something to feed unexpected guests.

According to the Melbourne Age newspaper, Gallad cut up some left over French vanilla sponge cake baked the day before, dipped the slices in chocolate and set them in coconut (an ingredient not widely used in European cooking at that time). Lady Lamington's guests then asked for the recipe.

Another account claims the dessert resembled the homburg hats favoured by Lord Lamington.  
A further alternative origin is that Lord Lamington's cook, presumably Gallad, accidentally dropped a block of sponge cake into a dish of chocolate. 
Later on it was discovered to be very nice with desiccated coconut sprinkled over the top.
Ironically, Lord Lamington was believed to have hated the dessert that had been named in his honour, referring to them as 
"those bloody poofy woolly biscuits".



Sponge Cake:
2 cups               all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons     baking powder
1/4 teaspoons  salt
1/2 cup              butter, room temperature
3/4 cup              granulated sugar
2 large              eggs
1 teaspoon       pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup              milk
Chocolate Frosting:
4 cups                powdered (confectioners) sugar
1/3 cup               unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons   butter
1/2 cup               milk
2 cups                unsweetened desiccated coconut

Makes 16 (2-inch) Lamington squares.

lamington

Method
Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F. place oven rack to middle position. Either butter or spray the bottom and sides with non-stick cooking spray of an 8-inch square baking dish; set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. 
In another bowl using your electric mixer, beat the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each egg addition.
Add the vanilla extract to the mixture and mix well. Use a spatula to alternately mix in the sifted flour mixture and the milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with flour. 
Spread the batter into the prepared cake dish and smooth the top with a spatula.
Bake approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven. Let the cake cool in the baking dish for approximately 7 minutes and then invert it onto a wire rack to let cool.
Once the cake has cooled, cut it into 16 (2-inch squares) and wrap each square of cake in plastic wrap. Place the cake squares in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (more is better).
Hint: You can also freeze the cake squares. Frozen cake squares are much less crumbly when rolling in the runny icing. You have to work quickly though because they thaw fast.

To prepare the Chocolate Frosting:
Place the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, butter, and milk in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir the mixture until it is smooth and of pouring consistency. Remove from heat.  
NOTE: 
You don't want the liquid to get too thin as the cake won't absorb the frosting properly.

To assemble the Lamingtons:
Place some paper or plastic wrap under the wire racks to catch any dripping frosting.
Place the cake squares on the racks and have your warm Chocolate Frosting and coconut ready. 
NOTE: 
If the frosting starts to set while using, stand bowl in hot water until frosting thins down.
Quickly spoon or ladle the warm Chocolate Frosting over the chocolate squares, and then let the cake drain. Coat each cake square on all sides in the Chocolate Frosting.
NOTE:
It is best to just do a few cake squares as a time.
Using a small knife or spatula, gently roll each coated cake square in the coconut. Repeat with remaining cake squares. Set the cakes aside to dry before serving.

Once the Lamingtons have set, store in an airtight container for several days.
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