Lamingtons are such an Australian icon. When my mother made Lamingtons when I was a kid, it was a sign guests were coming. So for Australia Day I decided to create my own healthier version. Traditionally a vanilla sponge cake was cut into 4cm cubes, dipped into chocolate icing and rolled in coconut. The Lamington is now over 115 years old, named after Lord Lamington, who served as Governor of Queensland.
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Preheat oven to 170c/340f. Line the bottom and sides of a 22cm(8.5in) square cake tin with baking paper.
Add the eggs, milk, coconut sugar, ghee and vanilla to a blender. Blend using variable speed for 10 seconds, then increase to high for a further few seconds, until creamy and the coconut sugar has dissolved.
Add the almond meal to a large bowl. Sifted in the coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine. Pour the wet mixture from the blender into the bowl. Mix well to thoroughly combine.
Pour batter into the prepared cake tin and smooth over the top with a spatula.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the cake is coming away from sides and springs back when you touch the centre. Allow to cool in the tin for 20 minutes.
Place a wire cooling rack upside down on top of the cake tin, holding both together, turn the cake tin upside down so the cake slides out onto the rack. Let the cake finish cooling upside down.
Make your chocolate frosting while the cake is cooling. Place the frosting in the fridge to slightly firm up, but it must remain spreadable. When the cake is completely cooled, place your serving plate upside down on the cake and turn over ready for coating. (Chocolate Frosting recipe in Toppings & Spreads section.)
Coat the top and sides of your cake with the frosting. Use a spoon to sprinkle coconut evenly over the top and sides. You will need to turn your plate on an angle to get the coconut on the sides, use a pastry brush to dust off excess coconut from the plate. Place in fridge to set the frosting.
Option: To make traditional Lamingtons, place the cooled cake in the fridge for 1 hour to firm up, cut into 4cm squares. Using a knife or spatula, spread the chocolate frosting thinly over all four sides. Roll cake squares into the coconut, then refrigerate to set.
I have used large free range or organic eggs from a 700g carton in my recipes. Eggs are one of the few foods considered to be a complete protein because they contain all 9 essential amino acids, also studies have shown that lutein (yellow colour) in egg yolks protects against the progress of early heart disease.
To make cashew milk, soak raw cashews in filtered water with a pinch of sea salt. Allow to soak for 1 - 2 hours, drain and rinse well. Place in a high speed blender with filtered water and blend well. If using for cooking there is no need to strain. This is my preferred milk for adding to baked goods. Use 1 cup of cashews to 3 - 4 cups of water, depending on how creamy you prefer your milk, blend cashews with 1 cup of water first, then add remaining to you get a lovely smooth and creamy milk.
Coconut palm sugar is produced from the sap of the flower bud of the coconut palm tree and is a natural food sweetener. I use it when a dry sweetener is required. It has the benefit of a low glycemic index (low GI 35 compared to sugar at 68) and nutritional content. Use in baked goods as an occasional treat but don't over indulge.
Ghee is clarified butter, it is pure butter fat that has had the milk solids removed. You can get the flavour of butter in your cooking without the dairy (please don't consume if you have an allergy to ghee). My favourite brand is Organic Valley Purity Farms which I purchase online from iherb. It is also very easy to make yourself.
Use an organic vanilla extract (not an essence) or vanilla powder. Vanilla makes a big difference to the flavour of a recipe, I recommend keeping to the quantities I have stated in a recipe. I prefer Madagascar pure vanilla extract manufactured by ‘Simply Organic’ and for powder, Vanillamax 100% pure, finely ground Madagascar vanilla beans produced by Bulletproof.
The most favoured gluten/grain free flour substitute in my kitchen is almond meal. It is finely ground blanched almonds and is also known as almond flour. It has a slightly sweet flavour so you don’t have to add as much sweetener when baking with it. All kinds of nuts can be ground down to make a meal and are excellent for raw cheesecake or pie bases. Nut meals/flours are best stored in airtight containers in the fridge or freezer to prevent them going rancid.
Coconut flour is made by drying and grinding the meat of a coconut to a fine texture. Coconut flour is an excellent source of dietary fibre and protein. It's a good grain-free and nut-free alternative but does require a larger amount of liquid than normal when used for baked goods. When replacing in a recipe that calls for wheat flour (or almond meal), use this guide; 1 cup of regular flour = 1/3 cup coconut flour, add an extra egg and an extra 1/3 cup of liquid. There are now quite a few brands of coconut flour available and they all seem to perform differently depending on how coarse the texture is. In my recipes I have used Organic Coconut Flour from 'Let's Do Organic', I like its finer texture (I purchase from iherb.com).
Also known as Bicarbonate of Soda or Sodium Bicarbonate and is used as a rising agent in baking, it contains no gluten or grains. I use Bob's Red Mill baking soda as I find it rises better than other brands I've tried.
Baking Powder is a rising agent for baked goods. If substituting for baking soda you will need 4 times the quantity. Ensure you purchase a gluten free, no aluminum brand. Alternatively, you can make your own baking powder; 1 teaspoon of baking powder is equal to 1⁄4 teaspoon of baking soda and 1⁄2 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Note, that they should only be combined when preparing your recipe.
Raw pink Himalayan salt crystals is unlike common table salt which can be a highly refined industrial byproduct, otherwise know as sodium chloride. Himalayan salt is completely pure and may naturally balance the body's alkaline/acidity and regulate water content. In addition Himalayan salt helps in the absorption of nutrients from food and contains many trace minerals for healthy cell structure. I purchase fine pink Himalayan crystal salt so I can use it in my shaker and for cooking.
In the majority of my recipes where I use dried coconut, I use finely-shredded desiccated coconut (unless I have stated otherwise). Make sure you are purchasing unsweetened and organic - many regular brands contain preservatives (sulphur dioxide).