Lamington Cake with Balsamic Strawberry Jam

Happy Australia Day to all you Aussies! I hope everyone is having a relaxing long weekend 🙂 As a country, Australia does not really have a defined cuisine of its own. I guess it has something to do with being derived from Britain, and not really having a whole lot of history of our own. However, there is one sweet that we do claim do be our own (aside from the humble Pav, of course!). It is the delicious Lamington. If you do not know what a Lamington is, you are missing out, big time! They are slices of sponge-y cake, filled with jam, and covered in chocolate icing and coconut. Yum! I had actually never made a Lamington before, so I wasn’t sure how it would go, but I decided on a cake version for my Mum’s birthday, and I must say, it was delicious, and a big hit.

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I was going to use the recipe from the ‘BAKE’ book, from the Australian’s Women’s Weekly (AWW are the go-to’s for great recipes for many Aussies), for normal Lamington’s. However, I just had to look on my favourite site, Taste, of course, to see if they may have had a recipe for a cake. Luckily, I found the perfect one with great reviews, so I went with that, with a few of my own additions. I guess I could be more sure of the measurements this way, instead of having to adapt a slice into a cake. Anyhoo, the recipe was great – easy to follow and not ridiculously time consuming, either. Winner 🙂

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Lamington Cake: (recipe from Taste.com)

  • Cooking oil spray, to grease
  • 1/2 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/4 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1/4 cup cornflour
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup caster (white) sugar
  • 2 cups coconut
  • 250ml thickened cream
  • 1/3 cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/natural extract

Preheat your oven to 180c/356f. Grease two 20cm round springform baking tins with cooking oil spray, and line with non-stick baking paper. Set aside.

Sift all three flours into one bowl. In a separate bowl, beat all of the eggs, and the sugar, for approximately ten minutes, or until the mixture is thick, pale and creamy. Then, sift half of the flour mixture into egg mixture, and  gently fold it in with a metal spoon until well combined. Repeat with the remaining flour. Make sure the flour is all combined as it can be difficult to see in a large bowl – the flour will just sink to the bottom. And remember to be gentle as you don’t want to knock too much air out of the sponge.

Divide the mixture evenly into the 2 prepared tins. Smooth the surfaces with a metal spoon to ensure the mixture is even. Bake for 12-15 minutes (mine took 14, but ensure you check at 12). Insert a skewer to ensure cake is cooked – the skewer will come out clean. Leave in tins to cool, then place on a wire rack.

Chocolate Icing:

  • 2 cups icing (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 1/3 cup good quality cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup water

Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl together, and add the water. Mix well until combined and smooth. Pour the icing into a large, shallow dish. Pour the coconut out onto a large baking tray.

Place one side of the sponge cake into the icing, cover the sides, then dip the other side of the sponge in the icing. Cover in coconut and place on a large cake stand. Repeat with remaining sponge cake, except place this one on a plate or another baking tray. I found this process super messy and it took me a while, but I got there in the end!

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Balsamic Strawberry Jam:

  • 1 medium punnet of strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/natural extract
  • 1 cup caster (white) sugar
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Splash of water

Place strawberries and water (I literally used a splash, just to moisten the strawberries) in a medium sized saucepan. Cook on a medium heat until the berries begin to soften (about 2 minutes). Add the vanilla and sugar, and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, or until strawberries have broken down. Add balsamic vinegar, and continue cooking on low until mixture becomes a sticky, jam like consistency. Pour into a bowl, and leave to cool. If you are not using the jam on the day of making it, cover with cling wrap and place it in the fridge. I made my jam two days beforehand.

Lamington Cake

Assembly:

Whip up 250ml thickened cream, with 1/3 cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar, and 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste/natural extract. With one sponge cake already on the cake stand, cover with whipped cream, ensuring you spread the cream right to the edges of the cake (if you want to decorate it like my cake, leave a little bit of cream behind to pipe on top). Then, spread over the strawberry jam – although this time don’t spread it right to the edges, leave about 1cm. Place the other sponge on top of the cream and jam. Decorate as desired 🙂 EAT!

Messy goodness

HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY! (check out my past Australia Day posts here.)

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Aussie Beach Bum Cookies

Happy (belated) Australia Day! I hope all you Aussies had a great long weekend and celebrated with some snags on the barbie, a meat pie and a pav! If you are not an Aussie, you should definitely still celebrate with some snags on the barbie, a meat pie and a pav – or make some of these super cute and cheeky beach bum cookies to embrance your inner Australian! I saw these cookies on Pinterest a while ago, and just had to make them – they are too cute! They are really easy to make and decorate too.
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This recipe is once again from the fantastic Sweetapolita – they are basically the vanilla version of the Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies with Gingerbread Buttercream that I made for Christmas. I halved the recipe, and I still had close to 50 cookies, so if you do not want that many, you could simply halve it again. You can put any flavour you like in the cookies as well. I was loyal to the recipe and kept the vanilla bean with a touch of lemon, but you could use any type of extract or oil really, such as Strawberry, Orange, or even Musk.
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Vanilla Sugar Cookies: (adapted from Sweetapolita – this post has a great tutorial on making sugar cookies, too!)
  • 1 cup butter – softened, not melted
  • 1 cup caster (white) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups (approx.) icing sugar mixture
  • Water
  • Cachous and sprinkles, to decorate
  • Colouring gels

Preheat the oven to 160c fan forced, 170c non fan forced. Line 4 oven trays with baking paper, and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg until well combined. Sift flour and salt in a separate bowl, and gradually stir, with a wooden spoon, into the butter and sugar mixture. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth – keep adding flour in very small amounts if dough is still sticky. Divide dough into two batches, wrap tightly in cling wrap, and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Once dough is chilled, roll it out with a rolling pin, between two sheets of baking paper, until the dough is just under 1cm thick. With a heart shaped cookie cutter, carefully cut the shapes from the dough and place on the baking paper. When you have a full tray, gently and quickly cut the bottoms of the hearts off with a sharp, non-cerated knife. You don’t want to use a cerated bread and butter knife because it’s not sharp enough, and will cut a rough edge, rather than a clean edge. The only thing I would do differently when I make these again, would be to get a larger cookie cutter and cut off more from the bottom of the heart, so that they look like bigger, rounder bums!! Bake cookies in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes – make sure you check at 10 minutes! TIP – Don’t wait until the cookies begin to go brown – once the edges a even a tiny bit brown, the biscuits will be that overcooked you could nearly break your teeth on them! Make sure all the cookies are still completely ‘blonde.’ Let the cookies cool completely on the trays or wire racks until completely cool – you don’t want the icing to melt off!

 Cookies

To make the icing, combine icing sugar mixture with a tiny amount of water to make a paste. You can make as many or as little colours as you like – three was enough for me. Add a little of the colouring gel and a small amount of vanilla and stir until combined. Place icing in a piping bag fitted with a realllllllly small round nozzle. If you don’t have one, never fear! You can use a snap lock bag and cut the corner off. Decorate the cookies by piping different shapes and colours of underwear! G-Strings are the easiest to do 😛 The icing dries really quickly, so decorate the cookies as you go.

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I can’t believe it is the end of January already, it seemed like only yesterday it was Christmas! Happy belated Australia Day, and I’ll see you in February 🙂 Also, check out my music player on the side of the page, I will putting up some of my favourite songs for you to listen to when you come and visit!