Mr P of Delicious Delicious Delicious has once again challenged us to Re-Invent the Lamington. As an Aussie, I believe that it is my civic duty to make a contribution, especially as many of the people who enter this event have never tasted or even heard of a lamington before. And Australia Day is just around the corner on 26 January!
For some more basic information about the lamington, see my earlier post on lamingtons.
The inspiration for my reinvention of the basic lamington, the Chocolate Caramel Lamington, is the Caramello Koala:
The Caramello Koala is a kitschy-cute koala shaped chocolate, filled with flowing caramel, and made by Cadbury:
Although he tastes gorgeous, I won't give you a peek inside because no Caramello Koalas were harmed in the course of making these lamingtons. Instead, I made two slabs of chocolate butter cake:
spread the bottom layer with dulce de leche (or, getting a little less fancy, cooked condensed milk):
and sandwiched the two layers of cake together:
I then let the sandwiched cakes chill in the fridge for around half an hour (because filled cake is mighty slippery), then cut it into cubes:
dipped the cubes in chocolate icing, and rolled them in coconut. And lo, we have chocolate caramel lamingtons:
For intellectual property reasons, I cannot name them after the Caramello Koala or its more adult cousin, Caramello chocolate.
The recipe that I used to make the chocolate butter cake is from the Margaret Fulton Cookbook, which you can find reproduced online here. (I originally tried using cocoa instead of melted chocolate for the chocolate flavouring - this did not give the cake the desired chocolate colouring, so I don't recommend it.) Margaret is an Australian cooking icon, so it is fitting that I used her cake recipe for this very Australian treat. The recipe for the dulce de leche is David Lebovitz's baked version, which you can find here. Baking the condensed milk in the oven spares you from exploding cans and nasty burns from wildly spurting hot caramel, often associated with making dulce de leche on the stovetop.
The icing is just 2 cups of sifted icing sugar, 3 tablespoons of cocoa, 1/2 teaspoon of butter and 3-4 tablespoons of boiling water. You need your icing to be runny enough to dip and coat the cakes, but not so runny that it doesn't stick, so you may need to play with the quantity of water. After dipping the cubed cakes into the icing balanced between two forks (which can then be used to roll the cakes in the icing to coat them), roll the coated cakes in dessicated coconut, which will help to set the icing and give the lamington its characteristic woolly appearance. The forks are also important because they prevent cake crumbs and coconut from being transferred from your fingers into the icing, which causes it to clump. The coconut-coated cakes are then placed on a wire rack to set, which allows the excess icing and coconut to drip off.
Here are the lamingtons with my mate Caramello Koala posing in front: