Monday, 27 January 2014


International travel is a funny thing. One day you're standing on a Californian cliff overlooking the Pacific, staring out at migrating grey whales, and the next you're on the other side of that same ocean, having migrated yourself on the Airbus A380. In a matter of hours. Well, thirteen or so. Give or take. But still, you get my point. It's disorienting. So I cooked. In my own kitchen. To help me get my bearings. It was Australia Day, so I made lamingtons. For those of you back on the other side the world, lamingtons are a particularly Australian childhood treat: squares of soft sponge, dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut. You can find them at any country town bakery, right next to the vanilla slices, apple turnovers and Neenish tarts.

The cake is usually stale, the chocolate coating thin and teeth-jarringly sweet and more of the coconut - in its desiccated form - ends up on your clothes than in your mouth. Don't get me wrong, this doesn't mean they're a disappointment. In my book, there's no such thing as a bad lamington but this version kicks things up a notch, quality-wise. The sponge is light and fresh, the chocolate rich, thick and infused with orange, and the shredded coconut clinging to the outside is as shaggy and strange and spectacular as the Joshua trees I left behind in the American desert. It's a small world after all.

Adapted from a recipe in Gourmet Traveller

The addition of the orange zest in the chocolate ganache coating is inspired by my deep love of Terry's Chocolate Orange, the best gift chocolate one can ever give or receive, in my humble opinion. But if you're not a fan of the chocolate/orange combination, feel free to leave it out.

4 eggs
125g caster (superfine) sugar 
125g flour
15g butter, melted
300g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
150g pouring cream
200g shredded coconut
zest of one orange

Preheat oven to 190 deg C. 

Whisk eggs and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water for 5-10 minutes or until warm, pale and frothy. Transfer to an electric mixer and whisk on high speed for 10 minutes or until mixture has tripled in volume. Sift over flour in batches and, using a metal spoon, fold gently to comine between additions. Just before adding the last of the flour, fold through melted butter. 

Pour batter into a lightly-greased and base-lined 20cm square cake pan. Bake in centre of oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer withdraws clean. Stand in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn out onto the rack and cool completely.

Combine chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. When chocolate begins to melt, add orange zest and stir gently til combined. Set aside in a warm place.

Scatter coconut over a tray. Cut sponge cake into 16 even squares. Using two forks, dip each square into the chocolate mixture and shake to remove excess. Roll each square in coconut and place on a wire rack. Stand for at least 1 hour or until chocolate sets. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 3 days. 


  1. For special occasions my mum used always make the pink jelly lamingtons as well as the chocolate ones. Love the addition of the orange zest - orange and chocolate is always an unbeatable combination

  2. Look DEEVINE! And what's a little s the fun pink plate! It takes on an ice cube tray quality if you look at it fleetingly, even tho it's flat! Going to try a slightly different recipe - stay tuned.