Lamingtons. Lammos. The Aussie classic that is possibly my new favourite cake. If you haven’t tried them before, a Lamington is a square of sponge cake, usually a vanilla Madeira or similar, coated in chocolate icing and then rolled in desiccated coconut. Reports differ on their origin, but the name is generally attributed to Lord Lamington, a former governor of Queensland.
Today, Lamingtons are often sold at Lamington Drives, fundraisers for local charities. Or you can enjoy them at most Antipodean bakeries and really indulge in variations, taking them split and filled with jam and cream. However you eat them, Lamingtons are easy to make, and would be a great one to try decorating with the family – just be ready for the mess!
I baked these in celebration of Australia Day on 26 January. Having family-in-law Down Under, I’m fully aware of both these tasty cakes, and a national day spent relaxing in the hot sunshine. I wanted to try an authentic Australian recipe, so looked first to my book from the Beechworth Bakery, a famous Victoria outlet. Alas, I had a book with no Lamington recipe in it. So, online I went. I was sorely tempted by a recipe from the Aussie baker Dan Lepard, but, in the interests in simplicity, his 5-egg sponge and rich, melted chocolate coating was a little too much for a first timer. Instead, I came across Nigella’s recipe, created for an Australian friend. A firm, plain sponge, dipped in a simple chocolate glace icing seemed the way to go. For my version, I used milk in the sponge, and you could also add a few drops of vanilla essence if wanted.
If you want to have a go at these, here are a few tips from my first foray into Lamingtons.
- Make the sponge ahead, leaving it to cool and firm up. I made mine the day before, cut it into the necessary squares and stored overnight in a sealed box.
- Prepare your decorating station before you get going – it will be messy! I set out a cooling rack over a layer of clingfilm to catch drips and make clear up easier.
- Prepare the chocolate icing in a deep bowl that you can plunge the cake squares into.
- Use two forks to spear each sponge, dip it into the icing, coat evenly and remove any excess before easing onto the cooling rack. Do a few at a time and leave them to drain before moving on to the coconut.
- Use the forks again to pick up the coated sponges and drop them in a wide bowl of desiccated coconut, coating evenly. Leave the sponges to dry well before packing into a tin or box and sealing well.
Because of the all-over icing, the cakes keep pretty well, we’re enjoying the last few now. Enjoy baking!
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, do let me know in the comments! Or why not try another – plenty of breadmaking recipes, hints and tips on my blog.
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