Wednesday, May 27, 2015
For the May challenge Marcellina from Marcellina in Cucina dared us to make Lamingtons. An Australian delicacy that is as tasty as it is elegant.
I knew this was going to get messy but I am not afraid of a mess, especially a chocolate one. There was a rumor that went around the catering kitchen I worked in many years ago that when Evelyn worked with chocolate , everyone wore chocolate home that day. The rumor was started by my beloved co-worker and I do believe that there was a lot of truth to it. So, I waited for a day when I could leisurely make a mess and then just as leisurely clean it up. I recommend this tactic when you decide to make Lamingtons.
I have attached the PDF for the challenge here in case you want the full scoop about the history and assorted recipes/ troubleshooting for the Lamingtons.
I veered away from the recipes a bit. I made a coffee raspberry butter cake as my cake base. You can get that recipe here and to that recipe add 1 tablespoon espresso powder to the milk and 1/2 teaspoon raspberry extract along with the vanilla extract. Also, as an aside, you can tinker different flavoring with the base recipe quite a bit; it is very forgiving.
One other difference was that I rolled some of the Lamingtons in crushed chocolate cookie crumbs. I was not convinced that the coconut would be well received. I was wrong. The coconut versions were adored and devoured. They were also the prettiest so I am sure I will stay classic with the coconut in future baking.
Here are a few of my own troubleshooting recommendations(lessons learned the hard way):
1. Make sure the cake is a day old. Freshly baked cake will fall apart during the chocolate dipping phase.
2. Don't skimp on the chocolate! Also, I added a bit of safflower oil to the chocolate to thin it a bit. I cannot give an amount as it depends on the brand chocolate and how old it is. I can tell you that for one pound of Ghiradelli morsels, I used 2 tablespoons oil. I advise adding a tablespoon at a time until you get your desired consistency. And what is that?? I like the consistency where it drops evenly and quickly from a fork but leave a thin coating on that fork.
3. Use a cake rack and put parchment paper or wax paper underneath it to catch the drippings. That way you can reuse the chocolate. I dipped the Lamingtons and then let them sit on the rack for a few minutes before tossing in the coconut. This reduced the globbing of chocolate in the coconut for me. After dipping about 10 Lamingtons, the first ones were ready for coconut coating.
4. Make sure you have a crowd waiting for these. There will be a lot of them. I cut my cake into approximately 1 1/2 inch squares and I practically fed the neighborhood. Here are a few photos to get you excited or if you are a neat freak, send you running and screaming. I hope you get excited.