Finally, another magazine tear-out that I can dispose of. The page that is, not the recipe. In fact, this is a recipe that I will visit more often (with variations) in the future. With Easter and Spring celebrations around the corner, I thought this would be a lovely recipe to share. A batch of these cakes set out on a dessert buffet would certainly be well received.
Lamingtons are popular items at Australian bake sales and church events. They deliver a combination of flavors sure to intrigue the taste buds of the lucky grabber. They are made from a basic sponge batter with a layer of jam or cream that is sandwiched between two cake halves. Once chilled and cut, they are dipped in a thin chocolate icing and rolled in coconut. A more traditional version would be to use unsweetened, dessicated coconut, but I happen to love the taste and texture of shredded, sweetened coconut. Due to the light crumb of the sponge cake, the jam layer and chocolate icing are absorbed into the cake keeping the cake moist for several days.
Speaking of days, the cakes should be baked, cooled, and filled with the jam at least a day in advance so they can be frozen before icing. I like to freeze the entire cake slab before cutting. This allows for a clean cut and keeps the jam layer from oozing. The original recipe called for strawberry jam, but I am particularly fond of a chocolate/raspberry combo. You can use any jam of your preference. Come to think of it, apricot would be quite nice.
Whether you enjoy them on a plate with a fork paired with a cup of tea, in a bowl with a scoop of ice cream (not traditional, but preferred), or eaten casually out of hand with your fingers and a napkin, these tasty cakes should be enjoyed everywhere and not just down under.
makes 24 two-inch squares
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