When I first travelled to Australia in the late nineties, Sydney didn’t have as vibrant a food scene as it does today. But what it did have were new things for me to discover and fall in love with. I learned to love vegemite on buttered toast, and Tim Tams were obviously too gorgeous to resist. But my favourite discovery was the lamington.
It was an inspired idea; take a humble sponge cake and elevate it to new heights using cocoa, icing sugar, and desiccated coconut. According to Wikipedia, the lamington is named for Lord Wellington who served as governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901. There is nothing there, however, about who exactly came up with it. Whoever it was, I would like to bestow the title of ‘cake genius’ on them; it’s an honour that is richly deserved, in my opinion.
Recipe: Awanthi Vardaraj @ Sybaritic Pleasures
Photographs: Awanthi Vardaraj
For the cake:
125 grams butter
185 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup self-raising flour, sifted
1 cup plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
125 millilitres milk
For the chocolate icing:
590 grams icing sugar, sifted
3.5 tablespoons cocoa
6-8 tablespoons warm water
Desiccated coconut for rolling
For the cake:
1) Preheat the oven to 180C. Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat in. Combine the flours and the baking powder and fold in alternately with milk.
2) Spoon the mixture into a greased and lined square cake tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until cooked. Let cool slightly before turning out of the pan onto a wire rack to cool.
For the icing:
1) Combine the icing sugar and cocoa in a large bowl and slowly add the water, mixing as you add it. It should be quite a smooth consistency.
2) Cut the cake into squares (after completely cooled) and dip the cake into the icing using two forks to hold it gently. Then toss the dipped cake square in coconut. Set aside until they are all done.
3) Allow to set (for half an hour) before serving.
1) All too often I’ve heard people complain that they don’t have self-raising flour. If you’ve run out of it, don’t panic. Simply add 1 teaspoon of baking powder for every 100 grams of plain flour to ‘make’ your own self-raising flour.
2) I set the dipped cake pieces (before tossing in coconut) aside for a few seconds while I dipped others; this was just a way for me to do more at one go. If it works for you, feel free to use this ‘cheat’.
3) Make sure to use large enough bowls for the chocolate icing and the coconut so that you can dip and toss with ease!
Enjoy these! Let me know if you make them and how much you loved them!