Saturday, 17 October 2009

Lamingtons & a new appliance

Having moved to London about 18 months ago, I do not have the collection of cooking utensils and appliances befitting someone with the incredible abilities I possess (I fear if this were true, all I'd deserve is a wooden spoon). For the past year and a half I have either avoided baking (preferring to buy my own meringues - oh the shame!), mixed by hand or shaken cream vigorously in a Tupperware container whilst jumping up and down for 20 minutes to whip it (below). At last I have splashed out and I am now the very very proud owner of a Dualit Hand Blender! It's the perfect contraption for the person who has nothing (using the word relatively) because it's essentially a barmix/stick wand wizzy thing which can blitz soups, but has other attachments meaning it can also beat and whisk, and can even attach to a small wizz! It's 4 appliances in one.
I have used it once, to make these lamingtons and found it incredibly powerful - even on the lowest setting I almost felt like I was jack hammering.

This recipe was the perfect way to test out the new Dualit (yet to be named by the way - any suggestions?) because to make the sponge cake you are required to beat eggs and sugar until thick and mousse-like which takes approximately 10 minutes.

I came to be making these lamingtons to take away for the weekend to friends in Folkstone, Dover. Most Australian school children will have grown up with these cakes which are covered in chocolate icing and coconut, and would most definitely have had to sell their fair share at a fund raising "lamington drive" (which really meant your parents bought $15 worth of lamingtons and you didn't even have to leave the house).

I had never thought of making them myself until Y reported back that our host for the weekend would be making pavlova "from scratch" (why do infrequent cooks always feel the need to specify that something is made "from scratch"? I always assume it would be until told otherwise - kind of like being innocent until proven guilty) for an Australian themed dessert. Clearly I needed to step up and Y's idea to go to the Australian Shop in Covent Garden to buy some Iced Vo-Vo biscuits was not going to cut it. I would make lamingtons FROM SCRATCH!

I firstly (the day before you need the lamingtons) beat 5 eggs with 1/4 cup caster sugar for 10 minutes until very thick.

Melt 60g unsalted butter and let cool.

Fold through 150g flour gently into the egg mixture.

Drizzle the melted butter down the sides of the bowl and combine.

Bake for 15-18 minutes in 180 degree oven. This recipe is from Stephanie Alexander's "Cook's Companion" and she says under no circumstances should you open the oven door in the first 15 minutes of cooking. I wouldn't risk it if I were you.

Take sponge cake out of oven and leave to cool.

The next day, slice your sponge into 5cm squares and refrigerate for about 30-60 minutes.
You will need to make the chocolate icing which is 1T cocoa powder, 8T icing sugar, 1T boiling water and 1T melted butter. You have to be able to dip the pieces of cake into the icing, so I added more water to make my icing runnier.

In another bowl you need desiccated coconut.
Stephanie says "some cooks dip the cake square in melted jam before the chocolate icing" - and if that's not a red rag to a bull, I don't know what is. Heat strawberry jam in a small saucepan until runny - you may need to add a little water.

So basically you have an assembly line of cake squares, melted jam, chocolate icing, desiccated coconut and a wire rack. Y stepped up to man the coconut station, for which I was very grateful.

You then stick a fork in a piece of cake, dip and cover in the melted jam, then the icing, then cover in coconut, onto the wire rack and you're done. Piece of cake? Almost.
The result looked very home made, but recognisably a lamington. We will taste them later on Saturday afternoon. If I never mention them again, you can assume they were rubbish.


Kerri said...

We don't have a Dualit hand blender but I do remember when we bought ours that it changed our lives. A little dramatic perhaps but it certainly did make things a lot easier in the kitchen and opened up a whole new world in terms of recipes I couldn't previously be bothered with for fear of my arms falling off.

How about Delila for the name? And what a beautiful flat you have.

Lex said...

Hi Kerri - I don't think it at all dramatic to suggest a kitchen appliance can change lives! I'm very excited and am already dreaming of the soups I can blend and egg whites I can beat. Obviously the strength of my biceps will diminish however!

I LOVE Delia as a name - perfect! Thankyou!

Dan said...

The hand blender jobby - I don't have the Dualit version, but love my Braun version dearly. Especially the plastic pot with chopper attachment, I make loads of stuff in it - Pesto, hummous, chopping parmesan if I can't be bothered to grate large's like a mini magimix, fantastically useful. The only thing I rarely use is the stick blender - soup blending attachment (OK - I admit I have no idea what the attachments are called)....anyway, that one I've only used about twice.

Food Urchin said...

Wow you look over the moon with that box in your hand but please wear slippers around the house, you'll catch a cold on that floor.

The lamingtons look delicious, a worthy first outing for your new Dualit.

Lex said...

Hi Dan - I think you'll find the technical term is "soupy blending wizzy wandy thingy".

Food Urchin - aw, bless - I am now wearing woolie socks with special grip on the bottom so I don't go sliding on the floor. Thanks for your concern.

Bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets) said...

Hello Lex,

I just discovered your blog through London Food and Drink. My name is Bethany and I write the blog here in London as well. A few other bloggers and I are organizing a conference on Food Blogging on the 28th of November, 2009 in London.

We would love it if you could join us. Depending on the number of food bloggers who RSVP, we hope to also have guest speakers talking about relevant issues to Food Blogging such as “How To Improve On Food Photography” or “What Makes A Good Food Blog” amongst others. In any case, it will be an opportunity to meet other food bloggers, some of which are coming from France, Germany and even India, and network, eat delicious food and have a good laugh.

For more information please visit

We hope to see you there.

Bethany and the other organisers; Mowie Kay- Mowielicious, Jamie Schler- Life’s a Feast and Hilda Saffari- Saffron & Blueberry