Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bloody Big Lamingtons - Australia Day Baking

Today's post is shamelessly copied from my other blog, IBakeIWearIam, in celebreation of another public holiday. I mean, Australia Day.

We've got the Big Banana, Big Pumpkin, Giant Prawn, Huge Sheep (some of those may be fictional) and on a local "highway", a really big potato on top of a service station that has confounded me for years. There aren't any potato-related services anywhere nearby. Maybe it's code for some underground farmer's union or something.

Anyway, thanks to this afternoon's baking experiment, now we have the Big Lamington. I can't believe I've been an Australian for 25 years and not ever attempted to make lamingtons from scratch. So I put the effort in this arvo and made some bloody big ones.

I found the recipe from a genuine vintage Central Cookery Book (your mum has one, I guarantee it. My mum does, in mint condition 'cos she's not much of a cook). The standard Home Ec textbook from Federation until sometime in the 90's, it's full of really easy, tasty and affordable recipes. Just alter the bits that say "fry in lard". The baking sections especially are full of good old-fashioned favourites that actually do taste like Nanna used to make.

Here's the recipe - the cake part came from the cookbook and the chocolate part I nicked from Taste as the Central book simply said "roll in chocolate icing" without explaining* the howfores and whatnots of actually creating this mystical chocolate dip.

125g butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 t vanilla
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups SR Flour
Pinch salt
2/3 cup milk

Preheat oven at 190 degrees (go slightly less if you have fan forced). Grease 23cm square cake tin or lamington tin 21x29x3cm (no idea what size my cake tin is, but heck, it's square and it did the job).
Sift dry ingredients. Cream butter and sugar. Gradually add eggs and vvanilla, beating well after each addition. Lightly fold in flour bit by bit, alternating with milk until well blended. Pour into pan. Bake 15 mins or until well risen and golden.

When cool cut into lamington sizes 4x5cm (ahem, I didn't read this step and just divvied the cake up into squares. Which turned out to be of the large variety). Cool completely before icing.

Cake, the uncut version.
I made half this qty to go with the above cake mixture, and ran just short. Next time I'll try it with 2/3 of the below qty...if I can be bothered doing the maths.

4 cups pure icing sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
125g butter, roughly chopped
1 cup boiling water
3 1/2 cups dessicated coconut

Sift icing sugar and cocoa into a large, heat-proof bowl. Place butter and water into a heat-proof bowl or jug. Stir until butter melts. Pour butter mixture into cocoa mixture. Stir to form a smooth icing.
Place coconut into a shallow bowl or dish.
Using 2 forks (don't, use your fingers, it's much more fun!), dip 1 cake finger at a time into icing, then roll in coconut. Place onto wire rack to set.

Not exactly square, a little rough around the edges - truly an Australian creation. (Honestly they do look lamington-esque in person).

The verdict:
Difficulty: not exactly rocket science, but like all good things, it takes a little time.
Taste: Like an Aussie summer in a cake. Bewdy! (the cake is delish)
Mess: be prepared for coconut in your crevices. Here's our half-cleaned up kitchen bench.

Cost: All I had to buy was coconut, which was under $2 for a packet.
Kid-friendly: If "kid-friendly" translates to "child shoving oodles of chocolate icing and coconut bits into their mouth with glee", then, yes.

The Outfit:
Target (and probably Supre) have these long singlets with an Aussie Flag bikini printed on them. Please don't buy one. Show your patriotism with a little subtlety:

Australia necklace, US$18 from verabel at Etsy.
*I was working from a photocopy from Mum's book. The actual chocolate icing part may have been on another page!

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