In my childhood I consumed many a lamington, and snowball as my mother made them often. In the last decade though I confess I haven't eaten much of them. I'm not a fan of how they are made here as the chocolate icing hardly ever contains actual chocolate, it's mostly cocoa powder and icing sugar which holds no interest for me.
I took on the challenge of making a gluten free and dairy free lamington after seeing a recipe in Nadia Magazine. She makes some pink lamingtons in her recipe which uses freeze dried raspberries for the coating. What I found interesting was the recipe for the sponge cake. It was make with coconut flour! I've been wanting to work with coconut flour for a while and after seeing this recipe it seemed only fitting. Chocolate lamingtons are my favourite and who doesn't love chocolate and coconut together?
After being inspired by Nadia I looked up other coconut sponge cake recipes only to find it's was more popular than I realized. Most of them however did use refined sugar, which I was trying to avoid. At last I came across something that would work. I tried it out assuming it would fail or taste like cardboard. I was pleasantly suprized that the sponge cake was light, airy and pretty much perfect. If you were ever looking for a gluten free sponge cake, this is it.
The recipe is fairly simple and can be adapted to suit your requirements. I chose to make the ganache using coconut cream, rather than regular cream, thus making this dairy free. I used canola oil here, but you can use any oil you prefer even melted coconut oil. I stuck with a natural sweetener here by using honey, but you could use maple syrup as well. Do use a good quality vanilla though because it's the only flavour the cake will have. I used a combination of vanilla flavoured essence and ground vanilla. It was heavenly.
These lamingtons ended up being so good that I'm not too bothered about how messy it was dipping the sponge in chocolate and coconut. It was worth it. Good luck stopping at one. I ate half of it while I was still dipping the rest in chocolate!
Gluten Free Lamingtons (Adapted from The Healthy Chef)
Makes 12 standard, or 24 mini
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs honey (or maple syrup)
1/4 cup oil or your choice of (I used canola)
1/2 cup coconut flour*
2 tsp baking powder (check for gluten free)
1 cup desiccated coconut, or coconut thread
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids is good)
100ml coconut milk (or cream if not dairy intolerant)
Preheat your oven to 160 C
Using a stand mixer, or hand mixer, beat the eggs, vanilla and honey for 10 minutes until light and creamy. It will be a pale yellow colour and have a foamy sort of texture.
After 10 minutes, with the mixer on low, slowly pour in the oil and ensure it is well mixed in. Turn the mixer off. Gently fold in the coconut flour and baking powder until combined. Try not to mix too much as it will deflate the eggs!
Pour batter into prepared tin and bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until cooked through. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean.
Allow cake to cool completely in tin before cutting into 12 squares. You could also cut it into 24 smaller squares if you prefer.
While cake is cooling, make your ganache. Please your coconut milk or cream in a small saucepan on low heat. Heat until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Remove from heat and add your chocolate. Let stand for a minute before stirring to form a smooth silky ganache. Pour ganache into a medium sized bowl.
Now comes the messy part. You should have one bowl of chocolate ganache, one bowl of coconut thread and an empty tray lined with baking paper. First dip your sponge square into the chocolate ganache. Make sure it is fully coated. Using two forks will help to move the square around. Then pop the chocolate coated square into the bowl of coconut. Roll it around until coated and finally place it on your lined tray to set. Repeat with the rest of your sponge squares until done. The chocolate should take too long to set, about 10 minutes. If you're like me and can't wait, you will have eaten half of it while you were coating the other half!
*Coconut flour is not the same a desiccated coconut. It is coconut that has been dried and ground to a flour consistency. It can be found in most health stores and is also available in supermarkets. I get mine from Ceres.