I should say right away that real lamingtons don't look like these - they're cubes of sponge cake, sometimes with jam in the middle, coated in chocolate and sprinkled with coconut. Like this.* According to wikipedia, they're named for the 2nd Baron Lamington, Charles Cochrane-Baillie, who was Governor of Queensland from 1896-1901, and whose household at some point invented them, impromptu, at the very last minute before social disaster. Apparently Lord Lamington (who is famous for shooting a koala on his way home from meeting with conservationists about establishing a national park) hated them.
* Please read the accompanying article. It's like an Australian version of The Onion, only it's real.
I wanted to make lamingtons for the Australia Day party I held in January, but I had no intention of forming precious cubes and dipping one side and then the other, etc etc. Making cupcake versions is a brilliant idea (not mine; I stole it from the fabulous blog, Boyfriendly Cooking). I'm not sure that any of my American friends knew they were eating a little piece of Australian culinary history, but they seemed to like them anyway (especially the kids present, who helped me ice them, and who I may employ in that capacity for every cupcake I make from now on).
from Boyfriendly Cooking
1 1/4 cup all-purpose unbleached white flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dessicated coconut
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
Chocolate icing: 1 cup icing sugar
1 Tablespoon cocoa
more dessicated coconut for dunking
very hot water
Heat oven to 350F. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and coconut together. In a second bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture and milk alternately. Scrape the bowl and sides to make sure everything is mixed.
Fill muffin papers about 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
To make chocolate icing: sift icing sugar and cocoa and mix together. Add hot water a teaspoonful at a time, or less, until you have the consistency you want. You don't want this icing to be too runny.
When cupcakes have cooled, spread the chocolate icing on the top and then dunk the cupcake top into a bowl of dessicated coconut. Repeat.