I took this picture of my half-eaten lamington at Sydney's Kingsford Smith airport on the day I flew home after a week in the city for a course I was taking. While I have baked lamingtons at home before, I have never actually eaten an authentic one made by Australians until this trip.
I had one a few days before that but didn't take a picture. As you can see below, I made up for it the second time round by taking a picture of the cube after every bite. I didn't actually finish the cake in 60 seconds, or in eight bites, but I think I came pretty close!
Gone in 60 seconds
Here are several recipes for lamingtons:
I have been using a similar recipe to this one from taste.com. The outer layer of chocolate is a thin coating made from icing sugar, cocoa powder, milk and hot water. But after having the cake in Australia, I noticed that the frosting was slightly thicker.
The frosting recipe in Joy of Cookingcontains butter – just a bit, but it makes the frosting a little firmer, I think. It is poured onto the sponge cake cubes before they are rolled in dessicated coconut.
Donna Hay's recipe for lamington slices has only the top covered in icing and coconut.
Now I have to say a little bit about some of the other dishes I had in Sydney. I stayed with a host family and mostly had what they prepared for dinner, but we did go out as well. The first meal out was at a Lebanese restaurant – for the life of me, I can't remember the name, but it's in Bondi – and we had a few varieties of mezze, or finger food. They were all very good.
On our last night in Sydney, we went to another Lebanese place. Al-Jannah in Granville (it has another outlet elsewhere in the city) specialises in charcoal-grilled chicken. It looks like a typical takeout restaurant, but can actually claim to have finger-licking good fried chicken. The queue is often right out the door and the Lebanese family we had dinner with said they go to the restaurant at least once a week even though the drive there took about 40 minutes. I didn't take any pictures, but you can see some lovely ones, complete with all the side dishes, at eatshowandtell.com. The Lebanese lady with us said there was definitely lemon juice in the marinade, but she couldn't tell what the other ingredients were. This recipe seems authentic, in case you want to try.
Your meal must include French fries and the condiment must be Lebanese garlic sauce, or toum, according to this blog (with recipe). You just cannot stop dipping your fries, chicken and flat bread into it. I tell you, if you lose a few friends over your breath, it would be worth it!
Just a few doors away from Al-Jannah is Abla, a Lebanese pastry shop like none I've seen. It has a very long glass display case with every baklava you can imagine, and many, many more Lebanese sweets. Some of them are, as you can imagine, are very sweet, but have them with the delicious coffee that is served and it is all a blissful balance.