For my international readers, the 26th of January is Australia Day – a day where we get to take the day off work and have a BBQ, or go to the Big Day Out, or in my case make lamingtons! Lamingtons are a quintessentially Australia sweet treat and I thought it would be a perfect way to celebrate the day (I was initially going to bake pavlova but New Zealand has claimed rights to it!)
The lamington has its origins back in the early 1900s and apparently were named after Lord Lamington, who served as Governor of Queensland during that period. Lord Lamington was believed to have hated the dessert that had been named in his honour, referring to them as “those bloody poofy woolly biscuits” (haha thank you Wikipedia!)
Lamingtons were traditionally made with old sponge cake that was cut up and dipped in a runny mixture of icing sugar, cocoa and milk and then rolled in desiccated coconut. An ingenious way of using up leftover cake! But let’s be honest, who has leftover cake lying around?! Certainly not me! I would have eaten it. So I did something I never do, and purchased a store-bought cake. Now before you call me a hypocrite and start the Swah-bashing, lamingtons are far easier to make using store bought/old cake as freshly baked cake crumbles and falls apart. Also, I didn’t have time to bake a sponge. So maybe I was being a little lazy too.
I thought I would “turn up the volume” (thanks Ina Garten) on these lamingtons and dip them in a ganache made of dark chocolate and cream, and then split and fill them with berry jam and whipped cream. HEAVEN.
- 1 store bought sponge cake
- 220g dark chocolate
- 400ml thickened cream (250ml for the ganache and 150ml for the filling)
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- ½ cup jam (strawberry, raspberry, rhubarb - whatever you like)
- Using a serrated knife, cut your cake into relatively even squares (mine were around 3cm x 3cm).
- Transfer the squares of cake to 2 lined baking trays and let them dry out a bit whilst you get to work on the ganache (it makes your dipping and rolling job much easier).
- Over a double boiler or a VERY low heat, melt your chocolate into 250ml of the cream until smooth. Let this sit for around 30 mins and allow to thicker slightly.
- Get a big plate and sprinkle enough coconut onto it to cover the surface.
- Now the dipping - you might have your own technique but mine involved: skewer the square of sponge and dunk into the smooth chocolate ganache. Using a spoon in your other hand, pour spoonfuls of chocolate over and around the sponge until completely covered in chocolate. Use the skewer to life the sponge out of the chocolate bowl and let excess chocolate drip off.
- Plonk the chocolate covered square of cake into your plate of coconut. Using 2 forks, gently roll the cake around until completely covered in coconut. Use the forks to gently lift the lamington off the plate and back onto your lined baking tray to set.
- Repeat with each square of cake, replenishing the coconut on the plate whenever it runs low.
- Let the chocolate on the lamingtons set properly (I left mine over night but an hour should be fine) and then using a serrated knife, gently slice each lamington in half length ways.
- Pour your remaining cream into an electric mixer and whisk until soft peaks form.
- Take the lid off your first lamington and dab a small teaspoon of jam on the cut side of the bottom half. Then add a small teaspoon of whipped cream and put it's lid back on.
- Repeat the process of filling each lamington (it's much easier to spread the jam on first)
Tonight I am off to see Icelandic band Amiina play at the Sydney Festival, not an exactly Aussie thing to do but I am super excited nonetheless!