This weekend it's Australia Day, where we all sit around and think about how tops Australia is. Because it is. And when we all enjoy eating fair dinkum Aussie food - mainly because we eat almost every other country's food every other day of the year!
So tomorrow I'll be sharing an Aussie morning tea with you all, but I thought I'd help you get really organised and share what will be the centrepiece of the whole shenanigans now - a Giant Lamington Cake.
When I first had the idea for this cake, I thought it would be really easy - 10 minutes max. Of course, that didn't happen. But I promise it wasn't much longer and, since you'll have the benefit of my experience, you'll nix it in no time if you want to try it out. Let me tell you how it's done.
I started with a ready made, two layer, sponge cake from Woolies. This one in fact. You could of course make your own sponge or butter cake - just don't tell me, you'll make me feel bad!
Place one of the sponges on a plate and spread with strawberry jam or conserve, then the cream mixture. Here comes the benefit of that experience I was talking about - you'll want to leave about 1/2 cm around the edges for the filling to spread when you apply the top layer of the sponge. Also, before applying the top layer, place the lower layer of the cake with the jam and filling in the fridge for at least 5 minutes. This will also prevent the filling from spreading too much.
While the cake is in the fridge, make the chocolate icing mixture by beating 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar, 1 tablespoon of cocoa and 2 tablespoons of milk. I used my electric mixer here again, thinking I would get a thicker mixture which would be easier to apply to the sides. And I was right!
Remove the cake from the fridge and, working quickly, apply the top layer and spread the icing mixture over the cake with a knife. Now, here's where I went wrong. Can you see that there is a skin on the top layer of the sponge in the photo above? Yeah, well I should have removed it or turned the cake upside down. Should have. It wasn't a disaster, but it wasn't convenient. Use my experience again, upside down I tell you!
As you can see from the photo below, this is not where the cake was at it's prettiest. The icing is pretty runny, but not unmanageable. All you need to do is scoop up any runoff and reapply it to fill up any holes that appear. Anyway, this is the way a real lamington is made, so if you want authenticity, you'll have to put up with a bit of unattractiveness.
And yes, this is a photo of the cake inside my fridge. It's just something I do when I'm decorating a cake to get another perspective on it. You can go a bit cross eyed when icing for the fifth hour! Usually they look a bit better than this one though.
After applying the icing, place the cake back into the fridge for 2-3 more minutes to set the icing a little bit. Remove the cake and fix any bare spots that have appeared. Then, cover the whole thing in dessicated coconut. You'll need about 2 cups to make sure it's all covered. The sides are a bit tricky, but I found that holding a handful of coconut at a 45 degree angle to the cake and sprinkling it through your fingers worked best. Ok yes, you are basically throwing coconut at the cake, but it works!!
And voila - or to use an Aussie phrase - Strewth! A giant lamington cake. In my humble opinion, another reason why being Aussie is tops!