Lamingtons... a classic little Australian cake enjoyed all over the country! We seem to see more of these delicious little cakes around Australia Day these days, they've almost become a national dish for our day of celebration... along with Aussie lamb, of course!
My first exposure to making lamingtons was in the late 1970's. One of our neighbours, who was in her early 20's at the time, had entered into the old Queen of Hearts competition. Back then it was a fundraising competition for, I believe, the Heart Foundation. Young women who entered the competition raised money for the foundation, and who ever raised the most money was crowded the Queen of Hearts for that year.
Anyway, this neighbour organised a lamington drive as one of her fundraising activities. She sold lamingtons in the hundreds, and then gathered as many people from the neighbourhood to help her make the lamingtons to fulfil the orders. I was only about 13 or 14 years old at the time. I remember vividly walking into her house and seeing the sheer scale of the lamington production line in her kitchen and dining room. I sat round their dining room table dunking squares of cake into the giant vat of chocolate icing, then putting the chocolate dripping cake cubes into a huge tray of coconut. It was the next person in the production line's job to ensure the lamingtons were coconut coated perfectly.
When ever I make lamingtons, I think back to this evening. It was one evening a long time ago, one little memory... it was the first time I was exposed to 'cooking' on such a scale. I loved it, loved sitting round the table chatting to our neighbours, loved being busy and loved being part of the lamington production 'team'.
I've been making lamingtons this week.
I altered the usual formula of sponge cake with a runny chocolate icing. My lamingtons were made from a vanilla cake which was lightly flavoured with orange. I then soaked the slab cake with a fresh coconut milk panna cotta (inspired by Flour and Stone, who use a vanilla panna cotta with their delicious lamingtons). I then coated the cake squares in a dark chocolate ganache before coating them in the coconut.
I also decided to take the humble little lamington to another level this year by creating a lamington cake.
In between two layers of vanilla cake is a raspberry and white chocolate mousse. The cake was then coated with a milk chocolate ganache, coconut and dark chocolate ganache drips.
The origins of the lamington are a little uncertain, but it seems as through the chef of Lord Lamington (Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901) created these little cakes. There are a few stories, however, the story I favour is that they were created by accident. The chef dropped some sponge cake into chocolate and sprinkled coconut over them to try and make this 'disaster' more appealing.
One of the best disasters in history, in my opinion!
Thanks for visiting!