I’m not sure I remember exactly the first time I ate lamingtons, but mostly because they’re not as exciting as one would hope from a “foreign delicacy”. It was probably at the Australia Day party being held by an Aussie friend I worked with, and she had a bunch of Australian foods, and that was probably one of them? She definitely was feeding vegemite to people at that party, and I remember eating a piece of toast with butter and vegemite and being entranced. Lamingtons, while yummy, aren’t quite as memorable. They’re basically just a sponge cake iced in chocolate, dipped in coconut. It sounds pretty good, and it is, but underwhelming based on the photos you’re about to see?
I know that I ate lamingtons when I was in Australia itself a few years back. I was visiting some friends in Alice Springs, and if you’re in the red center already, might as well make a trip out to see Uluru (aka Ayers Rock). The rock itself is still a very long drive from Alice (6-ish hours), so if you’ve only got time for a day trip like I did, then you’re more likely to do the trip where you get to the bus stop at like, 5 in the morning, and then don’t get back into town until well after midnight, which gives you a smidge of time to see and do cool things. Fortunately, the tour companies that run these outings know that it’s a slog, and so the trip gets broken up with pit stops to eat a proper breakfast, and to have a tea time which is really mostly about eating lamingtons. I think the guide explained the origins of this particular treat, but it didn’t sink in for me, so if you’re interested, here’s the wikipedia entry.
Anyways – why am I talking about lamingtons and Australia today? Because a few weeks back on January 26 was Australia Day. E had been studying Australia in school, and their class was hosting an Australia Day celebration to show parents what they’d learned. This meant parents signing up to make semi-authentic Australian snacks, and the Boy – wanting to both impress AND to take advantage of my skills in the kitchen – signed us up for the middle-of-the-road difficulty snack of lamingtons.
And then he got sick, and I had forgotten when the party was, so we ended up frantically getting all the ingredients two nights before so I could make them the night before, and have them prepared to take to the classroom. And in the end, they were good, if a pain in the butt to make, and actually were the most admired of all the lamingtons made by parents, so uh – yeah. I’m awesome. Whatever. No biggie. Will I make them again? Probably not unless forced. There wasn’t enough icing in the recipe – so if you want to ice all the cake squares, make more, or thinner icing, or don’t ice the lamingtons on all sides as is traditional. Also, I believe it’s possible to purchase them, so if I really wanted lamingtons in the future, I would look into that.
Yield: Between 12-24 lamingtons, depending on how much icing you use, with some cake leftover.
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs (beaten)
2 cups self-raising flour
1 lb of icing/powdered sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 oz of butter
1/2 cup of milk
shredded or dessicated coconut
Preheat oven to 350F, grease a 13 x 9 pan and set aside.
Cream together butter and sugar. Gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well. Add 1/3 cup of the flour at a time, stirring gently and thoroughly after each addition.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 60-75 minutes, reducing the temperature to 325F after 30 minutes
Let cool, then cut into 2 inch squares.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and remove from the heat. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into the saucepan, then add the milk and mix through.
Dip squares of sponge cake into the icing mix, then roll in coconut to coat.
Details: Recipe from E’s teachers out of a book. It was page 91. Sorry I can’t be more helpful!