This Lammingtons recipe is a gourmet tribute to all Australian mothers! Thanks to them, generations of kids have been able to gorge on lammingtons at birthday parties and I was lucky to be one of those. I had tons of lammintons when I was growing up in New Caledonia and were they not such a royal pain to make, I’d probably eat them every day. The chocolate-coconut-berry jam treat tastes like sweet memories to me but even to the uninitiated, it’s usually love at first bite.
I don’t know who I should thank for introducing my family to this Australian birthday recipe, whether it’s my mom’s friend Janet and my school buddy Georgina. Whoever you are, my liver loves you. Lammingtons were one of two staples I kept finding at birthday parties in Noumea, the other one being Australian chocolate rice crispy treats, a guilty pleasure I’ll probably get to some day. The sad thing, there’s only one place in the Bay Area that makes lammingtons and theirs are not even that good. It’s Bakesale Betty in Oakland and honestly, I prefer mine. Theirs are too big and don’t have a strong chocolate flavor.
Timing: you better not be in a hurry. It took me an hour to make two dozens of lammingtons tonight and that’s because I already had the cake made – and I had done this before. I’d say count whatever time it takes to make the cake a day ahead, plus an hour to assemble and decorate.
Tools: I rarely use weird kitchen tools but for recipe, it’s really best to use a double-boiler to melt the chocolate so it stays at the same temp. If you don’t have one, simple pile a smaller pot into a bigger pot, fill the bigger pot with an inch of water and put the chocolate in the smaller pot. Hope this makes sense..
- 1 pound cake, a day old. If it’s too fresh, it’ll crumble inside the melted chocolate. Because I’m such a coconut-head, I used the coconut pound cake recipe on A Little Yumminess and made it on Sunday morning (for Monday night lammingtons). Usually Aussie moms simply use a plain vanilla pound cake.
- 1 lb dark chocolate chips (or more, it depends on how heavily you coat your lammingtons)
- 2 or 3 cups dried unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 jar berry jam. I used olallieberry jam because I love tart berry jams but the tradition is to use strawberry or raspberry jam. I say, use your favorite berry jam.
- Before you start, turn on the heat underneath your double-boiler and bring it to a simmer. Add chocolate chips to the top pot and stir with a wooden spoon until melted.
- Slice your pound cake lengthwise so you get cake slices that are roughly an inch high. Slice them again in two. You have 4 long cake slices.
- With a spoon, spread the berry jam on two sides and press them against the two other sides. Here goes the berry sandwich. Press hard. The thing has to stick.
- Cut the cake “sandwiches” in inch-sized cubes (roughly) or whatever you feel you can handle in one bite. The smaller, the better for kids.
- Dip the cubes carefully in the melted chocolate. To prevent any accidents, I “skewered” the cubes between two forks.
- Shake off the excess chocolate and lay chocolate cube on baking tray. Repeat for every cube.
- When all chocolate cubes are done or you run out of chocolate (it’ll get thick as you get to the bottom), fill a shallow bowl with the coconut flakes.
- Take each cube and coat it with the coconut flakes.
- Let dry in a cool place.
- Run a half marathon. You’ll understand why.