Pass the Lamingtons please.

24 Oct 2006

Today I'm making Lamingtons, one of Australia's few contributions to the culinary world. Other offerings are the Anzac bisuit which I think we share with New Zealand, the Pavlova and Peach Melba. There are probably many others but these are the few that are trotted out every now and then to demonstrate Australian cooking.

And ofcourse there are many fine cooks and chefs working in Australia and overseas who must have their signature dishes but much of modern Australian cooking tends to be an east-west fusion and I'm not really up with all of that. I think the best approach is to use what is in season and be aware of as many cooking methods as possible so that you can use your ingredients to make the most appetising meal possible. However, for yummy biscuits , cakes and slices ,the traditional ones, usually found in CWA books, are the best every time.

Anyway back to the lamingtons. Basically they are cubes of plain cake dipped in a thin chocolate icing then rolled in coconut. When fresh they are delicious, even I enjoy them and I'm not a big fan of coconut. The ones above were featured in a Donna Hay magazine last Spring. They are actually made from a chocolate cake though tradition dictates a white/vanilla cake.

So if you want to make this delicacy make your favourite plain cake in a rectangular pan or buy a slab of butter cake (shop bought is not as nice but will do in a pinch). If you have made your own cake you need to leave it for about 8 hours . This makes it easier to cut the cake into cubes. I usually make them about 2" square but you can make them any size you like: small to be used as petit fours or much more substantial. Some people put a layer of jam in the middle but I think this is just gilding the lily. Why mess around with the perfect combination.

You will need to make a fairly runny icing. Here is the Donna Hay icing recipe:

3 cups icing(confectioners) sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1 1/3 cups(10 1/2 fl oz) boiling water

75g(2 2/3) butter melted

Put ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well combined.

Now comes the messy/fun part. Using to forks to manipulate the cubes dip them into the icing letting any excess drain off then place in the coconut and turn them over until they are evenly coated . Allow to dry on a cake cooling rack.

Now put the kettle on. Set the table with a pretty cloth. Make some tea or coffee. Pop the lamingtons on your nicest plate. Call the children and get stuck in. Don't forget to put some away for tomorrow's school lunches.

Lamingtons are supposed to have been named after Lord Lamington who was once the Governor of Queensland. I have no idea why his name would grace these yummy cakes, perhaps he invented them, perhaps he scoffed the lot when he first tasted them because they were so yummy. No one seems to know. A popular way of raising money for schools, boy scouts, sports groups etc. is to hold a Lamington Drive, i.e. selling lamingtons. Because they freeze well people buy them to help the charity and then you can use them as needed, or you can just eat them when you get them ofcourse ( my preferred option).

That is enough Australian culture for today. Stay tuned for the next exciting episode.

13 Responses to “Pass the Lamingtons please.”

  1. One of my favourite childhood memories is making lamingtons with my mother. I used to drop the cubes into the choc icing, and then run around the table to swish them around in the coconut. Mum used to refrigerate (or possibly freeze) the cake before making the lamingtons, it stopped them being so crumb-y. I also used to love eating lamingtons best when they were still frozen! Thanks for reminding me of these very pleasant thoughts!

  2. I wondered whether it was a good idea to freeze them first. My mum never did so I don't but I think I'll try it next time.

  3. I meant to add - I'm with you on the jam issue. And don't get me started on mock cream. Urgh! (you can see I feel very strongly on the issue of lamingtons done just the right way!!!)

  4. Don't underestimate Australian culinary influence! My local Waterstones is full of Australian Woman's Weekly cookbooks. I always thought they were called Limingtons not Lamingtons...but that must have been me misinterpreting the Australian accent...

  5. Years ago the local school held a lamington drive - my ex wanted to know where was Lamington Drive and why were they selling a road! Truly!!

  6. It is very interesting to read your blog. So I will try to bake the lamingtons.

  7. Ohhh yummm, my girls would love this. We will make it. Thank you !! Clarice

  8. I do so enjoy reading other people's recipes. Thank you for posting this. All these years I was unaware of such a tasty tidbit!

  9. I heard of those on Home and Away (Australian soap addict here - can't stand any of our own - I've been watching Neighbours since I was born) and had not a clue what they were until I looked them up. They do look scrumptious - my next bakery session will be giving those a go!

  10. I would love to try these. Thanks Jenny!

  11. This is the first I've heard of lamingtons. But they look like they'd be fun to make as well as yummy.

    I'm having a bit of a party at my house next week and I think I'll make them :)

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