Thursday, May 28, 2015

DB: Lamingtons

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.

At first glance, the Lamington reminds me of what we in the states call petit fours.  That square caked, coated in frosting and sometimes decorated to fit whatever occasion is being celebrated.  However, the Lamington differs slightly.  It's a moist sponge cake that is dipped in chocolate then coated in coconut.  The coconut coating was originally put on the chocolate coating to help avoid messy, melty chocolate fingers.

Here's a little snippet of the backstory via Wikipedia-
"Most accounts of the creation of the lamington agree that it was named after Lord Lamington, who served as Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901, although it might have been named for his wife, Lady Lamington.  
Lamington's chef at Queensland's Government House, French-born Armand Galland, was called upon at short notice to provide something to feed unexpected guests during the busy period leading up to Federation in 1901. According to the Melbourne newspaper The Age, Galland cut up some left-over French vanilla sponge cakebaked the day before, dipped the slices in chocolate and set them in coconut. Coconut was not widely used in European cooking at that time, but was known to Galland whose wife was from Tahiti where coconut was a common ingredient. Lady Lamington's guests then asked for the recipe."
Source: Wikipedia

We were given creative freedom, but since I've never had nor made Lamingtons I opted for the classic recipe!  I thoroughly enjoyed making these little cakes.  The chocolate coating may...or may not have been my favorite part!



For the sponge-
5 Large eggs, room temperature
1 Cup sugar
Pinch salt
1 Tsp vanilla
1 1/4 Cups cornstarch (also called cornflour)
1 1/2 Tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp butter, melted
2 3/4 Cups unsweetened shredded coconut

For the chocolate icing-
3 1/4 Cups powdered sugar
1/3 Cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2-3/4 Cup milk


Preheat oven to 350.  Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl sift cornstarch and baking powder together, 3 times.  Set aside.

Combine eggs, sugar and salt in a large bowl and beat on high for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes add the vanilla and beat on high for an additional 5 minutes.  The mixture should be light in color, foamy and tripled in volume.

Sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture.  Gently fold the flour into the egg mixture.  Fold the butter in the mixture.

Pour the mixture in the prepared pan and spread into an even layer.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for 22-25 minutes.  The sponge will rise quite a bit through the process and then settle.  Do not open the oven during the baking process.

Once the sponge has finished baking, remove from oven and immediately remove from pan and transfer on a wire rack, parchment paper and all.  Allow to cool completely.  Store overnight.

For the chocolate icing-

In a large, heatproof bowl sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder together.  Stir in butter and 1/2 cup milk.  Set the bowl over a pan of hot water, and stir until icing is smooth.  Add more milk to the the icing, if needed.

To assemble-
Cut the sponge cake into 24 rectangular pieces.  Trim the crusts, if desired.

Place the coconut in a shallow dish.

Keep icing over hot water while dipping the cake to ensure the chocolate stays melted.

Dip and submerge the cake into the chocolate icing, tap gently to allow excess to drip off.  Dip and coat in coconut and place on a wire rack to set, about 2 hours.

Recipe source: Marcellina in Cucina

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