As promised B6 and I made an Australian food mentioned in Possum Magic. Lamingtons are blocks of butter cake or sponge cake dipped in chocolate icing and rolled in coconut. The cake is less likely to crumble if made a day ahead so I did that the night before. Making Lamingtons can be a fairly messy activity. I left B6 whisking the chocolate icing at one stage and came back to find it splattered on the wall. This just reminded me of the Lamington drives I participated in as a teen.
Our youth group did Lamington drives as fundraisers. We would collect orders for boxes of a dozen lamingtons and then gather on a Saturday to spend the day making them. The cake part was purchased from a bakery or supplier, then we mixed up the icing and rolled hundreds of squares of cake in icing, then in coconut. You can imagine what our church hall looked like at the end.
We have shared our lamingtons with a few friends and their responses were enthusiastic. If you would like to make them here is the recipe we followed:
125g (4oz) butter
¾ cup castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups self-raising flour
½ cup milk
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beat well. Fold in sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Spoon into a greased and greased paper lined 18cmx28cm lamington tin (squares tin). Bake in moderate oven 30 to 40 minutes. Allow to stand in the tin for a few minutes before turning out on to cake cooler. It is best to make the cake the day before you want to cut and ice the lamingtons, as fresh cake will usually crumble. Cut the cake into squares about 4x5cm. Dip in chocolate icing, then toss in coconut. Place on grease proof paper while icing sets.
Chocolate icing for lamingtons: Sift 500g icing sugar and 1/3 cup cocoa into a bowl. Add 2 teaspoons melted butter to ½ cup warmed milk. Add sufficient milk mixture to icing sugar mixture to make a smooth consistency; beat well.
It is quite a messy process rolling the lamingtons in chocolate icing. We used skewers to hold the pieces of cake and roll them in the icing. We also put our bowl of icing in a larger dish of hot water to keep it from setting too quickly. I didn’t pour all the icing into the bowl at the beginning because after a while it thickens and gets bits of coconut and cake floating in it. At the end you have some chocolate icing with cake and coconut in it so you can’t really use it for anything else. You also have some coconut with globs of icing in it so you can’t really use it for anything else. So you have to just eat it, really, don’t you?
I remember those lamington drives well. It was months before we could face the thought of actually eating one again, after making hundreds! Mind you, I wouldn’t have minded trying one of those that B6 made – they look pretty fabulous.