My camera is back, the clouds are gone (sort of) and there’s chocolate in our lives again. Let’s eat cake!
We have not-so-little pieces of sponge cake, doused in creamy chocolate icing, rolled in coconut, and then stuffed straight in our mouths. There is very little to be upset about here.
I grew up eating these lamingtons very often. They came out of one of those scribbled recipes in my Mom’s vast collection, one she got from a friend, though at that point, I wasn’t very interested in the recipe itself as I was in the end product.
These are spectacular. Mainly because you’d never think that what initially tastes like a terribly basic sponge, can be taken to a whole new level with the simple addition of coconut. I think we should always eat chocolate cake this way from hereon.
Lamingtons, originally from Australia, are one of those things that you can make at leisure or in a pinch. If you have the luxury of letting the hot sponge cool overnight at room temperature, go for it. If not, let the cake cool for a bit, just until you can cut it, then chill the sponge squares in the fridge before dipping. Basically, make sure the pieces of cake are firm enough that they don’t fall apart when dipped in the warm chocolate icing. The sponge is denser than a regular one because of the addition of cornflour, which stops it from becoming too light and fluffy, so that dipping becomes easier. Cake science.
The icing is quick and delicious. Cocoa, sugar, a few chocolate chunks and boiling water. Boom. My Mom adds a pinch of coffee powder too! The coconut is the desiccated variety, dried and shredded, not fresh. It sticks well to the icing, and forms a nice little coating on the outside.
These are a ton of fun to make. Get friends and family along because there ain’t no party like a lamington party!
Once ready, chill the lamingtons in the fridge before serving, because the icing and coconut need some time to set so that there are no messy chocolate situations, though I’m not sure those are necessarily a bad thing. The combination of the chocolate and coconut is fabulous and suddenly makes the whole dessert feel like a lot more work than it actually was.
- For the sponge
- 1 and ⅓ cup flour
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ cup butter, at room temperature (approx 50 gms)
- ¾ cup caster sugar
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- ½ cup milk
- For the coating
- 1 cup icing sugar or powdered sugar
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 50 gms dark chocolate, chopped small
- ½ cup boiling water
- 3 cups desiccated coconut
- Generously grease an 8x8 baking pan or 10x6 rectangular pan and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and cornflour in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, mix the butter and sugar till combined. This isn't exactly creaming because the amount of butter is quite little, so it won't turn into a pale, fluffy mixture. Add the vanilla and eggs and beat well. This can be done entirely by hand.
- Add the milk and stir till combined. Fold in the flour mixture gently till no lumps remain.
- Pour the cake into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the top is golden-brown and a toothpick poked into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool for an hour at room temperature, then cut into squares and chill in the fridge for another hour. Alternatively, you can make the cake the night before and let it cool at room temperature overnight.
- Once the cake has cooled, make the icing. Combine the sugar, cocoa powder and chocolate in a bowl, then pour the boiling water over the mixture and stir vigorously till you have a smooth sauce and the chocolate has completely melted.
- Spread about half of the desiccated coconut out on a large platter. Dip each cooled piece of sponge into the icing, turning it over with a fork to coat it completely, then lift it out and place it on the coconut platter, rolling and turning with your fingers to make sure all sides are covered in coconut. Transfer to a serving platter or airtight tin. Repeat with the rest of the cake, replenishing the coconut as needed if you feel it's become too brown because of the chocolate.
- Chill the prepared lamingtons for an hour, then dig in!