Lamingtons are an Australian sweet treat of little vanilla sponge cubes, dipped in a rich chocolate icing and rolled in sweet dessicated coconut. These lamingtons are also filled with a tart raspberry jam for extra deliciousness! Although they appear complicated and messy to make, they are actually very simple and I have plenty of tips and tricks on how to make the perfect gluten-free coconut and jam lamingtons!
Lamingtons originate from Australia where they are enjoyed as part of the celebrations for Australia Day which takes place every January. They consist of a light and fluffy vanilla sponge which is carefully cut into equally-sized cubes, which are then dipped in a rich and butttery chocolate icing before being rolled and coated in dessicated coconut. My version of lamingtons also cuts each lamington in half and fills them with a layer of tart raspberry jam before dipping into the chocolate icing.
So, how are easy are these lamingtons to make?
Well, the sponge is made using some staple pantry ingredients such as butter, sugar, eggs and flour plus baking powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla extract and Xanthan Gum, the most important ingredient for gluten-free bakes. For this sponge, I also add some buttermilk to give the sponge a little more moisture and density which stops the cake being too light and crumbly to use when dipping and rolling. A cake which is too fragile will break up into messy crumbs during the process, and so a slightly denser crumb is required here.
The sponge is made by using the creaming method, by which the softened butter and sugar is creamed together until light and fluffy before whisking in each of the eggs separately. After that, the dry ingredients are sifted in in batches, alternating with the buttermilk, but finishing with some of the dry. The mixture is transferred to an 8 inch square baking tin and baked at 180 C Fan for 20 minutes until springy to the touch and golden brown on top.
Once the cake has cooled to room temperature, the sides are trimmed to make a neat square and the cake is cut in half and half again to make 4 equal quarters. Each quarter is then quartered again to make 16 perfectly even squares, or cubes if we want to be more accurate. If desired, each cube is then cut in half and filled with a thin layer of raspberry jam before being placed on a tray.
Now here comes one of the most important tricks for making the perfect lamingtons! The tray of raspberry-filled lamingtons is then placed in the freezer for at least an hour to allow them to harden before dipping. This way, dipping them into the chocolate icing is guaranteed to be much easier than not freezing them! Once slightly frozen, they can be easily picked up with two forks and dipped into the chocolate icing and rolled into the desiccated coconut. Without freezing them, the sponges slide about and it becomes a much more messy affair!
The chocolate icing is simple to make by combining all of the ingredients in a large saucepan and gently melting until all of the ingredients are well combined. If the mixture is too thick, it will be much harder to let any excess drip off after dipping and rolling it in the coconut will be difficult, you’ll end up with misshapen clumpy cubes! Add more warm water so that the mixture is runny and any excess drips off the cubes before rolling and coating them in the desiccated coconut.
What special equipment do I need?
- Square baking tin sized 8 inch/20cm
- Baking paper
What ingredients do I need?
- Sugar – White caster sugar is used to add sweetness and structure to the lamingtons
- Eggs– 4 eggs at room temperature are whisked into the mixture. The eggs are necessary for the structure of the lamingtons
- Butter – Use unsalted butter for this recipe so that you can control the amount of salt being added. The butter needs to be softened to room temperature for the sponge but can be used cold straight out of the fridge for the chocolate icing as it will be melted in a saucepan
- Gluten free flour – A gluten free flour blend such as Doves Farm Plain Flour or Schär Mix C for Cakes is perfect for these lamingtons. Self-raising flours tend to contain baking powder which means you can’t fully control the amount going in and therefore the spread in the baking process. Try to go for a plain flour so you can anticipate and control the spread with the baking powder and soda that is in the recipe
- Xanthan gum – Xanthan gum is essential for most gluten free recipes and there are no exceptions here. Doves Farm is my preferred choice but you can use any brand. Xanthan Gum is a gluten replacement for gluten-free baking and helps to replace the lost elasticity that gluten provides, keeping the sponge together and stopping it from crumbling into dry pieces later
- Salt – A pinch of salt in a recipe enhances the flavours of the other ingredients and offsets the sweetness of the lamingtons
- Chocolate – I used a dark chocolate with 50% cocoa solids for this recipe and anything 50% will be perfect
- Vanilla extract – A few drops of vanilla extract enhances the flavour of the sponge. Vanilla paste can be used too or vanilla from a vanilla pod
- Buttermilk – This is essential for the slightly denser sponge needed for the lamingtons. Buttermilk adds more moisture to the cake which is essential for gluten-free baking. As buttermilk has more acidity than whole-milk, baking soda is needed not just as a leavening agent but to balance the acidity of the buttermilk
- Baking powder and baking soda – Both baking powder and baking soda are used in the sponge which act as leavening agents, giving the sponge the rise than it needs to create a well-risen cake that can be cut into evenly baked cubes. They also help to balance out the acidity of the buttermilk which has higher acidic properties
- Raspberry jam – Buy a good quality raspberry or strawberry jam for the filling which will add some nice fruity notes to the lamingtons
- Milk – Whole milk is used in the chocolate icing to help thin out of the mixture for dipping
- Icing sugar – Standard icing (confectioner’s) sugar is used to help thicken and stabilise the chocolate icing when set
- Cocoa powder- A tablespoon of dutch-pressed cocoa powder is needed for the chocolate icing to balance the dark chocolate flavours.
