Try baking the famed Australian sponge cake for yourself. Founder of Melbourne’s Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio, Pastry Chef Darren Purchese is renowned throughout Australia for his stunning cakes and confections. Darren shared with us his favorite Lamington recipe, featured in his latest cookbook Lamingtons & Lemon Tart (Hardie Grant Books, 2017).
- 8 eggs, at room temperature (400 grams)
- Finely grated zest of ½ lemon (4.5 grams)
- 2 vanilla beans, seeds scraped and reserved
- 1⅓ cups (275 grams/9½ ounces) caster (superfine) sugar
- 2¼ cups (275 grams/9½ ounces) self-raising flour*
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (200 grams/ 7 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- Raspberry jam as needed
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease a 33x23x5-centimeter (13x9x2-inch) square nonstick cake tin. Line the base and sides with baking paper cut to size.
- Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla seeds and sugar on medium-high speed for 20 minutes. The mixture should be thick and pale.
- Sift the flour with the baking powder, then gently fold this into the egg mixture using a spatula.
- Gently whisk cooled, melted—but still liquid—butter into the batter.
- Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until cooked through. A skewer inserted into the centre of the sponge should come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave the sponge to cool in the tin completely.
- Remove the sponge from the tin and trim any brown edges off with a serrated knife. You should be left with a clean, square sponge with the approximate dimensions of 30x20x2 centimeters (12x8x2 inches).
- Use a sharp knife to cut the sponge into 24 (5-centimeter [2-inch]) cubes. Freeze any trimmed sponge to fold into ice cream another time.
- Take a melon baller and scoop out two balls from the sponge. Fill the cavity with raspberry jam from a piping (icing) bag and plug the hole with the first scooped sponge ball. Fill all 24 sponge cubes and place them, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for 1 hour to harden slightly before covering with chocolate.
*Also known as self-rising flour, this flour is a combination of flour, a leavening agent, and salt.
Dark Chocolate Covering
- 600 grams (1 lb 5 ounces) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (210 grams/ 200 ml/7 fl ounces) thickened (whipping) cream
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (210 grams/ 200 ml/7 fl ounces) full-cream (whole) milk
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave.
- Heat the cream and milk together in a saucepan over medium heat until it starts to boil. Pour the hot milk mixture over the chocolate and stir to emulsify until you have a smooth, shiny cream.
- 8 cups (600 grams/1 lb 5 ounces) toasted, desiccated coconut
- Scatter some of the desiccated coconut onto a shallow baking tray.
- Remove the sponges from the refrigerator and use two forks or skewers to dip the sponges in the chocolate covering. Gently shake off any excess chocolate and immediately place the dipped sponge in the tray of coconut. Sprinkle over some of the remaining coconut and ensure the Lamingtons are covered entirely before placing them on a wire rack over a tray to set for 30 minutes before eating.