Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Translation Tuesday -Dedicated to Bridging (or Widening) the Cultural Divide

This one is for you Brenda.

Cooeeeee Cobbers! Since it seems my last Translation Tuesday post about Vegemite , while popular, really grossed people out, I'm atoning this week with something everyone should be able to  enjoy.

Last week , I mentioned Lamingtons and Brenda asked what they were. Lamingtons are Australian tea cakes. There is debate about their origin but they seem to have been around since at least the early 1900’s, so that makes the recipe over 100 years old. And we Aussies are still eating them. Not the same original ones, which would no doubt be petrified by now-but new batches of lovely lamingtons.  If you think of Lamingtons as the Aussie version of Brownies you'll  have a fair idea of their iconic-ness. (I'm pretty sure I just made that word up)

By the way , making Lamingtons is a REALLY messy business. You’re probably going to end up with stuff everywhere , or perhaps that's just me. I'm just warning you. The mess is worth it.

This recipe is taken from the Green and Gold cookbook, which is a South Aussie icon, first published in 1923. It is now in it’s 36th edition and over ½ a million copies have been sold. I love old cookbooks and inherited some from my Nanna when she passed away in 2008. I make things from them all the time.  Enough with the history and on with the post.

You can either do the cake for this recipe from scratch or you can buy a box/packet  cake which will make it easier. Regardless of whether you choose a box cake or make your own, make it the day before you want to eat these lamingtons, because it really is better if the cake is not fresh. Trust me on this. And, if you go box cake , get something that is dense like butter, madeira or pound cake. Sponge or light cake doesn’t work nearly as well (although you do see lamingtons made from sponge  all the time at bakeries here - and in my opinion they arent true lamingtons- too fluffy.)

If you use a box cake then you can skip down to the dipping part of this post. For the rest of us you will need:

225 grams (1 cup ) butter
1 and 1/2 cups of white sugar ( I used castor because I ran out of regular)
4 eggs        
1 cup of milk                                                             
3 cups of Self Raising Flour

This makes two 8x8 inch square cakes. So if you only want one halve the recipe. I bake two and throw one whole cake in the freezer so I don't have to go through this  trauma next time I want lamingtons. Excuse my picture quality because my kitchen was really dark even with the lights on  when I took these pictures because it was overcast outside. When I get my new kitchen, I'm sure the weather will be sunny all the time... 

Cream the butter and sugar

Add eggs two at a time beating well between additions.

then chuck in your milk and flour and beat until well combined and you'll end up with this


Chuck it in a greased 8 x 8 inch pan (or two if you didn't halve the recipe  )  and turf it in the oven on about 190C (around 350-375F) for about 35-45 minutes. Cooking time  will depend on whether you have one of the awesome fan forced ovens or not, whether it's a full moon, or whether your oven is possessed by evil baking spirits. Do the spring back test to check for cooked-ness. (It would appear I am making up words left right and centre today)

Then leave the cake to cool on a  rack and store it in the fridge or a tupperware container on a bench for 12-24 hours.

OK,  box cake cheaters, you can come back now because this is the stuff you need to know.

Meanwhile back at the ranch , it is now the next day.Cut all the side edges off your cake and cut it into 12 or 16 squares of roughly the same size. I usually go 12 squares because you get a bigger lamington, but I didn't want to convey the idea that I was piggy for this post so I did 16 squares (but I just confessed to liking my lamingtons BIG so you know I'm piggy anyway so that was kind of pointless really)

In a deep bowl , mix around 5 cups of icing sugar and around 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder.

Then add a tablespoon or two of boiling water or cold milk and mix it up. You want it to be sloppy enough to dip your cake squares , but  not so sloppy that it won't soak into them. I like my mix a little bit more dense. Just keep adding water/milk and icing sugar till you get the right consistency. This amount of slop wonderful chocolate mix is enough to do 1 cake worth of lamingtons. Mine looked like this

In another bowl add about three cups of coconut. Don't put the coconut away because you may need more. It's surprising how much coconut you need. I often marvel at where it all goes...

Dip the cake squares  in the chocolate mix making sure to coat every surface  and let the excess drain away.  Then throw it in the coconut and roll it around covering all the surfaces, and then put it on a wire  rack to dry. I pretty much soak each cake square in there for a minute or so  to soak up all that chocolatey goodness.

