Tuesday, August 14, 2007

SHF #34 - Going Local: Aussie Lamingtons

And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled,
You'll come a waltzing matilda with me.

This month, Sugar High Friday is hosted by The Passionate Cook, and the theme is "Going Local" - that is, a speciality that is local to the region where you live. There are not very many Australian specialities that I can think of, primarily because we have borrowed heavily from the early British settlers for most of our sweet treats. However, one undeniably local sweet treat that is adored by the majority of Aussies is the humble lamington. A lamington, for those of you who may not know, is a small sponge or butter cake in a square or rectangular shape which has been dipped in chocolate icing and then rolled in coconut. Lamingtons may be unfilled, or filled with jam or cream (or both!!).

The history of the lamington is hotly disputed, and you can read about the various stories surrounding the creation of the lamington here and on page 8 of this brochure. Regardless of which of these stories you choose to believe, one thing is fairly certain - the lamington is a Queenslander, just like me! One of the towns in which the lamington was reputed to have been created is in fact my home town, making me feel an even closer affiliation with this very Aussie treat, which is served to new Australians at citizenship ceremonies.

All recipes for lamingtons are very similar, and there are many recipes for lamingtons floating about. The recipe which I used is as follows:

1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/3 cup cornflour
185g unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 lightly beaten eggs
1/2 cup milk
500g icing sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tablespoon butter
2/3 cup milk
3 cups dessicated coconut

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and grease and line a 9 inch square baking tin.

Sift the flours into a bowl, and add the butter, sugar, vanilla, egg and milk. Beat until well combined and increased in volume. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin, and bake for approximately 50 minutes. Cool the cake in the tin for about 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cake has cooled, slice it into 16 squares. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a heatproof bowl or a saucepan and add the butter and milk. Stir the mixture over a saucepan of simmering water until it is smooth and glossy, then remove from the heat. Pour some of the coconut onto a plate. Coat each cake square in icing by dipping it into the icing using two forks or spoons, allow the excess icing to drain off, then roll the dipped cake in coconut. Place each cake on a wire rack until set. (Note: This is a messy process, so have lots of paper lining your work area to catch the drips and mess, and expect some icing to drop off while the lamington sets on the rack.)

The end result is 16 delicious, light, sweet cakes that are crowd pleasers (I took mine to work to share, because one girl and 16 lamingtons is a dangerous combination). Enjoy!

Thanks to Johanna from The Passionate Cook for choosing this great theme for Sugar High Friday. I look forward to seeing the global round up!


thepassionatecook said...

wonderful... my Mum used to make these ever since we had an Australian exchange student with us 15 years ago. I love them. thank you so much for your contribution!

Elle said...

We had these in Sydney a few years ago, but your recipe sounds better. They really are a treat, but I agree that 16 should be shared.

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Johanna and Elle. Whatever the origins of the humble lamington, we love them here in Oz.

Kit said...

I've always wanted to know what Lamingtons are ever since reading my children Possum Magic. Thanks for sharing the recipe - they sound delicious!

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Kit - and Possum Magic is a great book!