Instead of moaning about how I don't get a white Christmas this year, I'll design one.
If I can make my food look like snow then that's a start, or something.. right?
Not only do Lamingtons look like a snow storm, but they are purely Australian too!
These are quite a delicious treat and I've taken a liking to them in the time I've been here. They're actually a great way to use up day-old cake, and in fact that's exactly how they came about.
Old sponge cake was recycled by coating it on all sides with icing and then rolling in coconut. Covering it completely with icing prevents it from drying out much more.
Let's be completely honest though, when do I ever have left-over cake? Exactly.
I make sponges just to make lamingtons rather than wait for old stuff to come around (because I'd be waiting forever).
Unfortunately, most recipes I've come across are actually quite bland in the sponge and then overly sweet in the icing leaving nothing much to be desired. I feel like this is one of those times where the concept was great, but the execution failed. It's like Hawaiian pizza. FAIL.
But because I want to eat great lamingtions (and I want you to eat great lamingtons), I have created a traditional yet tasty recipe for you.
You can use sponge cake or butter cake, but I've gone the authentic route with a traditional sponge - eggy, sturdy and open-textured.
The trick to a great sponge is to beat those eggs until nearly white. If you think you've beaten them enough, beat them 30 seconds longer! Sugar helps to stabilize the egg foam by holding onto the water between the protein film, and helps to bring proteins closer together so that they can form a network to trap air bubbles.
Corn starch helps to set the sponge quickly and prevents it from sinking or collapsing as it cools.
I've added a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract (Bourbon is the best) to give it a lovely vanilla custard flavour, and of course, some melted butter to help soften the texture a bit. It's butter, though, so really there's no need to justify.
The trick to a perfect lamington icing is to use solid dark chocolate - not just icing sugar and cocoa. This will give it more body and mouthfeel. It will also temper the sweetness so that it is not cloying. AND salt - don't forget to add salt!
Give it a go. It looks like snow.
Christmas does exist... I'll keep telling myself that when I'm back at the beach.
Snow White Lamingtons
Makes about 16-20 lamingtons
For the sponge:
5 large eggs
1/8 tsp salt
2/3 cup (135 g) sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¾ cup (105 g) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (40 g) corn starch
¼ tsp baking powder
2 tbsp (28 g) melted butter
2-3 cups desiccated coconut
For the icing:
2 ½ cups icing sugar
½ cup plus 1 tbsp (50 g) cocoa powder
2 tbsp (28 g) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup milk
85g/3 oz dark chocolate
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper around all sides.
To make the sponge, place eggs and salt in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat on medium speed for 8 minutes, until thick and creamy.
Meanwhile, sift flour, corn starch and baking powder into a medium bowl. Repeat so that the flour is double sifted and set aside.
Gradually beat sugar into whipped eggs and continue to beat on high for another 2-3 minutes, until sugar is dissolved. Beat in vanilla extract. Sift dry ingredients over the egg mixture in the bowl and fold it in gently until combined. Fold in cooled, melted butter.
Spread batter into prepared pan and bake until golden and cake springs back when pressed, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the icing, sift icing sugar and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Whisk in melted butter and milk until smooth. Place the bowl over a large saucepan of simmering water and stir until mixture is very fluid and sugar feels dissolved. Stir through dark chocolate and salt until melted and smooth.
Cut cooled sponge into 16 or 20 squares, dip squares in icing using two forks to help turn them to coat evenly. Allow excess icing to drip off and then toss squares in coconut to coat on all sides. Place lamingtons on a wire rack to set. Store in an airtight container.