One of the pleasures I have when I am not commuting is the joy of making something in the kitchen. There’s nothing like producing a wonderful meal, or trying some new recipe and the result is a tangible, tasty dish that is so different to software.
This weekend I found some time to whip up a batch of lamingtons. They were destined for our “Pot Luck Lunch” tomorrow where everyone is going to bring something “native” from their home country.
I had planned on making Pavlova, but then my colleague from New Zealand said they’re apparently a kiwi-dish, and she had already planned to make it. Oh well.
The difficult thing about making Lamingtons is that it’s a bit labourious to make. I had planned on taking the shortcut and buying a prepared sponge cake, but imagine my surprise (and joint disappointment about more work ahead) when I found that none of the supermarkets near me sold plain old sponge cake. Yes, you could get a plain madeira cake, or a “Jamaican” fruit cake, or any of the final prepared “birthday” cakes all covered in icing and cream. Nope to the plain old sponge cake. Oh well.
I used the following recipe for the sponge cake after looking around and deciding I didn’t want a particularly eggy-tasty sponge cake.
- 2 eggs
- 125g butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups self-raising flour
- 1/2 cup milk
Making it was pretty straight forward. Cream the butter and sugar, and slowly add the eggs one by one. Mix in the vanilla and fold in the first cup of flour before folding in the second cup of flour and milk. Pour into a sponge cake (I used a long tray) and bake in a pre-heated 180oC oven until cooked through. If you’re using a square tin, it’s supposed to be 30 minutes, but I used a thinner tray so it took less than 20 in a fan forced oven.
The next part to Lamingtons are preparing the icing and the coconut. I used this recipe, but have to admit it turned out a little bit too rich.
- 500g icing sugar
- 200g dark chocolate (60% or 70%)
- 15g butter
- 1/2 cup milk
This was pretty easy. Basically mix it all together on a bain-marie (i.e. bowl over boiling water) until it all melts. I found this icing much too thick, so I ended up watering it down with a lot more milk.
Now came the terribly messy part.
First, I cut the sponge in half and then spread some strawberry jam between each item. My first few attempts to coat them turned out to be rather disastrous with cake crumbs, chocolate and coconut everywhere. A bit of searching on the internet and people recommended putting the cake in the freezer. Apparently leaving the cake overnight would have also helped make it easier to deal with. Five or ten minutes into the freezer and the pieces were much easier to handle.
Using two forks, I dipped the sponge sandwiches into the chocolate sauce. I held them up letting the excessive drip off, before dunking them into a bowl of desiccated coconut. Using two spoons to press the coconut into the icing, I found that was a bit cleaner than using my hands (as recommended by many recipes). I let them dry out a bit on a rack before putting them into an airtight container for storage.
Messy, enjoyable but probably not something I’d try all the time.