Really though, it’s a day full of epic events like tuna throwing and cockroach racing, of backyard cricket and beach lounging, of face-painting and fireworks and, of course, EATING.
In my few months here I’ve quickly discovered what dishes are classically and proudly Australian. I’m talking lamb chops and kangaroo steaks, sausage rolls, Vegemite scrolls and meat pies, Tim Tams and Iced Vovos, Pavlovas and, last but not least… THE LAMINGTON!
According to lore, the lamington, once referred to by Lord Lamington as “Those bloody poofy, wooly biscuits!” was born out of necessity, some stale cake and a bit of chocolate and coconut and has since become an Australian icon.
The version I’ve chosen for my first ever Australia Day are these little white chocolate lamingtons. Now, I’ll be honest, at least half the reason I decided to stray from the classic chocolate ones is that I knew these would look amazing with colored coconut. I’m such a sucker for color-coordinating holidays.
Wasn’t I right though?!?
So if you’ve never made a lamington before, be warned that they take some time. They’re not complicated but the process of slicing, dipping, coating and setting can be a bit tedious. Totally worth it though – they are little cloud squares of heaven once they’re ready!
Get all your cake ingredients together and start by beating your butter, extract, sugar and eggs using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in your sifted flours and ground almonds in at least two batches.
Transfer batter to a lined slice pan (20x30cm or 8x12in) and smooth the surface. Pop into a 180c/350F oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until the center springs back when lightly touched.
Once baked, et the cake cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before turning upside down on a cooling rack to cool completely. Slice into 24-36 equal squares, trimming any hard crusty edges as necessary.
While the cake is cooling, melt your chocolate bits in your milk over low heat until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in your icing sugar until smooth.
Set up your station for dipping and coating the lamingtons. If you want to make colored lamingtons, dye your coconut ahead of time so that most of the moisture has had a chance to evaporate. I dyed shredded coconut and then blitzed it in a blender so that it was more like desiccated coconut which sticks better and looks better.
I chose green and gold for Australia, but red, white and blue would look amazing too. Or a variety of other colors for other holidays.
One by one, dip your cake squares into the chocolate mixture using forks, coat thoroughly and drain off excess icing. Toss in coconut until well coated and set on a baking paper lined cooling rack to allow the icing to set completely.
Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
WHITE CHOCOLATE LAMINGTONS
250g (8 oz) butter, softened, chopped
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/3 cups caster (superfine) sugar
1 cup (150g) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
2/3 cup (100g) self-raising flour, sifted
1 cup (120g) ground almonds
White Chocolate Icing
1 ¾ cups (260g) white chocolate melts
1 cup (250ml) milk
5 ½ cups icing (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted
3 cups (210g) desiccated coconut
*Food colouring (optional)
- Preheat oven to 180c/350F. Line a 20cm x 30cm (8 x 12 inch) slice pan with baking paper, overhanging on all sides.
- Beat butter, extract, sugar and eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer until super light and fluffy. Stir in the sifted flours and ground almonds in two batches. Spread mixture into pan and smooth the surface.
- Bake cake for 35 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in the centre. Stand cake for 5 minutes before turning out onto cooling rack to cool completely. Cut cake into 24-36 equal squares, removing any hard edges as necessary.
- Make white chocolate icing by stirring together chocolate melts and milk over low heat until smooth. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and stir in icing sugar until smooth.
- Using a fork, dip cake pieces, one at a time, into icing until completely coated. Drain off excess icing. Toss in coconut until well coated. Place lamingtons on baking-paper lined cooling racks and let stand until icing is set.
*If making coloured coconut, mix ¼ teaspoon food colouring with 1 teaspoon water and mix into 1 ½ cups desiccated coconut until evenly coloured.
This recipe was slightly adapted from The Australian Women’s Weekly “Little White Chocolate Lamingtons” recipe.