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.
What’s absolutely super about this recipe (well… I’ve given two recipes here, but I’ll explain that in a mo), 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!
Okay, so onto explaining why on earth I’m offering two recipes. Well… the first one is the one The Daring Kitchen provided; the second one (the alternative recipe) is actually the one I used. Why did I go and make life complicated? It’s because I was looking at another raspberry lamington recipe online and in the reviewer’s comments below it, I noted a very bold statement from a blogger saying that the recipe he used (which he duly noted) was THE BEST recipe out there! How could I possibly resist?
So, despite minimal instructions, I characteristically plunged in and well… as you can see from the images, the results were indeed fabulous. The issue with the recipe though was that I had to do a fair bit of guesswork and a few adaptations and I’m not really confident about recommending it – the only reason I’ve included it is that I’d like to try it again, so it’s a record for me really. But, if you like the look of it (and basically the big difference is that it beats the egg whites separately), give it a try.
Right, with that painfully long explanation out of the way, all that’s left to say is… 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.
For the sponge:
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup (225g) (8 oz) castor (superfine) sugar
- Pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups (200g) (7 oz) cornflour (cornstarch)
- 1 ½ teaspoons (8g) baking powder
- 1 tablespoon (15g) (½ oz) butter, melted (optional)
For the raspberry coating:
- 1 packet raspberry jelly
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 cups dessicated coconut
- 3/4 cup cream, whipped
For the sponge:
- Preheat oven to moderate 180°C/350°F.
- Prepare a 4 ½ cm (1¾ inch) deep, 23cm x 33cm (9”x 13”) baking pan 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.
- In a stand mixer bowl place eggs, sugar and salt. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high for 15 minutes.
- While the eggs and sugar are beating sift the cornflour and baking powder at least 3 times.
- 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 colour and very foamy.
- Sift flour mixture over the egg mixture. Use a large metal spoon to lightly fold the flour in (be very gentle!). If you are using butter, thoroughly fold it in now but lightly.
- Spread mixture into your prepared pan and smooth out evenly.
- 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.
- Turn the sponge out immediately onto a wire rack to cool and reverse sponge so as not to mark the top. Allow to cool.* 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:
- Make the raspberry jelly by combing 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.
ALTERNATIVE SPONGE RECIPE: (This is the one I used, followed by the raspberry jelly coating recipe above)
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
- 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 and custard powder 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).
- Make the raspberry coating and assemble (see raspberry coating recipe above).
- *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