So firstly, I want to mention that my spell check is not recognising the word ‘lamington’ – and keeps changing it to ‘laming ton’ (what the?) – which perhaps says something about this being an Australian-centric treat. It seems that there is not a definitive record of how the humble lamington came to be. According to Wikipedia, there are various tales of it’s beginning. One retelling is that lamingtons were created by Armand Gallad, chef at Queenland’s Government House (under the leadership of Governor Lord Lamington), who was faced with unexpected guests to feed in 1901. He cut up some left over vanilla sponge (hence the use of day old sponge), dipped it in chocolate and set it in coconut. Apparently, Lady Lamington’s guests like it so much they asked for the recipe. Another story states that the lamington was an accidental creation and, much like the invention of the french fry, was a result of accidentally dropping a block of sponge cake into chocolate and the addition of the coconut came later. Funnily enough, it was reported that Lord Lamington, the humble lamington’s namesake, did not like them – baffling right? I mean cake with chocolate and coconut, what’s not to like? He reportedly called them “loody poofy woolly biscuits”. Apparently, recipe was first published in 1902 and the earliest reference to the naming of the cake was in 1933. Traditionally, lamingtons are cubes of sponge, dipped in a chocolate coating and then coated in desiccated coconut. Mine are a little different (and I apologise to all the purists out there).
The recipe I used has been adapted from http://gourmettraveller.com.au/lamingtons.htm. I chose this recipe over others because it uses a chocolate ganache chocolate coating rather then a cocoa and sugar mix – I figured that a ganache coating would certainly be a better (read as: ‘decadent’) lamington. The sponge was just the right texture and density, and the chocolate ganache worked a treat!
As mentioned above, my lamingtons are a little different from the traditional ones. Primarily, the pastel colour is very different to the usual dark chocolate, and was chosen because these lamingtons were for a baby shower. I cannot claim creative genius for using pastel colours as I have seen similar lamingtons before in cafes, however, I will claim credit for choosing to flavour them – Rose, Lemon, Blueberry and Vanilla (since I had four colours). It is interesting to see how people favour the different flavours – I personally liked the rose (yes, yes, I am very predictable). Can you guess what I liked best? That these were so very pretty…
250g castor sugar
250g plain flour
30g unsalted butter, melted
1 pkt shredded coconut
1 pkt flaked coconut
Chocolate ganache coating:
600g white chocolate, coarsely chopped
300g pouring cream
Flavours (and colours):
Rose – 1 tsp rosewater and 3 drops red food colouring
Lemon – 1 tsp lemon essence, the zest of one lemon and 3 drops yellow food colouring
Blueberry – 1 tsp blueberry juice and 3 drops blue food colouring [next time I would put more juice as you really couldn’t taste it]
Vanilla – 1 tsp vanilla extract and 3 drops green food colouring
1. Preheat oven to 190C. Whisk eggs and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water for 5-10 minutes or until warm (about 40C), pale and frothy. Transfer to an electric mixer and whisk on high speed for 10 minutes or until mixture has tripled in volume. Gently fold in plain flour in batches. Just before adding the last of the flour, fold through melted butter. Divide batter between 2 lightly greased and base-lined 20cm square cake pans. Bake in centre of oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer withdraws clean. Stand in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then turn out onto racks and cool completely.
2. For chocolate ganache coating, combine chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. When chocolate begins to melt, stir gently until combined and smooth. Separate into four portions, mix in the flavours and colours – one flavour combo per portion – and set aside in a warm place.
3. Combine the two types of coconut and scatter over a tray. Cut each sponge into sixteen 5cm squares. Using 2 forks, dip each square into the ganache and shake to remove excess. (If chocolate starts to thicken, place bowl over gently simmering water to thin.) Roll each square in coconut, shake off excess and place on a wire rack (sitting over a tray). Stand for at least 1 hour or until chocolate sets. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 3 days.