Yesterday was Australia Day, a time for celebratory picnics on the beach or in the park. January 26th marks the day in 1788 when Captain Arthur Philips first landed at Sydney Cove with his fleet of eleven ships. If you've got some Australian coffee in the cupboard, what better to go with it than the classic Australian Lamington – a type of sponge cake coated in chocolate and coconut. Taking their name from Lord Lamington, governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901, they were seemingly invented by his cook.
Given the recent excesses of Christmas and the tins of biscuits and chocolates still awaiting consumption, I opted to make a very conservative amount of Lamingtons, but if you're in the mood to throw caution to the wind do double up on quantities!
Ingredients for the cake:
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons milk
4½oz self raising flour
Ingredients for the icing:
8oz icing sugar
4 tablespoons milk
A box of dessicated coconut
1- Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla.
2- Beat in the egg and then mix in the flour and milk.
3- Place in a greased, lined tin. For these quantities just a 6-7'' square tin will suffice.
N.B. Don't attempt to cut and ice the cake until it is thoroughly cooled, preferably not until the following day.
4- Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a large bowl.
5- Heat the milk and butter until the butter has just melted and pour into the large bowl. Mix all together until combined to create a runnier than usual icing.
6- Cut the cake into 9 squares and get some coconut at the ready.
7- Now comes the fun! Get a palette knife/spatula and a fork; with the help of these implements dunk a square of cake upside down in the chocolate and turn onto each of its sides. Once it's all coated bar the bottom, flip onto the palette knife and place on a piece of greaseproof paper that's sitting on top of a board that will fit in your fridge for the purpose of setting the icing once you've finished.
8- Sprinkle coconut on the chocolate coated square. I tried dunking the cake in the coconut to begin with and things got rather tricky, but you might have greater success!
9- Place in the fridge to set and leave for a couple of hours. I found it's worth storing them in there too.
10- Get that coffee ready and enjoy the fruits of your labour.