For the May challenge Marcellina from Marcellina in Cucina dared us to make Lamingtons. An Australian delicacy that is as tasty as it is elegant.
Question: Is there anything so good as a fresh lamington? Answer: Absolutely, flippin’ not! For us New Zealanders, lamingtons are about as Kiwi as you can get. The fact that they apparently originated in Aussie is neither here nor there. So when The Daring Kitchen challenged us to make lamingtons, I was stoked.
If you don’t know what lamingtons are (and that’s quite possible if you live outside of Australasia), they’re light-as-air sponge cakes coated in either chocolate icing or raspberry jelly, then rolled in coconut. Interestingly, while Aussies tend to prefer their lamingtons chocolate coated (check them out here), we New Zealanders have always prefers ours coated in raspberry jelly with cream in the middle – not sure why… just always been that way. So, while most of the other Daring Kitchen members went the chocolate route, I stuck to raspberry, the Kiwi favourite.
While The Daring Kitchen provided a recipe (which I previously posted, but have since deleted due to a reader having tried it and declaring it a ‘fail’), I opted to go with another recipe which I discovered quite by accident. Having located a promising recipe, I read through the reviewer’s comments and came upon a very confident statement from someone saying that the recipe he used (which he duly noted) was THE BEST recipe out there! How could I possibly resist?
Despite the reviewer leaving scant details, I characteristically plunged in, doing a bit of guesswork and making a few adaptations along the way. And, lo and behold, the results really were as good as he promised. What’s absolutely super about this recipe is that it’s gluten-free! Yep, no wheat flour in sight, which can’t be said of all lamington recipes. Cornflour (or corn starch) is the flour of choice here and believe me, it makes all the difference!
If you haven’t tried lamingtons before, you are in for a right royal treat. Frankly, I could easily give all other cakes away and just eat lamingtons for the rest of my life… strange, but true. Enjoy! PS: If you’d like to try making Australia’s favourite chocolate lamington version, here’s the link.
Serves: About 18
Ingredients: (This recipe uses metric measurements – click here for Unit Converter)
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup cornflour (corn starch)
- 2 tablespoons custard powder
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
For the raspberry coating:
- 1 packet raspberry jelly
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 cups dessicated coconut
- 3/4 cup cream, whipped
- Preheat oven to moderate 180°C/350°F.
- Prepare a standard lamington or sponge roll tin by greasing and lining with non-stick paper. Note: Lamington pans (or sponge roll pans) come in various sizes – so don’t worry if yours differs a little in terms of measurements. If you don’t have a lamington pan, you can use a square cake pan, but be aware the baking time may change – I used a 20cm (8 inch) deep sided square cake tin which gave me lovely tall lamingtons but took about double the amount of time to bake.
- Sift the baking soda, cornflour, custard powder and cream of tartar three times and set aside.
- Beat egg whites until they reach soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar a tablespoon at a time and beat until the mixture is stiff and no longer gritty. Then add the yolks one at a time and beat for a further two minutes.
- With a large metal spoon, add the sifted dry ingredients and fold in very gently in two batches.
- Transfer the batter into a greased and lined sponge roll tin with deep sides and bake 15-20 mins or until it is lightly golden and springs back when you press the surface lightly. The cake will rise quite high during baking, and then deflate again prior to taking it out – this is normal. If you have the nerve, some bakers recommend dropping the sponge on the bench just after cooking, which apparently prevents the sponge from deflating and keeps it light (I didn’t and they still turned out fine).
- Turn the sponge out onto a wire rack immediately and let it cool completely. Once cool, you can trim the crusts if you think they’re a bit tough and then cut the sponge into approx. 5 cm squares (if you find the cake hard to slice, try putting it briefly into the freezer to firm it up).
For the raspberry coating & assembly:
- Make the raspberry jelly by combining 1 packet of jelly with 1 cup boiling water in a medium sized heat resistant bowl. Allow to cool and partially set, but it should still be pourable.
- Using a couple of forks, dip sponge squares (one at a time) into jelly and set on a wire rack, side by side, so that any excess jelly can drain off.
- Put the coconut into a bowl or dish. Using the two forks again, dip each sponge square into the bowl of coconut and roll around until coated (alternatively, you can hold the lamington above the bowl of coconut and spoon the coconut over it). Put the lamingtons back onto the wire rack to set fully.**
- Cut the lamingtons almost in half and fill with whipped cream. You can even dollop a small amount of raspberry jam in with the cream as well.
- *You can keep the cake for a day before actually making the lamingtons, making the cake not so soft and easier to handle, otherwise freeze it briefly after making to ensure easier cutting.
- **You can store lamingtons (without the cream) in a sealed container in the refrigerator for several days – they actually taste better as the flavours have time to deepen. Lamingtons would last in the freezer for 2 months at least.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Natural lighting