Australia Day, aka Invasion Day or Survival Day, was a few weeks ago now, but with the cyclone my planned posting got a little waylaid. But this post is too yummy to just let drop, so apologies for my belatedness. I don't consider myself full of pride for either my country of origin or my country of residence, but I do love excuses for cooking and baking that fits a theme. So for Australia Day this year, I tackled an Aussie classic which I had never tried before: Lamingtons.
Lamingtons are traditionally a light & fluffy square of sponge cake, coated in chocolate icing and then rolled in coconut. On Masterchef last year the Country Women's Association broke out the tape measure to ensure that contestants' lammos were perfect cubes. Going on that criteria, I failed. But in terms of snackability, these were a win, and I'm glad to have firsthand experience of the lamington hype.
A few comments before I post the recipe that I used (following Vegan Eats & Treats, I veganised this recipe but didn't bother with freezing, etc). The cake itself is not good. I tried a little bit and it was dry and a bit chalky. Don't let that put you off! Somehow, dipping them in the runny chocolate icing and then rolling in coconut imbues the bad cake with magically delicious properties. Also, this recipe makes a bunch - depending on how big you cut your squares, around 20-24. They freeze well; I put mine in a tupperware with plenty of space between them until they froze fully, then I packed them in a bit tighter. Ours defrosted when the power was out thanks to Yasi, and we nommed them amidst cleaning up leaves and palms. Yum!
1/2 c. nuttlex, softened
3/4 c. raw sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
egg replacer powder equivalent to 2 eggs
2 c. plain white flour
4 tsp. baking powder (that's 1 aussie Tbsp, or in American measure 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. soy milk
4 c. icing sugar
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. milk
2 T. nuttlex.
2-3 c. desiccated coconut (have plenty on hand so you can top up your supplies if you need to)
Heat oven to 190. Butter and flour an 8x12 inch pan. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this with a fork and it took 3 to 4 minutes, with breaks. Add vanilla, then egg replacers, mixing well. Add a small amount of the flour mixture, mixing well, then add a small amount of the soy milk, mixing further. Repeat, alternating flour and milk, until everything is mixed together. Pour and spread into prepared pan, and bake 30 to 40 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then turn out and cool fully. Chill overnight and cut into squares - I made 20 fairly big pieces.
In a large bowl, combine icing sugar and cocoa and stir until no lumps remain. In a small saucepan, heat soymilk and nuttelex until melted. Add to icing sugar mixture and combine thoroughly. Set up an assembly line - cake squares, bowl of icing, a plate of desiccated coconut (which is finer than shredded coconut, and also unsweetened), and then a wire rack set over a baking tray. I had a spoon and fork for the icing, and another spoon and fork for the coconut. Dip a cake square into the icing, turning it over and covering completely. Pick it up, let the excess icing drip for a moment, and quickly transfer to the coconut. Immediately roll around in the coconut and when coated on all sides, transfer to the wire rack. The pan underneath will catch any drips, but it doesn't take long at all for the icing to set. Continue with remaining cake squares, and if the wire rack fills up you should be able to move the earliest lamingtons to a plate with no worries.