Cherry Lamingtons

Lamingtons

Umm, these little Australian cakes are delicious, but wow are they messy to make. If you’ve got little children I can imagine they’d have tons of fun with these – no wonder Lamington drives and bake offs are very popular in Australia and New Zealand.

I’ve made these twice before (a traditional recipe and a white chocolate ‘snowball’ version) and swore I’d never attempt them again as basically I got plastered in icing and dessicated coconut each time. Well, this month for the Daring Baker‘s challenge, Marcellina from the ‘Marcellina in Cucina‘ blog chose them for us all to try.

So, here’s my third ever batch of Lamingtons. I think maybe that now this won’t be my last as I have definitely improved at making them in a less messy way. I’ve also found that using a thicker ganache rather than a traditional chocolate glaze seems to coat the cakes better and gives the coconut something thicker to cling on to.

It’s a typical Lamington recipe except I’ve substituted some of the flour for dried coconut milk powder and added some finely diced glace cherries to the mix. The addition of the dried coconut milk enhances the dessicated coconut, and then I crowned each with a cherry as a finishing touch.

These are reputedly named after Lord Lamington, Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901. It’s disputed whether they were a happy accident (cake dropped in chocolate, then covered in coconut to stop messy fingers) or whether Lord Lamington’s chef invented them or one of any number of rather bizarre other suggestions. There are many recipes for the sponge used and some are split and filled with either jam or cream but all are coated in a chocolate glaze or ganache and rolled in coconut.

Notes

It’s gonna get messy – give yourself some space and don’t worry about tidying up as you go along as it’s been almost impossible.

Equipment

  • Bowls – including a large one for the coconut (I actually used a large plastic tub as it was flatter)
  • Cranked or plain palette knife (a smaller one is better)
  • Square baking tin -20 cm x 20 cm
  • Soft spatula
  • Balloon whisk, electric hand mixer or stand mixer
  • Saucepan
  • Cling film
  • Wire rack and a baking tray for it to sit on – line the baking tray with foil as this is to catch drips
  • Fork and spoon

Ingredients – sponge

  • Eggs, medium – 4
  • Caster sugar – 200g
  • Plain flour – 170g
  • Dried coconut milk powder – 30g (find this in the world food aisle in your supermarket)
  • Unsalted butter, softened – 110g
  • Baking powder – 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Lemon juice – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Glace cherries, very finely diced – 40g

Ingredients – chocolate ganache

  • Milk chocolate – 300g
  • Double cream – 125ml

Additional ingredients

  • Dessicated coconut – 200g
  • Cherries for decoration

Method – sponge

  1. Line or grease and flour your baking tin and put the over on to 170C fan / 185C conventional
  2. Cream the eggs and sugar together in a bowl or with a stand mixer
  3. Put all the dry ingredients together in a bowl (flour, dried coconut milk and baking powder)
  4. Crack one egg into the mix and add 25% of the the fried ingredients and mix until combined
  5. Repeat with the other eggs one at a time and the dried ingredients until all eggs and all dried ingredients are combined. Remove the whisk/take the bowl off the stand mixer
  6. Add the lemon juice and the finely diced glace cherries and mix gently with a spatula – don’t whisk
  7. Pour into the prepared tin
  8. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 30 mins until it’s golden on top and a skewer comes out cleanly
  9. Leave to cool in the tin and when cool it’s useful (although not totally essential) to pop it in the freezer (wrapped in cling film) for about 20 mins until slightly firmed

Method – choc ganache

  1. Break up the chocolate into a large heatproof bowl (it needs to be large as you will be holding the cakes over this later so you need the space)
  2. Pour the cream into a small saucepan and bring to just under boiling – when it first bubbles
  3. Pour the cream over the chocolate and mix until all the chocolate is melted thoroughly
  4. Leave to cool completely

Method – assembly

  1. Retrieve the cake from the freezer (if you’ve done that) and cut into 16 squares
  2. Empty the dessicated coconut into either a large plastic container, such as a tupperware or click-lock box, or a large bowl
  3. Get the wire rack and baking tray ready
  4. Get the bowl of ganache ready
  5. Have a fork and spoon to hand for the dessicated coconut
  6. Pick up one of the cakes and hold it flat on your fingers (I’ve found this to be the easiest) and using the palette knife pick up and spread the ganache over the top and all four sides of the cake
  7. Set the cake onto the wire rack – this will catch any drips from the ganache
  8. Repeat for all the cakes
  9. Once covered in ganache, pick up a cake with the fork as a lifting device – the cakes will be extremely gooey now so if you try to pick them up with your fingers you’ll stick to them!
  10. Drop it gently in the dessicated coconut. Use the spoon to ‘pour’ over the dessicated coconut and flip the cake over in the coconut to cover all five sides that have the ganache on
  11. Flip the cake upright and using the fork put it gently back on the wire rack
  12. Repeat with all the cakes
  13. Position a cherry on each of the cakes
  14. Leave them to ‘settle’ and harden a little before you eat them as this allows them to be picked up more easily
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