Monday, 10 October 2011

An Australian Classic


I was flicking through a baking book I picked up from the library and saw this recipe for Lamingtons, which took me straight back to 10 years ago (oh God, has it really been that long?) when I did my tour of duty of Australia.  I spent the most amazing carefree year there and although I wouldn’t go as far as to say I found myself in Australia (I mean, does anybody actually say that?!) but it definitely made me more independent, confident and ready to take the odd risk or two.  You gotta hand it to the Aussies for just living each day.

What does that have to do with Lamingtons, I hear you say?  You’re quite right, it has nothing to do with them.  Anyway, library book..........Lamingtons...........Australia.   Lamingtons are sponge cake squares covered in a chocolate icing and dipped in desiccated coconut.  They’re almost as much an Australian stereotype as vegemite or Bondi Beach.  I haven’t made them in years and forgot how good they taste.

Lamingtons - from “Good Housekeeping Easy to Bake Cakes and Bakes”
Ingredients (for the sponge)
125g (4oz) butter, softened
125g golden caster sugar
2 medium eggs
125g (4oz) self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients (for the topping)
200g (7oz) icing sugar
50g (2oz) cocoa powder
25g (1oz) unsalted butter
5 tbsp milk
200g (7oz) desiccated coconut

Preheat the oven to 180C (Gas Mark 4).  Grease and line a 15cm cake tin.
Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and vanilla extract into a bowl and beat with an electric whisk until creamy. 
Turn the mixture onto the prepared tin and level the surface.  Bake for about 30 mins until just firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clean.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Wrap and store, preferably overnight so that the cake is easier to slice.
To make the topping, sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl.  Put the butter and milk into a small saucepan and heat until the butter has melted.  Pour over the icing sugar / cocoa and stir until smooth, adding 2-3 tbsp water so that the icing coats the back of a spoon.
Scatter the coconut onto a plate.  Cut the cake into 16 squares.  Pierce each square of cake through the top and dip into the icing until all sides are just coated, then roll in the coconut and transfer to a plate.
Leave to set for a couple of hours before serving.

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