It's actually really hard to dip with one hand, roll in coconut with the other hand and take pictures...It was inevitable I would end up with coconut all over my camera.

When you're done this is what you'll have

Voila! Lamingtons!

Plus mess...

The beauty of these cakes is that if you have a stale pound or madeira cake you can make lamingtons out of it . Beat that Nigella. These will keep for 2-3 days in a sealed container. And if you aren't talking like an Aussie by the time you finish eating these, there's something wrong with you. It is imperative to say Aussie type things while eating lamingtons, such as "Beaudy" and "Crikey". If you don't your head might explode.

Another tip: Make sure you don’t eat these in the dark.....

And also if you type coconut fast like I do , sometimes a bad word appears as a typo. Sorry if any of those got through. I did check carefully but accidents happen.

And Vegemite won't make your butt fat but lamingtons probably will.  


Sarcastic Quilter said...

looks yummy!

Baa-Me Kniits said...

Great photos! Now I am hungry! If you do Tim Tams next Tuesday everyone is going to think we Aussies are obsessed with food and I am going to get fat from reading your Blog ;-)

Mistea said...

Well they do look yummy - but I'm sure I couldn't make them with only that little bit of mess! My kitchen is usually bathed in coconut by the time I am finished.
(hope you enjoyed more than one - as you cut them so small)

Paulette said...

Ooh, those look mighty good!!

Brenda said...

I may have to whip up a cake today to make these tomorrow - although I probably couldn't wait until tomorrow to make 'em. What if I just left the cake out on the counter and got it stale faster? They do look delicious! Thanks for the tutorial - you're getting to be quite the expert tutorial creator! I'm glad you put pictures, because we call "icing sugar" - "Powdered sugar" over here, but I could tell from your pic what it was!

Elizabeth said...

What time is tea (or whenever you're serving these)? I'll be right over! Those look amazing! And the post about eating them in the dark is infinitely more funny now!

TheLab said...

You need to write a cookbook. Even if they are someone else's recipes, I'd read your cook book because you're hilarious.

I'm emailing this recipe to myself to make! I LOVE making things from other cultures! Love it! Exciting!

Cool thing is, I'm pretty sure I have all of the ingredients, so I don't need to wait until my next grocery trip.

Unknown said...

I am so glad you posted the photos! It makes me want to get my bowls out and start cooking! Ugh ... why did I pick this week to start the weight battle again? Please tell me there are no calories in this. I did see calorie free mentioned somewhere didn't I???

Cynthia L. said...

Just thought of this as I was looking at the photos again (mouth watering). Are they called Lamingtons because they look like little fuzzy sheep?

Marg said...

Crikey,Yummmm, I have never made these. I am beginning to wonder if I am even an Aussie, not eating Vegemite, never made Lamingtons. I always thought it would be too hard and not worth the mess, I was obviously very very wrong. They look heaps yummier than the bought ones.
Congratulations on no bad word typos.
Cynthia these will not put hairs on your chest, they are good and safe, except for the calorie count.

Alisa said...

I guess I'm trying to figure out why you sent your friend Vegemite instead of these?
Or maybe you just don't like her that much anymore?
Those look delicious!

seabreezequilts said...

Very impressed that you make your own. I have 2 editions of the Green & Gold, I have my own plus my nan's might even have my greatnan's somewhere in all my inherited crap... sorry paperwork. Very impressed that you made them from scratch. Foodland do a nice lamington that saves so much time.

Lisa said...

Oh my goodness.... you're killing me!! Those look absolutely awesome and yummy.... but I'm avoiding carbs to loose weight. Could you at least eat a couple for me.... if there are any left?!? =)

vawriter said...

Lamingtons! Sort of a cake-y Mounds bar, I betcha.

Breaking News!! I was wandering the cookie aisle at my grocery store at 9:00 p.m. when something jumped into my cart of its own volition. When I looked carefully, I found it was a package of ....TIM TAMS! I managed to get home without breaking the cellophane, but just barely. These are seriously good cookies. Oreos are still my fave, though, the Double Stuff Filling kind, of course.

AnnieO said...

I was introduced to Tim Tams and they are yummy. Loving the look of the lamingtons much more than the vegemite!

Shirley said...

Wow that looks good. I can see why the cake needs to dry a bit. I think I gained 5 pounds (or do you use stone like the Brits?) just reading it.