It's Australia Day on 26th January 2013. If you fancy celebrating and aren't in BBQ mode (or the weather where you are isn't up to it), try making Lamingtons instead. Victoria shows how to make one of Australia's favourite tea time treats - cubes of light, fluffy sponge, covered in chocolate icing and dunked in desiccated coconut.
It’s Australia Day on Saturday. A public holiday for our friends down-under and a day for Australians all over the world to throw some snags on the Barbie, sink a few glasses of Bundaberg and catch up on the Neighbours omnibus. Although I’m not actually an Aussie, I am rather partial to a lamington (and a Bundaberg rum), and Australia Day seems as good a time as any to indulge.
Lamingtons are cubes of light, fluffy sponge, slathered in chocolate icing, before being dunked in desiccated coconut. They’re perfect for an afternoon lift with a cup of tea and make a nice change from our usual British fare. I have made traditional lamingtons many times before, but thought it might be nice to add an extra layer of sunshine this time round.
Australia’s record-breaking heat wave has seen temperatures soar to 49.6°C in Moomba, so it looks like their extra layer of sunshine is already a given. The grey streets of London, however, tell a much chillier tale, so my lamington sunshine comes in the form of tart and sweet passion fruit curd.
I love the refreshing, tropical tang of passion fruit and it works particularly well against the rich bitterness of dark chocolate. If you find your search for passion fruitless, lemon curd would be a delicious alternative.
I made a simple gluten free génoise, but a Victoria sponge will work just as well.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan)/350°F (325°F fan)/ Gas Mark 4.
Line a 23 x 33cm (9 x 13inch) roulade tray with baking parchment.
For the sponge
4 large eggs
125g caster sugar
25g butter, melted
A generous splash of vanilla extract
125g Plain or rice flour
For the chocolate icing
150g dark chocolate (I used Green & Blacks 70%)
50g unsalted butter
Passion fruit curd (either homemade or shop bought)
150g desiccated coconut
Place the eggs and sugar in a large heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Use an electric hand whisk to beat continuously until the mixture is hot. Carefully remove the bowl from the heat and continue to whisk on high speed for a good 5 minutes, or until the mixture has doubled in volume and is at the ribbon stage – pale, thick and mousse-like and leaves a slowly disappearing trail when you lift the beaters.
Whisk in the melted butter and vanilla before sifting over the flour. Fold in with a large metal spoon until fully combined. Be careful not to over-mix and knock the air out of the batter. Pour into your prepared roulade tray and bake for 10 -15 minutes or until the cake is springy and no longer sticky to touch. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack. Cut the sponge into 4cm x 4cm squares.
To make the icing, simply melt the chocolate with the butter in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of barely simmering water. Allow it to cool slightly, for dipping.
To assemble the lamingtons, sandwich two squares of sponge together with passion fruit curd and repeat with the rest of your squares of sponge. Pop the cakes in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Place a cake on a fork and dunk it in the chocolate icing, making sure it is fully coated on all sides. You can place the cakes on a wire rack and pour over the icing instead if you find it easier. Once covered dip the cakes in the desiccated coconut. Place on a plate and pop them back in the fridge to set.
For more passion fruit recipes visit Great British Chefs collection.
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