Lamingtons, for those unfortunates who do not know are large squares of light fluffy yellow sponge dipped in chocolate icing and rolled in coconut. Sometimes they are sandwiched with jam and cream (a travesty in my mother's opinion, an epiphany for others). They are retro and iconic. You will find them in bakery's up and down this country. People have built holidays purely around a search for the countries best lamington. They are served up at National Holiday celebrations, at Barbeques, at Christmas. They turn up in lunch boxes and at High teas. Never more so than on Australia Day. January 26th. I must stress at this point that I am not a proud Australian. My ideas of my Australian heritage are continually evolving the more I question and discover about it. It is a strange thing to both celebrate and question ones National Identity. As My friend Rosanna eloquently put it as "Australia Day: someone tearing down the truth & folding it into little white shapes." It is the entrenched racism, the revisionist history this new government is putting forward, the continued degradation of ancient spiritual lands by mining conglomerates and hushed up genocide and marginalization of its first peoples are just a few of the wide sweeping issues that make it so difficult to celebrate our National Day. You would thinks a countries National Day would be unifying, Australia's National Day I find is deeply dividing. When asked what you celebrate when you celebrate Australia Day the answers are so diverse it is mind boggling. For some its celebrating a day off work with a BBQ, triple J's hottest 100 and waking up with a hangover (in true Australia fashion it is a day for doing nothing). For others it is celebrating their new identity or new found freedoms. For others it is a insult and seen as day where death and tragedy and white oppression are being celebrated. The fact I am a third or fourth white Australian means I can pick and choose aspects of my Australian heritage to enjoy or put down. Other Australians do not have this privilege. This year for me Australia Day was spent baking lamingtons, laughing with my girlfriends, listening to Chet Faker's beautiful voice and reading essays on what Australia Day means to different people (one of the best can be found here).
Anyhow, onto a recipe....
Lamington purists (yes they exist) may scorn at these because the sponge is chocolate rather than plain yellow, the cream is a chocolate and raspberry concoction rather than white standard whipped cream and the coconut is shredded rather than dessicated. Well they can pretty much go f*ck themselves because these are damn delicious.
- 100 gm dark chocolate (56% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
- 60 gm butter, coarsely chopped
- 8eggs, at room temperature
- 300 gm caster sugar
- 180 gm plain flour
- 60 gm Dutch-process cocoa
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 200 gm(4 cups) coconut flakes
- 250 gm raspberries (about 2 punnets)
- 120 gm caster sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 200 ml thickened cream
- 120 gm dark chocolate (56% cocoa solids), melted
- 20 ml raspberry liqueur
- 80 gm raspberries, coarsely crushed
- 60 gm dark chocolate (56% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
- 240 gm pure icing sugar, sieved
- 80 gm Dutch-process cocoa, sieved
- 60 ml(¼ cup) milk
- Preheat oven to 180C. Melt half the chocolate and half the butter in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, stir until smooth and keep warm. Whisk half the eggs and half the sugar in an electric mixer until pale and tripled in volume (5-6 minutes). Triple-sieve half the flour, half the cocoa and half the baking powder into a large bowl. Fold flour mixture into egg mixture in two batches, then fold in chocolate mixture, spoon into a 21cm-square cake tin buttered and lined with baking paper and smooth top. Bake until centre springs back when lightly pressed (25-30 minutes) and cool on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
- Meanwhile, for raspberry jam, stir raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, bring to the boil and cook until jammy (8-10 minutes), then cool completely. (If you can;t be bothered making your own Jam just use a good quality store bought one like Bonne Maman).
- For chocolate-raspberry cream, whisk cream, chocolate and liqueur in an electric mixer until soft peaks form fold in chopped raspberries and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Trim edges and tops of cakes, spread jam over one cake, spread with chocolate-raspberry cream and refrigerate until cream is just firm. Sandwich with second cake and refrigerate until firm..
- Meanwhile, for chocolate glaze, stir chocolate and 190ml water in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until smooth (2-3 minutes), remove from heat, add icing sugar and cocoa, stir until smooth, then stir in milk.
- Cut cake into equal(ish) squares, dip each quickly in chocolate glaze then roll in coconut. Stand until set (1 hour), then serve.
Recipe Adapted from Gourmet Traveller
"In Hobart, late one night, in the kitchens of the casino, they saw a lamington on a plate. Hush closed her eyes and nibbled. Grandma Poss held her breath – and waited. “It’s worked! It’s worked!” she cried. And she was right. Hush could be seen from head to tail. Grandma Poss hugged Hush, and they both danced “Here We Go Round the Lamington Plate” till early in the morning.
So from that time onwards, Hush was visible. But once a year, on her birthday, she and Grandma Poss ate a Vegemite sandwich, a piece of pavlova and half a lamington, just to make sure that Hush stayed visible forever. And she did."
Possum Magic - By Mem Fox - A treasured classic from my childhood.