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Gluten-Free Lamingtons – an Australian favourite!
If you are a fan of chocolate and coconut, then these gluten-free Lamingtons may become your favourite sweet treat. It certainly is a big winner in Australia where it is considered a national cake. In fact, it is so popular that National Lamington Day was established in 2006 by the Australian government and is celebrated on July 21 every year in Australia.
Named after Lord Lamington, a Queensland governor in the late 1800s, whose cook accidentally invented the lamington, made this an iconic Australian cake. Coincidently, Lord Lamington wore a hat that resembled the lamington!
Nowadays, lamingtons are a household favourite, a school box treat, a party piece and a traditional sweet to serve on Australia Day every 26th of January.
What is a Lamington?
Lamingtons are soft sponge squares or rectangles sponge cakes, made gluten-free in this recipe, dipped into chocolate icing and rolled generously in desiccated or shredded coconut.
How to eat Lamingtons:
Lamingtons are perfect with a cup of tea, either served plain or with some strawberry jam in the centre.
According to my Australian friends, the most popular way to enjoy lamingtons is “plain” with just the chocolate icing and coconut.
However, some take them to the next level and serve them as a dessert with strawberry jam, fresh strawberries and whipped cream sandwiched between a split lamington.
Some tips for the perfect lamington:
Beat the eggs following the exact times indicated. It is important to achieve a pale and thickened batter for the cake to turn out soft and fluffy.
Use gluten-free self-raising flour. For those who cannot buy store-bought S.R.F., I have a homemade gluten-free blend recipe here.
Sift the flours at least three times.
Fold the flour into the egg mixture gently, but thoroughly.
Use a low-sided baking tray, used typically for slices or sponge cakes.
Bake on the second bottom shelf at 180°C/350°F for 25 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
BEST TIP EVER!!
Freeze the cake pieces for 1 hour. Coating the frozen cake will make dipping and coating much easier.
In Australia, icing sugar mixtures are readily available to use in the chocolate icing. This blend is usually made with a small addition of cornflour and some stabilisers which strengthen the binding and thickening of the icing. Again, if you are unable to find the equivalent in your country, I have added the measurement of cornflour in the recipe card needed to create a similar mixture.
Sift the icing sugar and cocoa to prevent lumps from forming in the chocolate icing.
To prevent the chocolate icing from becoming too thick, keep the bowl over the simmering water, but do not let the water come in contact with the bowl or the icing will seize and not form a glossy syrupy icing.
Remove the frozen cake squares, a few at a time from the freezer when ready to coat them with the icing and coconut. If the cakes defrost too much, the icing can drag off the outer layer of the cake and will prove to be very difficult to coat, plus look unappealing.
Once assembled, allow the lamingtons to set for at least 30 minutes before serving or chilling for later.
Freezing lamingtons are highly recommended. Eating them frozen is absolutely delicious, especially on a warm January day in Australia!
Gluten-Free Sponge Cake
- 5 eggs, at room temperature
- 200 g caster sugar
- 180 g store-bought or homemade self-raising flour blend
- 50 g cornflour Known as cornflour in the UK and corn or maize starch in the USA
- 1 tsp xanthan gum only add this if your store-bought SRF does not have it in the blend
- 100 ml boiling water
- 30 g butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 600 g icing sugar or icing sugar mixture, sifted
- 40 g good quality cocoa powder
- 2½ tbsp cornflour, sifted (leave out if using a store-bought icing sugar mixture)
- 20 g butter
- 180 ml milk
- 250 g desiccated coconut, coarsely shredded
Dessert ingredients (optional)
- Strawberry jam
- Fresh strawberries, sliced thinly
- Whipped cream
Gluten-Free Sponge Cake
- Brush some butter on the bottom and sides of the baking tray, followed by a sprinkle of flour. Shake the flour around the tray to stick to the butter.
- Line a 25cm by 35cm low-sided baking tray (or two trays if doubling the recipe) with baking paper slightly hanging over the sides of the tin to make it easy to remove later.
- Beat the eggs using a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer until foamy and light for around 5 mins.
- Add the sugar gradually, beating well until the sugar crystals have dissolved into the eggs. This will take between 6 to 8 mins. You should be able to write a figure 8 on the batter without it disappearing for more than 30 seconds.
- Sift the self-raising flour, cornflour & xanthan gum at least three times over some baking paper and alternatively into a medium bowl.
- Gently fold the sifted flour mixture into the egg mixture in two batches.
- Keep folding until there are no visible flour streaks left, otherwise, you may have clumps of unmixed flour in the baked cake.
- Combine the boiling water with the butter in a small bowl or measuring jug.
- Mix in the combined water & butter and vanilla extract with the egg mixture.
- Transfer the cake batter to the prepared baking trays, spreading out evenly to all corners and sides of the tray.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Bake on the second bottom shelf for 25 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 5 mins, then remove the sponge from the tin by holding the sides of the baking paper and allow to cool for 30 mins on a wire rack.
Cutting the cake
- Before cutting the cake, touch the centre of the sponge with your hand. If heat is still felt, leave the cake to cool down more, otherwise, the cake will crumble when slicing the cake.
- Using a long-serrated knife, trim the sides to remove any visible crusts and continue to cut equal size squares or rectangles (depending on your preference), either with a ruler next to the sides as a guide or eyeball your preferred shape.
- Place the cut cake in a sealed freezer-safe container, adding baking paper between each layer.
- Freeze for 1 hour. Coating the frozen cake will make dipping and coating much easier.
- Whisk all the icing ingredients together in a heatproof bowl over some simmering water. Make sure the water does not come in contact with the bowl.
- Mix until the icing is syrupy and of coating consistency. It should easily coat the back of a spoon. Add more sifted icing sugar should the icing look too watery. If too thick, add more milk gradually.
- Scrap down the sides and mix in well.
- To prevent icing from becoming too thick, keep the bowl over the simmering water while coating the lamingtons.
- In a shallow and wide dish, add the desiccated or shredded coconut.
- Remove the frozen cake, a few at a time from the freezer and start rolling them one by one in the chocolate icing using two forks or skewers. Allow the icing to drip off slightly.
- Working swiftly, transfer the coated cakes on to the coconut and roll them in it by using the skewers to manoeuvre and roll the coated cake square in the coconut thoroughly. Use a spoon to drizzle extra coconut over the cake.
- Using the skewers, transfer the finished lamington directly on a serving plate, wire rack or in a sealable container. Allow to set for at least 30 mins before serving.
Serving them plain
- Serve at room temperature or chill for later (bring them out of the fridge to come to room temp 30 mins beforehand).
- Some people like to eat them slightly frozen.
Serving them as a dessert
- Split the lamington horizontally in the middle.
- Spread some strawberry jam on one exposed lamington piece, uniced facing side up.
- Next, place some thinly sliced strawberries on top of the jam.
- Pipe or spoon some whipped cream on top of the strawberries.
- Complete the assembly by sandwiching the other lamington half on top of the cream.
- Carefully, transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately with more strawberries.
- It is preferable to assemble these just before serving, but if you have to chill them, do this for no more than one hour, otherwise the cream may start to collapse slightly.
- Keeps for 3 days chilled
- Suitable to freeze, uniced or iced