Sunday, January 24, 2010
Re-Inventing the Lamington - Wattle Lamingtons
This month, Mr P of DeliciousDeliciousDelicious is celebrating that Australian icon, the lamington, spurred on by the uninspiring lamingtons that Mr P sampled while on a trip to the fair city of Melbourne. Mr P has laid down the gauntlet and challenged us to re-invent the lamington. The highly sought after prize for the best lamington re-invention is Welsh; namely, a dragon shaped cookie cutter.
Mr P himself has come up with some fabulous variations on the lamington, which you can check out on his blog; in fact, since 16 January, he has been posting a different lamington recipe every day. Cherry Ripe lovers, check out his Cherry Ripe lamingtons from Day One!
After spotting this competition on IMBB, I knew I had to participate - after all, the lamington is an Aussie icon!
My entry in the great Re-inventing the Lamington competition is inspired by Australia's floral emblem - the golden wattle. Fluffy, golden wattle flowers are found in clusters amid silvery green leaves on wattle trees, which you can view in all their glory here. The wattle has inspired poetry, prose and art, having more than a just a symbolic influence on our national psyche. I can remember many delightful Sunday drives in the country as a child, with beautiful wattle trees in full bloom lining the sides of the road.
I wanted my wattle lamingtons to both look and taste like wattle. For the taste aspect, I infused the cake component with ground wattle seed (which incidentally has a flavour reminiscent of coffee):
For the look of the wattle, I combined the fluffy coconut covering normally found on lamingtons with lemon jelly (Aeroplane brand, of course!):
After all, raspberry lamingtons (coated with raspberry jelly) are common in Australia, so why not lamingtons coated with lemon jelly?
The tricky aspect of the wattle lamingtons was the shape. I tried two different techniques. The first involved sandwiching two patty-cake sized sponge cakes together with lemon curd:
The second involved cutting out rounds of sponge:
and sandwiching those together with lemon curd:
From a visual perspective, my original patty-cake idea was more visually accurate, while the larger rounds gave fluffier lamingtons of a more regular size.
The wattle seed infused sponge cakes sandwiched with lemon curd were then coated in lemon jelly:
and rolled in yellow tinted dessicated coconut:
And voila - wattle lamingtons!
My base recipe came from The Australian Women's Weekly Bake, and is as follows:
150g caster sugar 50g cornflour
75g plain flour
1/3 cup self-raising flour
For wattle lamingtons (my additions to the base recipe):
2 teaspoons ground wattle seed
1 packet lemon jelly crystals
2 cups dessicated coconut
yellow liquid food colouring
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. For normal sized lamingtons, grease a 20cm x 30cm baking pan; for the small round lamingtons, also grease 2 x 12 hole patty cake tins. (Make sure you grease your tins well, as the sponge has a tendency to stick.)
Beat the eggs in an electric stand mixer until thick and fluffy. Beat in the sugar in 2-3 increments.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, and carefully fold the sifted flours and wattle seed into the beaten egg mixture. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin (if making patty cakes, only spoon in about 1-2 teaspoons of mixture per hole), and bake in the pre-heated oven until cooked through (~15 minutes for the patty cakes; ~30 minutes for the large cake). Turn the cooked cakes out onto wire racks lined with baking paper to cool.
While the cakes are cooling, prepare the jelly coating by making up the lemon jelly as stated on the packet, and refrigerating for 45 minutes or until the jelly has formed a slurry (ie not still watery, but not yet properly set).
Cut out 3cm rounds of cooled cake (if using the large cake). Sandwich pairs of patty cakes or cake rounds together with lemon curd (I used Stephanie Alexander's recipe to make mine).
Dip the sandwiched cakes into the lemon jelly slurry, so that the outside of the cakes is coated thoroughly, then toss the cakes in dessicated coconut that has been tinted yellow. (To tint the coconut, place 2 cups of it into a plastic freezer bag, add 3-4 drops of liquid yellow food colouring, and rub the coconut around in the bag until a yellow shade is achieved.) Chill the lamingtons to set the jelly coating, and remove from the fridge around 15 minutes prior to serving. Thanks to Mr P for hosting this fun event! Can't wait to see all the other lamington variations - I have enjoyed those that I have seen so far very much.
If you have a yen to reinvent the lamington, you have until 12:00 GMT on Australia Day, 26 January to get your entry in.