Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been on full organization mode. You know: getting rid of clutter and finding a place a proper place for everything. One of the easiest clean-ups jobs was all done electronically. It was mostly clearing my email box to a respectable level (I’m finally answering emails again!) and digital files. Among those digital files I found were my life goals that I set up in 2011. Yeesh!
While most are personal and I won’t put here, I actually accomplished a few. (Hello new home!) Still on the list that I hope to check off soon include:
- Go to Galapagos Islands and swim with marine iguanas.
- Learn to drive a stick shift.
- Visit Australia.
- Run one mile nonstop.
- Do more volunteer work.
- Learn to swim correctly.
Hurm. It seems that the two of those goals can’t happen without the other one. In any case, I won’t be seeing Australia for a while and to tamper my urge to put a big dent on my credit card with travel plans, I’ll be content with making a batch of Lamingtons for the time being.
Lamingtons are an Australian dessert, consisting of squares of cake coated in chocolate and rolled in coconut. According to internet research, it’s very popular in the land down under and commonplace in bake sales. In addition, it’s also the cousin of the chocolate coconut bars I had in Cleveland a few years ago.
I turned to Martha Stewart. She can do no wrong. Well, unless it has to do with insider trading. Her recipe uses shredded sweetened coconut and strawberry jam in between layers the vanilla layer cake. Turns out that adding the jam included a difficult step to an already difficult dessert. It requires dipping layered cake into icing followed by rolling it in shredded coconut. I opted to do a few Lamingtons with a jam filling. The rest (cake dipped in icing and rolled in coconut) was just as delicious.
For the cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
2 2/3 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperatur
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
For the chocolate icing:
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
8 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1 pound shredded coconut (unsweetened tastes best)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter two 9-by-13-inch baking pans; line bottoms with parchment; butter the parchment.
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time; beat until incorporated.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; add to egg mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
Divide batter between prepared pans. Place in oven; bake until a cake tester inserted into middles comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly on wire racks; remove from pans. Turn out cakes onto racks; cool completely.
Optional: spread one of the cooled cakes with the jam; place other cake on top.
Using a serrated knife, trim edges of sandwiched cakes; cut into 24 two-inch squares.
Place the coconut in a medium bowl; set aside.
For icing: Place the milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, and heat until butter is melted. Transfer to a medium heat-proof bowl; add the vanilla extract, confectioners sugar, and cocoa powder. Stir until combined.
Place cake squares in the bowl of chocolate icing; using forks (in my case chopsticks) to turn the square and coat all sides.
Allow excess icing to drip off; transfer square to bowl of coconut (left bottom). Using clean forks to turn square, coat it with coconut. Transfer coated square to wire rack to stand until coating has set, about 15 minutes. Continue until all squares have been coated.