Lamingtons, it’s pink. If not for valentine’s day, it will a plain sponge. I tasted lamingtons for the first time when dad bought a boxful from his college bakery in Pune, Maharashtra. This made semester breaks enjoyable as I would look forward to having lamingtons with my famiy. I loved it as it was a moist chocolate coated sponge. Truly speaking, I’ve never seen this piece of baked product in any Indian bakery. Later, It was my Aussie flatmate who mentioned about this delectable delight. It helps sharing your living space with different nationalities, atleast we get to know about one’s regional delicacies. That’s how I came to know that Lamingtons originated in Australia.
Lamington is a cuboid piece of sponge cake dunked in chocolate coating and rolled over dessicated coconut, then left to set. Traditionally, a plain sponge cake is used. I added a dash of pink to make it valentiney looking :) I intended to make a baby pink sponge cake, but it turned out to be coral pink. Either way, pink is a soft colour and I love it for a valentine dessert.
For the Sponge Cake
Makes 12 individual cuboids. Use 8 x 8 inch square pan
1 1/2 cup All purpose flour * I used unbleached AP flour
1 cup Sugar
3/4 cup warm Milk
6 tablespoons unsalted Butter (softened)
4 Egg whites (at room temperature) *separate eggs when cold, then cover and bring down to room temperature
3 tablespoons Cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
3/4 teaspoon Baking powder
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
Pink food coloring * I used paste food color
Set rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
Grease a 8 x 8 inch square cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Combine these dry ingredients and sift – AP flour, cornstarch, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
In a bowl, cream butter and 3/4 cup of sugar. With the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until very soft and light. Beat in the vanilla extract.
In a large mixing bowl at high speed, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until uniformly foamy and stiff. Add rest of the sugar, beating constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are glossy and forms a light peak.
On low speed, alternately add flour and milk to form a batter. Begin mixing with the flour and finish with the flour.
Now add the creamed butter and sugar to the flour and milk mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add food colour, mix well. Make sure all other ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
Fold in egg whites gently. Take care not to deflate the fluffy character of the egg whites away by overfolding. Fold in such a way to retain the air you have beaten into the whites. I never use the electric mixer for this step. I use a large spatula to mix by hand.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degree F or until done. Check doneness by piercing a toothpick until it comes out clear.
Transfer the cakepan to a wire rack for atleast half and hour or till completely cool. Remove the cake from the pan and wrap the sponge with a plastic film, refrigerate overnight or for atleast 6 hours.
Refrigerating the sponge keeps it intact and makes cutting easier. This gives the perfect consistency to start rolling in the icing.
Using a serrated bread knife, trim the sides of the cake. Cut the cake into 12 individual cuboid/ square sponges.
For the Chocolate Dipping
It depends on what kind of coating you prefer. For a thicker coating use baking chocolate and prepare a ganache. For a thinner dip, make a coating with cocoa powder to soak the sponge with the glaze. It works either way. I used a chocolate ganache as I love the glossy ganache. The recipe for Ganache is here. You need to double the amount of ganache. If the ganache thickens, add 2 tablespoons of hot water or reheat it by placing the bowl of ganache over simmering water to bring to a pouring consistency. Do this a few times as the ganache tends to thicken over time.
Thinner Chocolate Syrup
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened Cocoa powder
2 tablespoon unsalted Butter (melted)
3 tablespooms of Hot water
Whisk sugar, cocoa powder and hot water. Fold in the butter. Mix well to form a glossy chocolate syrup of pouring consisteny.
For the coating
2 cups Unsweetened dried/ dessicated coconut * It will be pleasurable to use freshly grated coconut. I didn’t have any, hence I used dried coconut.
Place the dried coconut on a plate. Dip the sponge one by one into the chocolate syrup and make sure all sides are coated without leaving uncoated patches.
Then toss the sponge through the dried coconut. You can use your hand to do this or even a fork. (PR did the coating and rolling. He did the food styling and photography as well :) Thanks hunny!)
Alternatively, you can ladle the dipping over the sponge and pour back into the bowl. Do not worry about the crumbs and coconut falling into the dipping. Strain and reuse the dipping till you finish coating all the cuboids.
Place the lamingtons in a large glass casserole dish, leaving little space between individual ones. Refrigerate to firm up the coating. I suggest not to stack the lamingtons as they tend to stick with one another. I reheated the lamington for 10 seconds in the microwave before serving.
Here is your piece of irresistable lamington with a pink sponge. Enjoy the Australain delight :)
Variations – You can layer the sponge cake using raspberry jam or strawberry preseve/ any frosting as a filling in between. You can use raspberry jelly crystals to coat the sponge to get a completely pink lamington. I preferred the traditional chocolate and coconut for the lamingtons with a touch of pink.
Have these pink babies as dessert with the your valentine day meal or pack it as a gift. And for all those keep sweaters in the oven, get a soft and moist sponge cake from the shop. Buy a bottle of chocolate syrup and a pack of dessicated coconut, cut the sponge cake into cuboids or squares and dunk the pieces in the chocolate syrup and roll it over the dessicated coconut. Give this to your valentine…surely you’ll impress him/ her.