The last post on Hottie Biscotti was the April Daring Bakers challlenge. A full month of no posts! I know you’ve been wondering just what has happened to me. Well, I have just been doing a poor job of keeping up with the blog. Honestly I don’t know when I would’ve posted next if I didn’t have a commitment to keep up with The Daring Bakers. Blogging has taken a back seat lately. Being a mom is a lot of work and sometimes (or a lot of the time this past month) sitting down and watching TV during nap time is more valuable and enjoyable to me than taking photos or writing a blog post. Anyone else have dry spells in blogging?
Anyway, I was glad to have this fun challenge to get me back here. I’d never seen or heard of Lamingtons before. I’d never even made a sponge cake! So, thanks for the great challenge, for having me try something new, and for getting me to blog, Marcellina!
For the May challenge Marcellina from Marcellina in Cucina dared us to make Lamingtons. An Australian delicacy that is as tasty as it is elegant.
I ate one of these with my afternoon coffee today and loved every bite of it. The delicate cake with the thin layer of chocolate and slightly crunchy coconut made for a really special treat. It’s basically a Mounds bar in cake form, so if you like those you should have no problem liking Lamingtons.
Making the sponge cake is fairly simple when it comes to ingredients and baking, but it is tedious. Having a stand mixer is super helpful since you beat the eggs and sugar on high speed for 15 minutes. I was thankful to be able to turn on the timer and tend to other things while my mixer did all the work! When you fold in the flour mixture it’s important not to deflate the eggs, but you also want to get all the flour incorporated, so there’s a delicate balance. I don’t think that I achieved a perfect sponge, there were a few little pockets of unmixed cornstarch and baking powder in one part of the cake, but overall the flavor was incredible and the texture was light and airy. And I don’t know what truly proper sponge cake should be like, so maybe mine was nowhere near acceptable. But it worked! So I’m going to call it good.
Here is my set up for dipping and coating the cake. Doesn’t it look neat and clean?
The chocolate glaze is delicious, a breeze to mix up, and easy to work with, at least at first. The only problem I ran in to glazing and coating the pieces in coconut was that the delicate cake lost little pieces in the chocolate which, after about a dozen pieces of cake, made for a yucky mess that was no longer easy to work with. So I ended up not even bothering to coat all the pieces. My kids gladly ate the extra cake for dessert and felt very fancy. If I really needed to coat them all I’d make a second batch of glaze that I could switch to once the first batch became not so wonderful.
Here is the mess I made.
But here is what came out of all that mess. Totally worth it.
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup castor sugar (I used regular granulated with no issues)
- Pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups cornflour (cornstarch)
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 2¾ cups unsweetened desiccated coconut, to assemble
- 3 ¼ cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- ½ to ¾ cup milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Prepare a 4 ½ cm (1¾ inch) deep 9”x 13” baking pan by lining with non-stick paper and greasing the paper.
- In a stand mixer bowl place eggs, sugar and salt. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high for 15 minutes.
- While the eggs and sugar are beating sift the cornflour and baking powder at least 3 times.
- After 15 minutes add vanilla and beat on high for another 5 minutes. The mixture should have at least tripled in size, be light in color and very foamy.
- Sift flour mixture over the egg mixture. I like to use a whisk but you can also use a large metal spoon to lightly fold the flour in. Some people like to use a wooden spoon but I find it too heavy. Heavy handling now will result in a flat tough sponge. If you are using butter, thoroughly fold it in now but lightly.
- Spread mixture into your prepared pan and smooth out evenly. Some cooks at this stage drop the pan onto the bench top to even out the air bubbles. I did this, but just once and not from very high 🙂
- Bake in preheated moderate oven for 22-25 minutes. The sponge will rise quite a lot but then settle back down. Don’t be tempted to open the oven to peak. When baked the sponge will have shrunk very slightly from the sides and should feel springy when pressed gently.
- Turn the sponge out immediately onto a wire rack to cool and reverse sponge so as not to mark the top. Allow to cool. It is best to keep the cake for a day before making the Lamingtons as the cake will be easier to handle.
- Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a heatproof bowl.
- Stir in the butter and ½ cup milk.
- Set the bowl over a pan of hot water.
- Stir until icing is smooth adding more milk to thin the icing if needed. I find I need more than ½ cup but not quite ¾ cup of milk.
- Dip each piece into the chocolate icing, let the excess drip off. Keep the bowl over the pan of warm water to keep the chocolate smooth.
- Roll in coconut.
- Place on a wire rack and let sit for 2 hours. Refrigerate or freeze.