I first tasted these little cakes when we were over in Australia a few years ago. We stayed with Kenn & Leanne Baker and their adorable son, Jett for a month. We observed how they lived life in their community, and how they showed the love of Jesus in very practical ways to those around them. Several of their friends thought it would be fun to have us try some traditional Australian foods before we left, and since I never turn food down, we jumped right on that train. They can keep their vegemite since it tastes like death, but their lamingtons were delicious, and I’ve never forgotten them!
Finding this recipe brought back lots of memories from that month in Australia. Such great conversations with so many different people from different walks of life. Afternoons at the coffee shop down the street talking with Aaron about the things we were learning, what we liked, and what we would do differently. Making new friends and spending evenings at the local pub doing karaoke and trivia night. Watching the giant fruit bats fly around at dusk each night. Learning how to use public transportation. Having beet root as a side dish with every meal. Fish & chips wrapped in paper. Seeing kangaroos on the side of the road. It was a good month. Enough time has passed that sometimes I have to sit and force myself to list some of the things we did and saw so that I don’t forget. Much of how we believe we want to live life was shaped during that month, and remembering our time there always brings me to a place of necessary simplicity.
Thank the Lord for lamingtons!
Lamingtons (recipe courtesy of Joy of Baking)
Makes 16 2-inch squares
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
2 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut, finely ground
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place oven rack to the middle position. Butter or spray with a nonstick cooking spray, the bottom and sides of an 8 inch square cake pan. Place a piece of parchment paper at the bottom of your pan.
- In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In bowl of electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed,alternately add the flour mixture and milk in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake in a preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan. Re-invert. Once the cake has completely cooled cut it into 16 two-inch squares. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate (to make them easier to frost) for several hours or even overnight.
Make the chocolate frosting:
- Place the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, butter and milk in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir the mixture until it becomes smooth and of pouring consistency.
- Make a production line; put the squares of cakes on a wire rack that is placed over a baking sheet (to catch the drips). Have ready the coconut on a large plate and the chocolate frosting.
- Spoon or ladle the chocolate frosting over each square of cake, making sure you cover all sides. (It is best to do only a few squares at a time).
- With a small offset spatula or knife, transfer the chocolate covered cake to the plate of coconut and roll the cake in the coconut, covering all sides.
- Gently transfer the lamington to a clean wire rack to set. Repeat with the rest of the cake squares. Once the lamingtons have set, store in an airtight container for several days.
What I love about these quirky Australian cakes: They look like the Little Debbie snack cakes that I used to have when I was younger! And they are extremely forgiving since they are covered in coconut, so if the chocolate icing doesn’t cover in a very pretty way, you wouldn’t be able to tell.
What I hate about these quirky Australian cakes: They weren’t easy. The chocolate icing was difficult to get to cover all sides of the lamington, and therefore took a long time to complete.