The Darling Baker archives contain very few chocolate-based recipes, unless you count white chocolate.* This impromptu combination continues the lamington tradition while offending an Australian one — replacing the cocoa-heavy coating and (optional) strawberry jam mid-layer with white chocolate and blueberry jam + lemon curd.
The lamingtons of my childhood were often the size of a Rubik’s cube… and drier than the Australian outback. These bright, sweet gems are about a quarter of the size, and the sponge — from David Lebovitz’s lamington recipe — is something magic: homogenous, soft, ‘humid’ and fluffy, but pliable and non-crumbling. In a word: pillowy.
You can improvise everything else — as I did — but don’t stray from the sponge recipe.
For the sponge
70 g melted butter
6 large eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used 1 tsp lemon juice)
1 + 1/3 cup cake flour (you can easily make your own if you don’t have it lying around)
For the blueberry filling
1 cup frozen blueberries
2 tsp cornflour
1/3 cup caster sugar
…Or just grab a jar of blueberry jam
For the lemon curd
1 batch of my lime and ginger curd
…Or just grab a jar of lemon curd
For the white chocolate + coconut coating
360 g (2x 180 g blocks) white chocolate
40 g butter
3/4 cup whole milk
3 cups icing mixture
3–4 cups shredded or desiccated coconut**
- Begin with the sponge.
Butter two square 2L Pyrex baking dishes — or a large lamington tin — and line with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180° C.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan or the microwave. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or a large bowl with hand mixers) beat the eggs, sugar and salt on a high speed for 5–10 minutes. You should have a thick, pale batter that sits in defined ‘ribbons’ on the surface when you lift up the whisk/beaters.
- Add the vanilla (or lemon juice) and whisk for a few seconds more.
- Switch to a hand whisk. Sift the cake flour onto the batter about 3 tbsp at a time, gently folding in with the whisk as you go.
- Repeat this process with the melted butter (minus the sieve), carefully folding with the whisk until all the butter is incorporated.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared baking dishes, then bake at 180° C for about 30 minutes, switching the position of the dishes halfway through if (as in my oven) your top shelf cooks faster than the bottom. The sponges are ready when they’re uniformly golden on top and have started to shrink away from the edge of the baking dish/baking paper. You can also test to see if a bamboo skewer goes in/comes out cleanly — this sponge will hold its form despite ruthless poking, and you’ll be cutting it up anyway.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and leave them to cool completely in the baking dishes while you prepare everything else.
(This is what the inside will look like when you cut it open later. Quite heavenly.)
- For the filling…
If you’re not using store-bought jam and lemon curd, now is the time to make your own.
- If you’re making curd, my butterless lime and ginger curd is a quick and easy one (and you can leave out the ginger).
- To make the blueberry jam/sauce, add the frozen blueberries, cornflour and sugar to a small saucepan and heat over a low/medium flame, stirring frequently, until you’ve got berries swimming in a thin syrup.
- Grab a stick blender and pulverise the berries — it’s okay to leave some chunks, but you want something spreadable.
- Return to the stovetop and keep heating/stirring until the cornflour thickens and you have a jammy sauce. Set aside to cool slightly.
- For the white chocolate coating…
Roughly chop the white chocolate and put it in medium metal bowl with the milk and butter. Heat over a small saucepan of boiling water (or some other double-boiler arrangement), stirring constantly until you have a velvety sauce.
- Whisk in the icing mixture a few tablespoons at a time until it’s completely incorporated.
- Set aside briefly while you…
Carefully lift or turn the sponges out of the baking dishes, and — using a very good bread knife or sharp chef’s knife — cut each one along the horizontal plane so you have two sandwiches, ready to fill.
- Spread the blueberry jam on the inner surface of the bottom layer — all the way to the edges. Do the same with the lemon curd on the inside of the top layer.
- Sandwich the layers together, press down lightly with the palm of your hand so they stick together, and cut them into 16 squares/cubes (4 rows down, 4 rows across).
- Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Give the chocolate sauce a stir in case it thickened unevenly while you were sandwiching the sponge. Pour the coconut into a separate large bowl.
- Take a cube of sponge in your left hand and drop it into the chocolate sauce. Still with your left hand, carefully rotate the cake in the mixture to coat all surfaces evenly, then wipe off any excess on the side of the bowl, and carefully drop it into the bowl of coconut.
- Using your RIGHT hand, carefully toss the chocolate-covered sponge around in the coconut, making sure all surfaces are covered.
- Still using your right hand, rescue the lamington from the coconut and place it on the lined baking sheet to dry.
- Repeat and repeat and repeat.
- When you’re done, every surface of the kitchen should be covered in melted white chocolate and bits of coconut. Put the lamingtons — still on the baking paper — into a large airtight container. You can stack multiple layers with baking paper in between — they’re so light they won’t crush each other. Then pop them into the fridge for half an hour to let the coating set (and settle in).
- Serve at Summertime room temperature in a sunny backyard, with pineapple punch and/or white wine.
*Most don’t. I’m not anti-chocolate, but I do find it boring to bake with. If I ever post a truly chocolatey recipe, it’ll have to be something really special.
**Desiccated is more traditional, but this recipe isn’t. I used shredded.