Lamingtons are a type of Australian sweet treat made of sponge cake dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut flakes. In my family, we’ve mistakenly been calling them kokosanki, which translates as something like “coconut treats”, ever since. Wrong. Real Polish kokosanki are a type of coconut macaroon, and you can get a recipe for real kokosanki here. Why in my family do lamingtons go by a wrong name? No idea.
My granma has had this recipe in her recipe book for decades, apparently she is aware that this is an Australian recipe, but it has been passed on to her with this Polish name so she’s been calling her lamingtons kokosanki ever since. Then she taught my mom how to make them, and then my mom taught me, and lamingtons in my family have been known as kokosanki for three generations.
Both my grandma and my mom make their kokosanki quite large – about 6*3 cm. I decided to go much smaller and thought about making them bite-sized, 2*2 cm. This way they look much cuter but making them so small has two downsides:
- you need a lot of chocolate
- you need a huge lot of coconut shavings.
Not to mention the fact that dipping and rolling 100+ sweets is way more time consuming than doing the same with 40 sweets. But hey – smaller they’re just so-much-cuter. Such a perfect tiny accompaniment to coffee!Lamingtons (aka kokosanki):
- 5 eggs
- 300 g sugar
- 200 g flour
- 100 g potato starch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 250 g margarine
Melt the margarine and set aside. In a bowl combine the flour, starch and baking powder. Crack the eggs and separate the whites from the yolks. Beat the whites at high speed until firm, then add the sugar and keep beating until the mixture gets firmer and shiny. Always beating, add the yolks, one at a time. Lower the speed of the mixer to slow, sift one third of the flour mixture and beat that in. Once incorporated sift the second third, incorporate and then sift the remaining third. When all the flour has been incorporated add the melted margarine and mix that in; stop the mixer when the batter is homogeneous.
I baked this mixture in my deep oven tray, which is fairly large. Alternatively, it can be baked in smaller pans, in batches. I kind of wanted it to be not too tall, so I spread out all the batter onto the largest thing I could fit into my oven. If you’re looking for taller cake bites it might be wiser to have the batter less spread out. In my tray it took 20 minutes to bake at 180°C, as a general rule take the cake out when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Leave the cake to rest until it reaches room temperature. I left it in the pan, covered with a cloth, for about 6 hours. I went to work, actually. I have late Thursdays in my schedule, so I was able to bake the cake in the morning, go to work and allow the cake to properly cool down, and resume my lamington making when I came back home at 5. In order to have an easier time dealing with the cake pieces, I’d recommend to bake the sponge a day – or a bunch of hours – ahead, to have it set and moist when it’s time to dip it in the chocolate sauce. A freshly baked and barey cooled sponge might be crumbly and harder to handle.
Chocolate sauce & coconut coating:
- 300 g sugar
- 300 g margarine
- 60 g cocoa
- 80 ml water
- 400 g coconut flakes
Melt the margarine and, once liquid, add the sugar, cocoa and water and whisk to combine. Bring mixture to a boil to ensure that all the sugar dissolves. The sauce should be shiny and fairly liquid. It’s best used when warm, so basically once the sugar has dissolved it is ready to go. Slice your sponge into bits (as I said before, 2*2 cm is what I went for and I totally do not regret it) and dip each bit in the chocolate sauce with the help of two forks. Let the excess chocolate drip off and transfer the coated bit to the coconut. Roll it in the flakes and set the finished lamington on a piece of parchment paper to firm up. The quantities in this recipe are the minimum needed for such small bits. I had underestimated the need for coconut and had to run to the grocery store to get more halfway through, as I had not thought that making so many small lamingtons would mean much more surface to coat. If making larger lamingtons (like my mom does) most likely only two thirds of the chocolate sauce and coconut will be needed.Butter can substitute margarine, but I chose to use a plant-based grease in order to be able to offer these to more people. Furthermore, as much as I love butter, sometimes I feel like its taste is too overwhelming and I prefer something more discreet, like margarine.
I am not sure about the final count, but I had 120 mini lamingtons and several had been eaten while making them, so the real count might have been something around 140. A really good way to serve many people a little treat.