Saturday, January 30, 2010

The one continued...............lamingtons

Okay, happy belated Australia Day. I had such dreams, such plans for this day and many blogs leading up to it......the lamington blog, the pavlova blog, the list goes on. But alas, my kids came down with a stomach bug the Friday of the Australia Day long weekend, so any baking and well timed blogging plans quickly flew out the window.

I did manage to bake something uniquely Australian that week leading up to Australia Day but had no chance of getting it up on the blog. After I found the perfect vanilla cup cake recipe the other week, I went completely mad thinking of recipes and reasons for me to try it again, just to make sure.

Luckily Australia Day, or the day of Lamingtons, pavlovas, BBQs, beers and beach cricket was approaching. I departed from the usual sponge base and went with "the one" vanilla cup cake recipe. This made for a departure from a traditional looking Lamington too.

I have to be honest, the best lamington I have tasted used day old sponge cake mass produced by a supermarket then rolled in homemade thin chocolate icing and coconut made by my mum or my Grandma's, which is more of a cup cake, rolled in lamington icing and coconut. I think they are incredibly messy to make and not worth it when you can get a nice tasting one using a store bought sponge. Lots more things I would rather make. I am being very unAustralian I know.

Anyway, during the past week I have had a go at a few different versions of the lamington. None of which I am very happy with visually but all got a resounding thumbs up from the eaters at the Workaholic's office.

Lamington 1: Vanilla Cupcake with rich chocolate ganache and shredded coconut

I had seen these ones on my recent trip to Melbourne in the cup cake shops but to my mind, it just was not the same. I used the richest chocolate icing I could find to compensate for not covering the whole cake but it just tasted like vanilla cake topped with chocolate icing, not that wonderful combination a lamington has with the thin icing and coconut all over.

Lamington 2: Traditional type using sponge recipe

I must have been really disappointed in this one, because searching back through my photos a week later, it appears I have deleted all evidence! LOL. I have an aversion to stale cake and because you need to leave a sponge to age a day before attempting Lamingtons, I usually don't bother. From memory, these looked alright but tasted substandard. I didn't let anyone sample these.

Lamington 3: The cup cake lamington bite mark 2

This one was definitely my preferred. This was the last one I did and I decided to go back to my childhood and use the icing my mum used to use which was a combination of boiling hot water, butter, cocoa and icing sugar. One recipe I read also called for some milk, so I lived on the edge and threw some in. It ended up like the icing of childhood, very watery and thin. This is one of the keys in lamington making. The icing needs to be thin so the cake doesn't fall apart when dipping it in the icing and before dipping it in the coconut. Some other tips are to use day old cake, which is against my religion, or to freeze the cake, which sounds like something I would prefer. I didn't have time to freeze this batch as the staff meeting they were for was starting in an hour.

The cakes are actually the mini cup cake variety to make it easier for them to just grab one in the staff meeting. I had some complaints that people would like them bigger but that was probably just to save face as they were seen going back 3 times. Probably didn't like people to see them at the dessert table to often. :)

I am loving my progression with this baking passion. I am getting a bit of a name around town. My Workaholic keeps forwarding home emails from people who say things like "I would love to come to the meeting, I hear your wife makes a mean cake, will you be bringing some?" or the classic from the lovely receptionist "there is cake here everyone, don't know what it is, but Kate made it and it is awesome". It is nice to be appreciated and talked about in a good way! :)


  1. if only i could have read your insightful post before i started my lamington disaster. =) thin icing is the key! well, now i know..

    good job on your lamingtons! i'm so jealous! =)

  2. Happy New Year Judy and thanks, but really I have years of experience with those pesky lamingtons, being Australian and all. LOL!

    You are doing some beautiful things on your site - I want to make them all!

    Have a look at my Caramel Bliss "Cupcake" for something else to do with the boiled condensed milk you like.