Stephanie Alexander's Australia Day lamingtonsThis weekend, as two of my friends are obtaining their Australian citizenship on Australia Day – the 26th of January – I’ll be staying at home in the comfort of my fully air conditioned home, caramelising onions and grilling some snags and steaks over my induction cooktop!  My father, fortunately, is in Perth for a wedding at the moment but jeez he would be unimpressed at my fake BBQ get-up (he’s been wanting to buy hubby and myself a BBQ for well over 2 years now).  Maybe when Lil’ E grows up a bit, and this foetus within me is out, we’ll return to BBQs by the beach with a side of cricket..  For now though, the memories will have to suffice!!

I did, however, get baking and made Stephanie Alexander’s luscious lamingtons for the long weekend.  For those of you unaware, lamingtons are an Aussie tradition.  They’re basically made of day-old sponge cake which is coated in a sweet chocolate sauce and rolled in coconut!  They’re often sandwiched between some fresh cream or jam or a combination of both cream & jam.

When I was a child, we used to have fund raisers at my primary school as well as my ballet school where we would sell a slab of lamingtons to unsuspecting family members & friends.  I think that’s where my fondness for lamingtons stemmed from.

After many unsatisfactory purchases, I now refuse to buy lamingtons at stores and cafes because they are often too stale.. but make them yourself this weekend – they are proudly Australian because they are so darn good!  Plus you don’t necessarily have to wait a day for your sponge cake to ‘age’ – I didn’t and seriously.. I’ve always been under the impression that although the sponge may be a tad trickier to handle, a soft sponge ALWAYS tastes better.

5 eggs at room temperature
60 g unsalted butter, melted & cooled
150 g plain flour, plus extra to line the lamington tin
3/4 cup castor sugar

Select a 20 x 28 cm lamington tin or a 24 x 5 cm deep round cake tin and brush with some of the melted butter.  Dust with plain flour and tap to dislodge excess.  Preheat oven to 180C.prepare lamington tin

Beat eggs and sugar in an electric mixer until very thick and mousse-like – this will take about 10 minutes.beat eggs and sugar

Sift flour over egg mixture and fold in thoroughly but lightly using a large metal spoon.fold in flour

Trickle cooled, melted butter down sides of bowl and fold in thoroughly.add melted butter

Pour into tin and bake for 15-18 minutes until top of cake feels springy to the touch (but do not open oven door before 15 minutes has elapsed).freshly baked genoese sponge

Allow cake to cool for a few minutes in tin, then turn out onto a clean tea towel and leave until completely cold.

Day-old Genoese sponge
1/2 cup (1 part) Dutch cocoa
4 cups (8 parts) icing sugar
1/2 cup (1 cup) boiling water
1/2 cup (1 cup) melted butter
Dessicated coconut

Cut day-old Genoese sponge into 5cm cubes and refrigerate.cut into squares

Mix cocoa, icing sugar, water and butter together to make icing.make lamington icing{I just put the icing ingredients together in a saucepan and warmed everything up until it all melded well together.  Then I let it cool to allow the icing to thicken enough to coat the sponge.  I felt a saucepan would be good because the large surface area would allow me to coat more sponge at the same time as well as allow the warming up and cooling process to be a lot faster..}lamington icing all ready to go

Prepare a tray of dessicated coconut.dressing up ingredients all ready to go

Impale a square of sponge on a fork and dip in icing, then in coconut.  Allow to dry on a wire rack before storing in airtight tins.  Some cooks dip the cake squares in melted jam before the chocolate icing.the finished lamingtons drying on a wire rack

And here you go.. presented on my all-time favourite tea towel (which has holes in it) that my mother (who is still very much alive!!) passed onto me two years ago at my request.  I think I love the tea towel so much because Mum always used to wrap freshly baked scones and damper up in it!!  YUM.. who wouldn’t love an Aussie tea towel with so much significance, right?.. xxlamingtons

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