WEDDING CAKE: The Lamington Tower

I'll be honest, at 3am last Saturday morning I was thinking to myself "why the f**k did I suggest Lamingtons for a wedding cake?!" And not only that, but FIVE DIFFERENT KINDS OF LAMINGTONS. But in my sugar induced delirium I would imagine the faces of the gorgeous bride to be and her amazing groom and think - yep they're TOTES worth all this dunking and rolling. Initially there was talk of a croquembouche...which then led to discussion of a mega tower of donuts, but donuts need to be fresh out of the oven or fryer -that's when they're the most scrumptious. Now seeing it was Australia Day weekend AND the bride's nickname is Aussi Girl...well no brainer really!
We discussed different flavour variations and they coupe settled on five flavours: Classic, Nana, Champagne, Caramelo Koala and Persian.
The lamington sponge itself is best baked the day before you plan to cut into squares, dunk in a runny icing and then roll in coconut AND they usually taste even better a day after that! If you forget to bake the sponge a day prior you can also freeze the squares on the day and then dunk and roll! I baked all the sponges a week before the wedding, once they were cool I double wrapped them in cling film and froze them. I then made up the fillings a few days beforehand and stored them in the fridge. I made the icings and toasted the coconut too at the beginning of my mega dunk and roll session, but in hindsight I could have prepped the icings, had them in the fridge and then re-heated them in a double boiler to get them to a runny consistency. SO just in case you are about to embark on a lamington tower - take note!

Now for the recipe, I have baked lamingtons with the children I nanny several times before, their mother is an amazing baker so I asked her if she could email me the trusty 'litlle lamington' recipe. Its a beautiful vanilla sponge that is extremely light and airy and the chocolate icing is rich and decadent - you do not want to skimp on the quality of cocoa used here, dark bittersweet cocoa is best.
But after a trial bake off * I realised I may need a more sturdier sponge as these little cakes were going to be piled up on top of each other and be on display for a few hours until they would be gobbled up.....I needed.....a School Fete Lamington.
Behold Railea Don and her 30 yr old lamington recipe- “I taught this to so many students over the years at the Sydney County Council. It was a staple recipe and always a favourite. It is known as the ‘2 4 6 8’ recipe as it has 2 eggs, 4 oz butter, 6 oz sugar and 8 oz flour (and 1⁄2 cup liquid). I also used this recipe to make hundreds of lamingtons for the annual fete at the Montefiore (aged care) Home. Every year my kitchen would be filled with thirty slabs of cake, lined up on every work surface possible, ready for covering in masses of dripping chocolate and coconut. People would drop in, roll up their sleeves and all have a turn at dipping and rolling.”
After reading this I knew her recipe would be PERFECT! And it was.

Classis Lamington Recipe

recipe adapted from here 

125grams unsalted butter
185grams caster sugar
2 eggs
250grams self-raising flour
1/2 cup milk or fresh orange juice
500grams icing sugar
3tablespoons best quality cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1tablespoon unsalted butter 
1cup hot water
250grams shredded or desiccated coconut

Preheat the oven to 180°C. 
Line a 28 x 19 x 4 cm lamington tin.
In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. 
Add the flour in three additions, alternating with the milk or orange juice. 
Mix together well, (I turned my mixer on high for a few seconds at end of mixing to incorporate)
Pour the batter evenly into the prepared tin. 
Bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. (mine was done right on the 30 minute  mark)
Allow the cake to cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
(Store overnight in an air tight container or continue with instructions)
Cut the cake into 4 cm squares, trimming the edges if necessary.
(Freeze squares for approx 30 mins if freshly baked)
Mix the icing sugar and cocoa together in a bowl. 
Put the butter into the hot water to melt, and mix into the icing sugar mixture until thick and smooth. Drop the cake squares into the chocolate, ensuring the cake is fully covered, then remove very quickly.
(I would use one hand for dunking, the other for rolling - I was all ambidextrous by the end of the night....morning!)
Place the cakes on a tray lined with baking paper.

I will add the other lamington flavour recipes to this post in the next few days...but for now you can get dunking with the beloved classic!

*all pics taken with Clementine are for the trial bake off- she was not present when baking for the wedding for food handling reasons of course!


Unknown said...

As the aforementioned groom I need to have it known that this was not only a visually stunning ensemble but also a gastronomic tour de force and STEAKY took the humble lamington to a new height. I gorged on our families allotment for the two nights that followed our wedding. ( one of which was in a 5 star hotel and had me completely ignoring their renowned desert menu that could have easily been enjoyed en suite)