Australian Lamingtons

This week the arrival of Passover reminded me of my friend Jessie’s amazing flourless cake recipe which we featured here a couple of year’s ago (http://www.hammertown.com/2012/03/flourless-chocolate-cake/). Jessie is an incredible baker with a flair for the unique and unexpected. Her desserts are always flawless, never too sweet, with balanced flavors that satisfy your sweet tooth and challenge your taste buds. I love taking bites of her delicacies and delving through the layers of flavor to discover a secret ingredient….almond paste, orange essence, lavender or some other subtle and delicious addition to an otherwise classic concoction.   My favorite to date were rice crispy treats made with homemade marshmallow subtly flavored with cardamon.

I am very happy to announce that Jessie is launching her own blog featuring her favorite tried and true baked delicacy recipes. With her vast experience as a recipe developer and cookbook author, you can be assured these recipes are worth trying in your home. This week we decided to feature one of the recipes from her new blog, Australian Lamingtons (http://jessiesheehan.com/2014/03/15/lamingtons/). Frankly, I had never heard of them until reading her blog but I plan to make some with my kids for Easter Sunday. One thing I know for sure…the recipe will be foolproof! Enjoy.

(Yield: 24 to 28 (depending on how small you cut your squares)

Ingredients:

— for the coconut cake:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsps coconut extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup cream of coconut, such as Coco Lopez, stirred with a fork until pourable

— for the chocolate coconut coating:

  • 3 to 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • scant 1/2 cup coconut cream (this should be about how much cream you have left over after having used one cup for the cake)
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
  • 3 to 4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

To make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. butter a 13 by 9 by 2 inch pan (or spray with pam), line with parchment and butter (or spray) the paper. Set aside.

Sift the flours, baking powder and salt together.  Whisk briefly after sifting to confirm the ingredients are thoroughly combined. set side.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium speed, cream the butter, oil, sugar and extract together until fluffy.  Add the eggs and the yolk one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the cream of coconut, and beginning and ending with the dry.  Beat for an additional 30 seconds. Remove the bowl from the mixer and give the ingredients a final stir with a rubber spatula.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, smooth the top with a small offset spatula and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let the cake cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pan has cooled enough to handle. Flip the cake on to the rack and invert it on to another rack. Once cool, place in the refrigerator or freezer overnight (cold cake is much easier to cut into squares and dip into chocolate coating).

To make the chocolate coconut coating:

Sift the confectioners sugar, cocoa powder and salt into a medium mixing bowl.  Set aside.

Pour the coconut cream into a liquid measuring cup (if the cream is not pourable, stir it with a fork first).  Add boiling water to the measuring cup until you have 2/3 of a cup of liquid. Add the liquid to a small sauce pan along with the butter and over medium heat, melt the butter and warm the liquid. Once melted and warm, pour the liquid over the sugar and cocoa powder, and whisk until smooth. Rinse the sauce pan you just used (no reason to dirty another) and fill it halfway with water. place it over medium heat and place the bowl of warm chocolate coconut coating in the sauce pan (i.e., prepare a bain marie).  This will keep the coating fluid as you dip.

To assemble:

Place the shredded coconut in a shallow bowl.

Remove the cake from the refrigerator/freezer. using a sharp knife, trim the sides of the cake.  Slice the cake into 24 squares (for larger pieces) or 28 (for smaller pieces).

Working one square at a time, and using a large fork (or two) or a slotted spoon, carefully lower the cake into the chocolate coating (yes, i used my fancy tweezers previously put to work in my doughnut hole post).  Gently move the cake around in the chocolate til completely coated.  Carefully lift the cake out of the coating, letting any excess drip off, and transfer the square to the bowl of coconut (don’t fret if the coating suffers a bit from being manhandled – the coconut will cover up most imperfections).

Using a spoon, scoop up the coconut and pour it over the cake (you can also just roll the cake around in the coconut – you just want to try to avoid actually touching the cake with anything but the coconut).  Once coconut covered, use a fork (or spoon, tweezers, etc. – whatever allows you to lift the square without disturbing the coating) to transfer the coated cake to a cooling rack, until dry, about 1 to 2 hours.

Lamingtons will keep for about 3 days or so, tightly covered on the counter.  You might also try freezing them for up to two weeks or so (first on a cookie sheet, and then, once frozen, transfer them (in a single layer) to a zip-lock bag.  I’m a big fan of freezing.  Let the Lamingtons come to room temperature before serving.

Note: The last time I made lamingtons, I cut my cake into 30 pieces and ended up running out of coating.  I added a bit of boiling water to the tiny bit of coating I had left, and was able to dip my final few pieces in that – those Lamingtons had a slightly thinner, not quite as flavorful coating, but were actually very tasty in their own right. bottom line, I recommend sticking to larger lamingtons (i.e., cutting 24 to 28 squares).