(Makes 16 squares)
In her late 70s my nan decided to take herself off to Western Australia to visit some distant relatives. This may not sound strange but this was a woman who had never travelled further than Scotland by car and had never set foot outside the British Isles let alone travel by plane. And she did it on her own.
She returned with tales of the rugged countryside and the warm Aussie hospitality. She also had stuffed her suitcase with the most enormous lemons I had ever seen (which evidently grew in one of the relative’s garden) and several envelopes of wild flower seeds. I’m pretty sure it’s illegal (or at least frowned upon) to bring these items into the country but as she assured us ‘they’re not gong to stop a little old lady like me at customs, are they?’. She’s 98 now and to this day you can still see kangaroo paws growing in her garden.
She also brought back a recipe for Lamingtons. She would make these cakes as a treat for my brother and I who much preferred them to her usual Victoria Sandwich. Lamingtons are straightforward if messy to make. You can use a basic 4 egg sponge mix baked in a 23cm² square cake tin. Traditionally they are coated in chocolate icing or sometimes dipped in red jelly before being coated in desiccated coconut. I’ve made mine using a citrus Earl Grey sponge in deference to those lemons she smuggled into the country all those years ago. I’ve also used two coatings – dark chocolate for the grown ups and raspberry jam for the kids. If you would rather use one coating just double the ingredients for either the chocolate or jam below. It seems fitting to post this recipe today on the weekend that our antipodean cousins commemorated the 100th anniversary of the battle of Gallipoli, now known as ANZAC day.
- 125ml whole milk
- 4 x Earl Grey Tea Bags
- 250g softened unsalted butter
- 250g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 250g self raising flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 250g dark chocolate
- 250g seedless raspberry or strawberry jam
- 300g desiccated coconut
- Pre-heat the oven to 180℃. Grease and line the base of a 23cm² square brownie tin.
- Heat the milk in a small saucepan to boiling point. Remove from the heat and add the tea bags. Infuse for 10 minutes then remove the tea bags squeezing out as much liquid as possible.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Mix in the flour and baking powder followed by the infused milk and lemon zest.
- Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for around 25 minutes or until an skewer comes out clean when inserted. Allow to cool in the tin for a while before turning out onto a cooling rack. When completely cool cut into 16 squares.
- Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heat proof bowl above a small pan of barely simmering water (do not allow the bowl to touch the water). Meanwhile, microwave the jam for 10-30 seconds until it is runny (or heat gently in a pan). Divide the coconut between two plates. Take a cube of cake and dip one side into the liquid chocolate or jam (be aware that both of these substances will be hot) then dip the jammy or chocolaty side into the coconut. Repeat with the remaining sides. If you don’t like getting your fingers sticky then you probably won’t like doing this. Kids, however, love getting involved. Once the whole cube is covered in jam/chocolate and coconut return to the wire rack to set.