Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Daring Bakers: Lamingtons




I joined the Daring Bakers about six years ago, when I first moved to the US. It's such a great idea - home cooks, at all different levels, commit to complete one baking challenge once a month. The idea is that you step out from your own kitchen and in to someone else's, trying someone's grandmother's recipe from the other side of the world, learning how to make things from scratch, and widen your horizons when it comes to flavor and execution. I haven't been active in years, but thought it would be fun to get back into it. So, here it is, the Daring Bakers May Challenge: Lamingtons.



 
Honestly, I had never heard about Lamingtons before this challenge. I've now learned that it's a national Australian dessert, a light corn flour based vanilla sponge cake, that is dipped in a chocolate syrup and then rolled in shredded coconut. It's very simple, but oh so delicious.
 
There are a few variations on this traditional dessert - some people like to have a little strawberry jam or lemon curd in between two layers, others use whipped cream. Since the cornbread, chocolate and shredded coconut are all so sweet, I used some of my home made salted caramel sauce to balance the sweetness. And because, who doesn't think that vanilla, chocolate, caramel and coconut are a match made in heaven? 
 

 
 
I know I many times use the word "easy" when explaining the baking process. Many of you have said that the recipes look complicated, so just to make sure you believe me, I'll show you how easy it is to make these yummy treats. And messy. Be prepared to get your hands dirty!
 
This is an old family recipe from Marcellina in Cucina, and is sure to make your tummy happy.
 

Lamington Sponge Cake
from Marcellina in Cucina
Servings: 24
 
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) castor (superfine) sugar
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups (300 ml) (200 gm) (7 oz) cornflour (cornstarch)
1 ½ teaspoons (8 gm) baking powder
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) butter, melted (optional)
2¾ cups (660 ml) (250 gm) (9 oz) unsweetened desiccated coconut, to assemble


Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. Prepare a 4 ½ cm (1¾ inch) deep, 23cm x 33cm (9”x 13”) baking pan by lining with non-stick paper. I sprayed a little cooking spray between the pan and the parchment paper, to make sure it stayed in place.
  3. In a stand mixer bowl place eggs, sugar and salt. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high for 15 minutes.

4. While the eggs and sugar are beating, sift the corn flour and baking powder at least 3 times.


5. After 15 minutes add vanilla and beat on high for another 5 minutes. The mixture should have at least tripled in size, be light in color and very foamy.


6. Sift flour mixture over the egg mixture. If you are using butter, thoroughly fold it in now but lightly.

 
7. Spread mixture into your prepared pan and smooth out evenly.
 

8. Bake in preheated moderate oven for 22-25 minutes. The sponge will rise quite a lot but then settle back down. Don’t be tempted to open the oven to peak. When baked the sponge will have shrunk very slightly from the sides and should feel springy when pressed gently.

9. Turn the sponge out immediately onto a wire rack to cool and reverse sponge so as not to mark the top. Allow to cool. It is best to keep the cake for a day before making the Lamingtons as the cake will be easier to handle.

     
For the salted caramel recipe, please go to this blog post.


Chocolate icing

3 ¼ cups (780 ml) (400 gm) (14 oz) icing (powdered) sugar
1/3 cup (80 ml) (40 gm) (1-1/3 oz) cocoa powder
1 tablespoon (15 gm) (15 gm) (½ oz) butter, melted
½ to ¾ cup (120 ml to 180 ml) milk


Instructions:

Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a heatproof bowl.


Stir in the butter and ½ cup milk. Set the bowl over a pan of hot water. Stir until icing is smooth adding more milk to thin the icing if needed. I find I need more than ½ cup but not quite ¾ cup of milk.




To assemble the Lamingtons:

Cut the sponge cake into 24 rectangular pieces – 6 across and 4 down. You can trim the crusts to make the square more even. Plus, you just have to make sure it tastes good, right?


Keep the icing over the hot water to keep it melted. Place the shredded coconut in a shallow bowl.


Add the filling and arrange the squares on top of one another.


Dip each piece into the chocolate icing. I used a fork to lift the sponge cake bites.


Allow excess to drip off then toss gently into the coconut. Stand cakes on a wire rack to set, about one hour.


Enjoy!



 


6 comments:

  1. Yes please! Salted caramel lamingtons! I will be making these very soon! Thank you for participating!

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    1. Thank you for hosting, and sharing the recipe!

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  2. These look so delicious! Your photography and site are also so beautiful. Great job!

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    1. Thank you! You can't really go wrong with chocolate and caramel. :)

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  3. What lovely looking Lamingtons, yes I agree with you the Daring Bakers' challenges are so interesting since you learn so much about different recipes and foods from around the world. Marvellous photographs and food settings. And salted caramel is an excellent counterpoint to the sweetness of the icing. Well done. Yours Audax in Sydney Australia.

    Cornstarch makes for extra light sponge since it has no gluten and just captures the air in the structure of the cake. I hope the ones made with corn flour weren't too heavy.

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    1. Thanks Audax! The cake was light and recembled a sponge cake, not dense at all. I was really careful when folding in the flour in the egg mix, so that probably helped! :)

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