Saying goodbye can be hard. Any way in which the blow can be softened – if only by butter, chocolate and sugar – has got to be better than nothing.
On Saturday two of our friends threw a leaving party. At the end of December they leave for Australia where they plan to spend year at absolute minimum, more likely two with very little likelihood that they’ll make it back for our wedding next summer.
Three other friends have already made the move down under. None have returned so far: easy enough to understand when you’re living in the land of sun, sea, surf and Adriano Zumbo. When I was in Sydney I was completely seduced by the way of life, the outdoor activities, the lovely people and incredible food . . . Australia is an amazing place and I’m pretty positive we won’t be seeing these friends for a while.
To send them off, give them a little taste of what’s in store (and remind them what they’re missing), I decided to make some lamingtons. Named after the Governor of Queensland, a traditional lamington is a simple sponge cloaked in chocolate icing and rolled in dessicated coconut. With so few ingredients they can be utterly delicious – moist, buttery sponge and a thick chocolaty coating – or disappointingly dry, bland and boring.
Lamington purists look away now. I used a Dan Lepard recipe from an article on the Guardian website which provoked some serious outrage in the comments box below. In much the same way the Women’s Institute refuse to allow any filling other than jam in a classic Victoria sponge, it appears lamington lovers can be loath to accept variations on the original. This recipe involves not just a chocolate coating but a super moist chocolate sponge. Dissenters please bear with me: Dan knows what he’s talking about and it’s really, seriously delicious.
With Christmas just around the corner, these lamingtons would make the perfect dessert or tea time treat, regardless of whether you or anyone you know has any connection with Australia. The sponge is rich and moist yet light, melting into the double-dipped thick chocolate coating and contrasting against sweet shards of crumbly coconut. The square, present-like shape means they look cute as a button wrapped up in ribbon and they’re sturdy enough to pack into boxes and give out as gifts.
Which is exactly what I did on Saturday. We won’t be seeing our friends for a while, but hopefully every time they eat a lamington while they’re away, they’ll think of us.
Double Chocolate Lamingtons
The only tweaks I made were to double dip each square for a thicker chocolate coating, thereby using up the full quantity, and to cut the cake into 16 pieces rather than 9.