- Warm water- Warm water helps to thin out the mixture and dissolve the icing sugar and cocoa powder in the icing. If the icing is too thick, do not hessitate to add more warm water, a tablespoon at a time, to thin it out
These Australian lamingtons are a wonderful sweat treat! A moist vanilla sponge with raspberry jam filling, dipped in a rich dark chocolate icing and coated in desiccated coconut.
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes
Freezing Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 16 pieces
For the vanilla sponge:
□ 100ml buttermilk, room temp.
□ 260g gluten free plain flour blend
□ 200g unsalted butter, softened
□ 230g white caster sugar
□ 4 eggs, room temperature
□ 1/2 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
□ 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
□ 1/4 teaspoon salt
□ 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
□ 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
For the filling:
□ 5-6 tablespoons raspberry jam
For the chocolate icing:
□ 300g dark chocolate, 50% coca solids minimum
□ 60g butter, unsalted
□ 125g icing sugar
□ 100ml whole-milk
□ 100-150ml warm water
□ 1 tablespoon Dutch-pressed coca powder
For the topping:
□ 200g desiccated coconut
For the sponge:
- Preheat the oven to 180C Fan, line an 8 inch (20cm) square baking tin with baking paper and grease thoroughly with a greasing brush. Butter for greasing
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 230g caster sugar, 200g unsalted butter
- Whisk in the eggs one at a time until well combined. 4 eggs
- Add the vanilla and whisk again. 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and Xanthan Gum. 260g plain GF flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda
- Sift in the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Be sure to finish with the dry ingredients. 100ml buttermilk
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking tin and even out with an offset spatula.
- Bake on the middle shelf for around 20 minutes until springy to the touch and golden brown on top.
- Once baked, set aside to cool completely to room temperature.
- Trim the edges of the sponge with a serrated knife, leaving a neat and even square.
- Cut the sponge in half and then into quarters. Each quarter should then be cut into quarters to make 16 evenly-sized squares or cubes.
- If filling with raspberry jam (optional), turn each cube on its side, and use a serrated knife to cut slowly and evenly into half.
- Spread a thin layer of raspberry jam onto one of the halves and pop the top back on.
- Set the lamingtons onto a tray, spacing them out evenly, and place into the freezer to chill for at least an hour. Remove the lamingtons from the freezer just before dipping them into the chocolate icing and not beforehand so that they don’t begin to defrost.
For the chocolate icing and coconut topping:
- For the chocolate icing, combine the butter, milk and dark chocolate in a saucepan and whisk until completely melted. 60g unsalted butter, 300g dark chocolate, 100ml whole-milk
- Once melted add the icing sugar, cocoa powder and warm water and whisk again until no lumps remain. 125g icing sugar, 100ml warm water, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- Check the consistency of the icing is runny enough to let the excess drip off each lamington, too thick and the lamingtons will have too much excess. Add more warm water to thin out the mixture if required.
- Pour the chocolate icing into a small bowl which will be deep enough for dipping and coating the lamingtons in chocolate. Prepare a second bowl with the desiccated coconut. 200g desiccated coconut
- Remove the lamingtons from the freezer and using two forks, pick each one up and dip into the chocolate icing. Allow the excess to drip of completely before transferring straight to the bowl with the desiccated coconut.
- Again, use the forks to roll and coat the lamingtons in coconut.
- Transfer to a wire cooling rack to allow to set for roughly 1-2 hours before serving.
Tried this recipe? Let me know what you think!