To celebrate National Lamington Day on July 21 (who knew?), here's a large-format cake with the wonderful ingredients of sponge, coconut and marmalade; it has the benefit of avoiding the messiness of dipping sticky cake squares in icing and coconut. I've taken things a step further by making the cake a tender chocolate sponge and have used an orange marmalade in place of the traditional red-jam centre. I'm not saying it replaces the lamington, but it's a neat alternative.
For the cake
200g caster sugar
140g plain flour
50g unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
60g unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
80g sour cream
70ml vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
100g marmalade or other jam
25g shredded or desiccated coconut
whipped cream, to serve
For the chocolate glaze
50g dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
25g unsalted butter
100g icing sugar, sifted
25ml hot water from a recently boiled kettle
1. Preheat oven to 160C fan-forced (180C conventional) and line the base and sides of a 20cm round cake tin with baking paper. (If possible, avoid a cake tin with a removable base, to prevent leakage, as the batter is quite thin.)
2. Combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in the bowl of a cake mixer and mix with the paddle attachment on low speed for 1 minute. Add the softened butter and continue mixing on low speed until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs (it will take about 2 minutes).
3. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the sour cream in a medium bowl until smooth and creamy, then add the vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Whisk again to combine, then while the mixer is on low speed, pour into the dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl, then resume beating at low speed, gradually adding the milk in a slow and steady stream. The batter will be quite thin. If there are any lumps, beat lightly with a handheld whisk until smooth.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes on a rack before releasing the cake from the tin to cool completely.
5. When ready to assemble, make the glaze. Combine the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl placed over a small saucepan of gently simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. When the chocolate and butter have melted – about 2 minutes – remove the bowl from the heat and add the icing sugar. Beat with a wooden spoon or whisk, gradually adding the hot water until the glaze is the consistency of thick pouring cream. Set aside.
6. Slice the cake in half horizontally. Spread the marmalade (or jam of your choice) on top of the bottom layer, then place the second layer on top. Spoon the chocolate glaze over the cake, allowing it to drip a little down the sides. Sprinkle with the coconut and serve with cream on the side.