Make your own lamingtons just in time for Mummy’s day! Coincidentally my first taste of lamingtons was near the date of Mother’s Day, many years ago. Lamingtons are pretty damn simple to make. It can get a little messy near the end, but it’s nothing you can’t lick off your fingers 🙂
Back in junior school, I remember quite a few girls used to have 1-2 lamington slices in their lunch box at school all the time. I had no idea what they were, but they looked good. When I finally came across them in the supermarket, I was adamant that mum buy some. One look at the amount of sugar that was coating these glorious nibbles, and mumsy said no.
It wasn’t until Mother’s Day rolled round and I was able to buy some from the Mother’s Day stall at school (pretty sure I was horribly ripped off that day, now I think about it in retrospect) that I could call a lamington mine. Of course, being the good girl that I was, I waited until I got home that afternoon to share it with my family (I had bought the lamingtons for mum, after all)…
…and the lamingtons were a revelation. The sponge was soft and springy, the filling of jam and powdered sugar- magic and rainbows. I expected from then on, that my lunch box would always be filled with these magical squares forever.
I was wrong. Sadly the taste of magic and rainbows was not enough to convince my mother that I needed to eat these all the time. These lamingtons became a really big treat food, right up until I started uni and decided to make my own lamingtons.
Rather than the actual baking process of lamingtons being difficult, it’s the coating of the lamingtons that is the most fidgety. But l’ll start with highlighting important points of interest:
For the sponge, let the 125g (1/2 cup) of butter needed come down to room temperature. I took my eggs out too, but I don’t think cold or room temperature eggs make a difference. Remember to sift your 1 3/4 cups of self-raising flour to get any lumps out!
Now, the recipe I have calls for a “3m deep 20cm x 30cm (base)” pan. The only pan I had was a 3cm deep 16cm X 25.5cm pan. While my smaller pan didn’t seem to have any effect on the cooking time needed or not allow me to cut 15 substantial sized squares,
my lamington sponges cut into 15 pieces did turn out pretty damn enormous, height wise.
And bless the wonder that is even rising, all my 15 pieces were this tall.
I personally don’t have a problem opening my mouth to the point of dislocating it if it means eating a good thing whole. But my parents, being the genteel and civilised people that they are, would rather not be doing so. So, I halved each of the 15 pieces to make…30!
The lamingtons I make don’t have a filling in the middle, but of course you can add some in (people usually have jam, jam and cream, jam and powered sugar, or the whole sh-bang), if you’d like. It will mean that you’ll end up with 15 lamingtons once you sandwich them together again but I personally think, the more lamingtons the merrier, right?
Points on cutting the sponge: I’ve tried a few different times of when I’ve cut and iced the lamingtons after they’ve just come out of the oven. For me, I’ve found that cutting and rolling the lamingtons in icing on the same day it’s been baked has yielded better lamingtons, in that the centre is still very soft but the icing is well absorbed into the sponge on all 6 faces.
Some advocate that you leave the sponge uncut overnight under a clean tea towel, but I’ve found that this method makes the sides that have touched the pan and the top of the sponge not as absorbent to the icing. If you do choose to leave the sponge to cool overnight, then remember not to cut the sponge until you’re ready to roll the sponge in icing (cutting the sponge to cool overnight will mean you’ll end up with very tough pieces of sponge to work with).
I’m guilty of being a little impatient to want to ice my lamingtons, so generally after they’ve come out of the oven, I leave the sponge to cool for about 10-15 minutes before I cut the sponge, lift it out of the pan and let the sponge cool in squares (the steam that rises out of the hot sponge is magnificent!) while I get my icing ready. That being said however, your lamington sponges cannot be too hot before you put icing on, otherwise they will crumble and break in the mixture.
For the icing: Icing lamingtons is sticky business. The first time I made lamingtons, I ate so much icing off my hands I felt sick. I do much better now, all thanks to using a big round sieve, a dinner fork and spoon. You have to work relatively fast while the icing is still warm, so then you can evenly coat the lamington. If the mixture becomes too sluggy to use, immerse the mixture bowl in some hot water and give it a good stir or make a bain-marie to soften the mixture again. To help speed up the process of the icing staying put after its coconut coat, I usually put 2 plates in the fridge and put my lamingtons on them when the time comes. Alternatively you can place them on a rack, but I don’t like how some of the icing continues to run through the cracks.
If you’ll bear with me, the next few sentences will tell you how I go about minimising the amount of mess from the icing process.
Generally, I ‘soak’ two lamingtons at one time in the icing sugar, butter, hot water and cocoa until I have none left. I allow 2 of the lamingtons to roll around in there for a bit before I use my spoon and place both of them into the sieve to quickly allow excess icing to drip off back into the icing bowl (and to catch any crumbs). Then using a fork, I quickly roll the lamingtons around in a bowl of desiccated coconut. These done lamingtons are then put onto a plate that has been chilled in the fridge to help the icing from running everywhere.
On a warm/hot day I’ll leave the lamingtons in the fridge to set for about 20 minutes before taking them out and putting them in an airtight container. Even if you put your lamingtons in the fridge for 20 minutes to set (NOT freezer), you shouldn’t fear that your lamingtons will turn rock hard- the sponge should still be soft, thanks to the icing that is around the whole lamington. But all this fiddly business is just me; I know it’s a lot more convoluted than what most recipes ask for so I won’t be putting all this in the recipe method below.
One more step I do is I allow for the chilled lamingtons to come back down to room temperature before enjoying. Or I eat kinda coldish because my teeth can take it! !!
Recipe below; please contact me or leave a comment if you want to ask me anything!
Adapted from taste.com.au
For the sponge
- 125g butter, softened
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 1 3/4 cups self-raising flour, sifted
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 cups desiccated coconut
- 3 1/2 cups icing sugar mixture
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 1/2 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 180°C/356°F or 160°C/320°F fan-forced. Line a 3cm-deep, 20cm x 30cm (base) pan with parchment paper with about 2cm hanging off all sides for easy lifting later. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition (mixture may curdle, but don’t panic! It’s okay!).
- Sift half the flour over butter mixture. Stir with a spoon or spatula to combine. Add half the milk. Stir to combine. Repeat with remaining flour and milk. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth top. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 10 minutes before cutting sponge into 15 even pieces. Lift out onto a wire rack and let pieces cool until either just warm or completely cool.*
* If you think your current 15 pieces are too big, then halve each piece again to make 30 pieces.
To make icing:
Place coconut in a bowl. Set two plates in the fridge to chill.* Sift icing sugar (or use the back of a spoon and crush until satisfied) and cocoa into a bowl. Add butter and boiling water. Stir until smooth. If icing mixture becomes too thick to use, immerse icing bowl in some hot water and give it a good stir or make a bain-marie to soften the mixture again.
*chilled the plates will help the icing and coconut set and minimise dripping.
Using a fork, dip 1 piece of cake in icing. Place the lamington into a sieve over icing bowl to catch any excess icing (and to catch any crumbs). Transfer lamington to coconut bowl and coat lamington quickly (you’ll find the icing might run all over the place if you’re not quick). Place onto chilled plates. Repeat with remaining sponge, icing and coconut. Stand for 20 minutes in the fridge (only to help icing and coconut retain their shape around the lamington). Before serving, let lamingtons come down to room temperature or enjoy slightly cold from the fridge 😉 From hereon, keep lamingtons in an airtight container.
Do not keep lamingtons in the fridge for a prolonged amount of time, as this will dry out the lamingtons.