Lamington 101

Sunday, 24 March 2013

I'm taking us all away from Spain for a moment *gasp!* and back to the kitchen. I have been neglecting my cookery a little lately - this was the remedy.

Presenting, my 2nd Road Test (only haha)! I'd like to share the trial and tribulations (mostly trials) of making lamingtons, a complete Aussie classic that I have somehow never made over the years! Their reputation is often tarnished by the awfully soggy supermarket versions that break apart on first contact, and fluffy sponge that stays so for days on end (suspicious!)

Twas a triumph! Admittedly this was my second attempt, but I was very pleased to  finally succeed

My first attempt was a bit of a disaster. The sponge turned out flat as a pancake. Trying a recipe without a leavening agent, I was really struggling to introduce air into the mix with a stick blender/whisk. 8 eggs later...yeah, that did not go well! I'm still dreaming of a KitchenAid, pretty much the Ferrari of the kitchen ;)

Here's the eye-candy, haha

The one and only...the KitchenAid KSM150 in Imperial Grey, matte finish. Yup, totally have the colour picked out already. This sits very high on my wishlist!

Here is my Frankenstein lamington recipe: a combination of 3 recipes from the NSW CWA (good on you ladies!), Gourmet Traveller and Broadsheet). 

125g butter, softened
3/4 cup castor sugar
2 eggs
1 tspn vanilla essence or 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups of self raising flour
2/3 cup of milk

200g coarsely chopped dark chocolate (at least 65% cocoa solids)
100ml pouring cream 

~200gm shredded coconut (or the texture to your taste) + extra

Okay, it's long winded but stay with me...

1. For toasted coconut, toast at low heat (around 120°C) for 45 mins or until even golden colour. I was a little impatient myself and cranked my oven, consequently taking mine to the brink! I mixed it with untoasted coconut in the end.
2. For the sponge cake, preheat oven to moderate heat (180°C). Line rectangular tray (28 x 18 cm or thereabouts) with baking paper. Or if you prefer, grease tin with unsalted butter
3. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
4. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, combining between additions
5. Add flour alternatively with milk in batches
6. Bake in oven for ~30 mins or until cooked through (skewer comes out clean)
7. Cool briefly in tin, then transfer to wire rack to continue. In order to help the assembly stage, it is a great idea to pop the cake in the freezer for an hour or 2 to firm up (wrap in foil 1st). Crumbling cake = not good
8. Whilst the cake is doing it's thang, prep the ganache: combine chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. I usually put the bowl on top from the very beginning to heat gently and prevent burning. When the chocolate begins to melt stir gently until combined, aiming for a smooth & glossy finish. Add milk to the mix (steady!) if it's too thick. The ganache should be nice and runny so that the excess can still drip off, add some boiling H2O if necessary
9. Slice cake into cubes (to the size you'd like), squaring off edges. I was a bit naughty and pretty much left mine as is...rustic, if you may!
10. ASSembly: this can get messy, so brace yourself! Using 2 forks or chopsticks (in my case haha), dip each side lightly in the ganache. Alternatively, use a spoon to ladle on. Let the excess drip off for a nice even coating. The more cooled the cakes are the easier this step will be
11. Roll those babies in toasted coconut. Shake off excess...
12. Oooooooh YEAAHHHH

And hopefully this is your finished product! Baha.

These are certainly not mine, something to work towards! I love Broadsheet's addition of the toasted coconut, I think it makes a world of (flavour) difference Source: Broadsheet Melbourne

Now I know a.k.a top tips!

  • Toasted coconut to a golden brown in the oven. Keep your peepers on it! Stir occasionally if you're worried/paranoid like I am
  • The freezer trick: harden the cake to slice easily and prevent crumbling
  • Make them as pretty-to-look-at as you like. I didn't even out my edges for perfect cubes. I can live with a little bit of chaos. Plus I'm not entering any baking competitions soon that I know of! And yes, the CWA ladies are probably all 'tsking' at me right now
  • Chopsticks, are an Asian girl's best friend!
  • After they've been assembled, pop the lamingtons in the fridge for 30mins-1hr for the chocolate to set. You'll probably have most of the chocolate & coconut on your fingers at this point...I certainly did!
  • Crisis aversion: store lamingtons on a bed of coconut to prevent them sticking together, leaving a mass trail of chocolatey destruction (yum!)

In all its toasted 'coconutty' goodness. I was relieved when they turned out. Chocolate and coconut do fix everything!

Et voilĂ ! Yes, lamingtons can be a little bit fiddly but they're totally worth the effort! I cannot believe I have been without them for so long. This batch was gone in a matter of days. Very very happy :)

Thanks for reading!


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