Baking Recipes, Christmas & holidays, From the books, Layer cakes

{Christmas Countdown 2013} Just because lamingtons remind me of snow



We’re only a few days away from Christmas now, and it is on a day like this more than on any day of the year I start thinking about snow. (Especially since the weather these past few days has been on the warm side!) I wonder what it’s like to have snow falling on your face, brushing past the tip of your nose like a silent kiss. I wonder how those tiny white specks feel rolling between fingers that try to catch them. Do they feel like sharp icicles or are they really as cottony soft as they look on television?

I haven’t been fortunate enough to witness falling snow though during the course of my travels I’ve experienced really cold temperatures; the sort that makes your breath turn into clouds before your face. I love that. Truthfully the winter season kind of terrifies me because I get cold pretty easily, but I love seeing those cloudy puffs in front of my face every time I talk and breathe. The only thing I’m waiting to experience is actual snow. It’s probably why I always gravitate towards recipes that have snowy elements in them during this season.



I mean just look at these lamingtons. In Australia it’s a classic all-year-round treat, but to me it looks like something that fits perfectly during the Christmas season.

Chocolate cake rolled in snow. That’s the thought I always have when I see lamingtons. A few months back I bought Alison Thompson’s cookbook, and when I saw her lamington recipe I marked it and told myself I DEFINITELY have to include it in my Christmas countdown this year. Not only have I been wanting to make them forever, I also loved how Christmas-y they felt. 

Lamingtons are made up of several delicious ingredients all rolled into one, so I don’t see how these can go wrong in taste. A sponge cake with a layer of jam in the middle- traditionally raspberry but I used strawberry since it’s what I had- coated in chocolate and rolled in desiccated coconut. Coconut is, by the way, one of my new favourite ingredients to use now. I never appreciated them before but now I can really see the difference they make in baked goods like this one.



Ironically enough, I actually kind of messed up my sponge cake because my mixture separated a little as it baked, making the bottom half of my cake just a tad heavier than the lovely spongey top. Regardless, this cake was still delicious.

This mess-up is not something one will actually notice once the cake has been chocolate-ized and coconut-ized, but I thought I should still point it out. I actually somehow skimmed over the instruction to use the WHISK ATTACHMENT to whip the eggs with the sugar and instead used the paddle attachment typical to cake batter-making. It’s important to beat the eggs with the sugar very thoroughly for the whole 10 minutes so that it doesn’t separate even a little as it bakes.

So yeah, you guys, USE THE WHISK ATTACHMENT.

Lamingtons
A classic enjoyed in Australia all-year round, lamingtons feature jam sandwiched in two layers of sponge cake. The cake-wiches are then coated in chocolate sauce and dredged in desiccated coconut for a full dose of awesome.

serves 12 to 16
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For the sponge cake
  1. 8 eggs
  2. 1 1/8 cups (250 grams) superfine sugar
  3. 1 2/3 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour, sifted
  4. 1/3 cup (80 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  5. 5 Tablespoons raspberry jam
  6. 2 1/2 cups (250 grams) dessicated coconut, or more as needed
For the chocolate coating
  1. 4 cups (500 grams) confectioner's sugar
  2. 3/4 cup (80 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  4. 2/3 cup (150 mL) water
Make the cake
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Line a 10-inch square cake pan with parchment baking paper.
  2. 2. Beat eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed for 10 minutes. * Mixture should turn pale and creamy.
  3. 3. Gently fold in the sifted flour, then stir in the melted butter until combined.
  4. 4. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the center. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. 5. Split the sponge in half using a serrated knife. Spread the base with the jam then place the other half of the sponge cake back on top. Trim off the edges and cut the cake into 12 or 16 egual pieces.
Make the chocolate coating
  1. 6. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl. Add the melted butter and water, then whisk until smooth. **
To assemble
  1. 7. Spread the coconut on a large tray. Using a fork, dip each lamington into the chocolate coating, allowing the excess to drip off before dredging in coconut. Roll the chocolate-covered cakes in the coconut so that it will be fully covered.
  2. 8. Place the lamingtons on a clean plate or tray. Allow the icing to set for at least 30 minutes for serving.
  3. Storage: Best served on the day it is made. However, leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Notes
  1. * This is important. You want your eggs and sugar to combine well so you should definitely use the whisk attachment for this. It will prevent your mixture from separating and making the bottom part of your cake denser as it bakes in the oven. I learned this the hard way!
  2. ** You can adjust the amount of your water for the coating depending on the difficulty of using it to coat your cakes. I added about a tablespoon more to mine because it was too thick and I had trouble maneuvering my cake as I tried to coat it. Some parts of it ended up being broken off.
Adapted from Bake: The Essential Companion by Alison Thompson
The Tummy Train http://thetummytrain.com/
Picture eating this in your holiday-ready living room while Christmas music (preferably a playlist of Michael Buble’s Christmas albums) is playing in the background. A perfect way to spend Christmas day in my opinion!



If we had snow here, the fireplace would be lighted and I would just lounge around in my jammies, lamington in hand, tiny smile on my face, watching the snow fall from beyond my window. Perfection.

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