Monday, December 21, 2015

Treats from Down Under: Lamington

When considering the final baked good from Australia and New Zealand that I planned to make in 2015 (unless I get my act together and make mud cake for New Years Eve), it had to be the lamington. I had made pavlova multiple times, tried a few childhood snacks like rock cakes and Sydney Special, but something that came up everywhere was the lamington. In my mind it sounds like lamb because it looks like lamb - cake dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut.

The coconut and the cake vary - Cake Spy uses the more American sweetened shredded coconut, and Dan Lepard posted a delicious looking double chocolate version for The Guardian. I went with the recipe used by The Galley Gourmet, because it seemed rather traditional but was already using American measurements. Her recipes also always look so clean and straightforward, that they always have a lot of visual appeal for me.

People seemed to LOVE this lamington, but I have to tell you that they turned out huge. I cut the cake in the recommended 2 inch by 2 inch pieces, but by the time they were covered in the thick chocolate glaze and not-so-delicately rolled in coconut, they were giant individual sized cakes. One professor said one lamington provided a generous dessert split between she and her husband. Another thing I would say is that this has got to be the messiest dessert I have ever made, and I used to work up to my elbows in cake decorating supplies. Despite the glowing reviews and delicious end result, I'm not sure I would do it again!

makes 24 two-inch squares
Recipe from The Galley Gourmet, who adapted it from Martha Stewart Living

For the Cake
8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pans
2 2/3 cups cake flour, plus more for pans
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 extra large eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher slat
1 cup milk (2% or whole), at room temperature
2/3 cup raspberry jam

For the Chocolate Icing
1 cup milk (2% or whole)
2 (14-ounce) packages shredded sweetened coconut, chopped
2 ounces (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
8 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

For the Cake
Preheat the oven to 325° F.  Butter two 9x13-inch baking pans; line the bottoms with parchment and butter.  Dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time; beating until incorporated.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; add to the egg mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans.  Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  Cool slightly on wire racks.  Remove the cake from the pans and set on wire racks to cool completely.

Spread one of the cooled cakes with the jam.  Place the other cake on top. Lightly cover with plastic and freeze until firm.  (Cakes can be made and filled a day in advance).  Once frozen, use a sharp knife to cut the squares into 24 two-inch squares.  Keep the cakes chilled until ready to ice.

For the Chocolate Icing
In a medium bowl, warm the milk and butter in the microwave until the butter has melted. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Add the vanilla and espresso powder.  Using a wire whisk, gradually whisk in the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder; whisk until completely smooth.

Place the coconut in a shallow dish; set aside.  Place a cake square on the tines of a large fork and dip the bottom of the cake into the chocolate icing.  Using a large spoon or ladle, coat the the cake with the icing until all sides are covered.  Allow the excess icing to drip off.  Transfer the cake square to the coconut dish and sprinkle the top and sides of the cake with the coconut, gently pressing to adhere.  Transfer the coated squares to a parchment lined baking sheet and allow to stand until the coating has set-- at least 20 minutes.  Continue with the remaining squares.  Cake can be kept in an airtight container for up to two days.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, April 2002

No comments: