For something surprisingly simple, I can't believe I've never made them before. For those of you feeling totally out of the Australian loop, they're a light sponge cake, covered in chocolate icing and rolled in desiccated coconut. And can I tell you, after gobbling through 2 already this morning, they are MILES better than store bought ones. Like there is absolutely no comparison at all.
Just a quick heads up. These are a bit of a messy morning project. This should totally entice you, rather than scare you off. I hope I haven't scared you off. They are amazing and totally worth the coconut in the carpet. The clever tidy you is probably not as messy as me, so you won't have to worry about coconut and chocolate coating everything. And you can be super prepared if you like and make the sponge a day ahead. I know there are lots of organised people out there, unfortunately I'm not one of them.
Many 'experts' suggest you use a complicated fork/skewer manoeuvre for dunking sponge squares into chocolate and then the coconut. I say use your fingers. It's totally easier and may be slightly less hygienic but you'll probably eat half of them yourself, so who really cares about germs anyway. Character building. AND you get to lick your fingers. So it really is a winning situation.
So throw a few shrimps on the barbie, crack open a cold one and Happy Australia Day!
recipe from David Herbert's 'Best Ever Baking Recipes'
makes 16 lamingtons
275g self raising flour
170g castor sugar
pinch of salt
150g unsalted butter, really soft at room temperature
3 free range eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g desiccated coconut
375g icing sugar
40g cocoa powder
30g unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 180ºC, and grease and line the base of a 25x25cm square baking tin.
Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter, eggs, vanilla and milk, and beat in with electric beaters for a few minutes or until the mixture is smooth and easily drops off a spoon.
Tip the mixture into your prepared tin, and smooth the top, making sure it is fairly evenly spread. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Cool for 5 minutes in its tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
In the meantime make the chocolate icing. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder into a large heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water and whisk in the melted butter and the milk. Continue whisking until the icing is smooth and shiny. Remove from the head and set aside.
Pour half the coconut into a large shallow tray. I just used half the coconut at a time, as it tends to get really brown when you keep dropping in bits of chocolate icing as you try to cover each lamington.
Trim the edges off your sponge cake, and cut into 16 even squares. Using whatever method you like dip each sponge into the chocolate icing, letting the excess drip off for a second, then sit in the coconut and gently roll around until each side is completely covered in coconut. Continue with the rest of your sponge. Set onto a wire rack until the icing dries. Will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days. (As if they'll last that long!)