Baking, admittedly, is one of my weaker cooking skills and something I have been trying to remedy. Now, I am not the biggest fan of baked goods, I enjoy them yes, but there is always too much, and I am truly satisfied with a simple piece of fresh fruit. However, I enjoy the act of baking, and since Brett and my co-workers happily eat the goods I make, I continue on trying.
This weekend I made Lamington's. I had never had a Lamington until making them over the weekend. These little cakes covered in chocolate and rolled in coconut originate in either Australia or New Zealand; apparently there is some contention between the two nations as to where the Lamington is "indigenous" to. After making them, I can understand why they would want to fight over the bragging rights to these delicious cakes. I decided to make them as I thought trying my hand at coating a cake with frosting would be a good way to improve my skill, I had some organic shredded coconut still hanging around from the rice crispy treats I made over last winter, and Brett is a chocolate fanatic - up to this point I have been mostly working with spiced breads and pumpkin - so chocolate seemed the way to go.
I modified this recipe from Joy of Baking to make it whole grain, dairy free, and more to our tastes, so I might have taken away from the authenticity of the Lamington's, but we thought they were super good. The original recipe yielded 16 Lamington's, but after cutting my cake into 16 pieces, I realized that Lamington's were a lot bigger than I thought they would be. I was imagining little bite-sized treats, but after cutting them into 16 squares, I realized I was going to have something more on par with the size of a Little Debbie Snack Cake. So I decided to cut the pieces smaller, which I also believe made the chocolate dipping and coconut rolling easier than it would have been with the larger cakes. Not to mention they are more of a finger food this way.
These would be great to take to a holiday potluck or family gathering, or even on a Sunday when you have folks over for football. Who doesn't like bite-sized treats?
Note: The assembly process is a lot easier if you have two people working on it. I enlisted the help of Brett for this part, and I must say, he did a far better job of dunking the cake pieces in to the chocolate than I did. I would have made quite the mess had I done this all on my own. Also, using my method of making bite-sized Lamington's you will yield far more than 16. I cannot even count how many Lamington's this made - tons - so make sure you have plenty of willing mouths to feed these too - these being cake covered in chocolate, I doubt that will be too difficult.
The local booty legend:
no asterisk = grocery store
+ = The Root Cellar
++ = The Peace Nook
* = farmer's market
** = CSA
*** = Container or Community Garden
**** = the non-profit buying club, Blue Planet or Purcell Mountain Farms
Whole Grain Spelt Lamington's
2 cups whole grain spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup Earth Balance
1/4 cup safflower oil
2 eggs (or egg replacer) *
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain rice milk
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3 tbsp Earth Balance
1/2 cup plain Hempmilk ++ (not local, but from a local store)
2 cups organic shredded coconut
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350.
Spray an 8x8 pan with oil spray.
Stir together dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Using an electric mixer, slowly add in the wet ingredients.
Spread into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick or knife comes out clean when inserted into the middle.
Allow to cool completely.
Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into large squares.
Cut each square in half, then in half again length-wise, then in half on more time.
Put in the fridge to cool for a few hours, this will make coating them easier.
For the frosting:
Prepare a pan of boiling water.
Get a smaller, stove safe bowl and mix together sugar and cocoa powder.
Add the Earth Balance and milk. Stir well.
Place in the pan of boiling water, carefully stirring until well blended.
For the coating:
Spread the coconut out on a plate.
(Brett and I did this together, it might be a slightly difficult one person project, but I think it can be done.)
We started an "assembly line" to do this part. We had our cold cake bits, chocolate, and coconut spread out, with a wire cooling rack at the end of our counter.
Using a toothpick, grab a piece of cake and carefully dunk it into the chocolate.
Trasfer to plate of coconut and roll on all four sides. Move to the wire rack to cool completely.
Once completely cooled, place in airtight containers between layers of parchment paper.
Did I mention these are whole grain? While this isn't health food by any stretch of the imagination, you can at least rest knowing that you are getting some good fiber into your system while enjoying a tasty snack cake!
'Til next time!