A gluten free lamington sponge and the dog ate my homework

Australia Day had arrived. Kid 1 and myself decided to bake something in the spirit of the day. (Why not heat up the kitchen on an already hot and hazy day?) We decided upon a cake version of the iconic Aussie lamington. The perfect opportunity to try out a gluten free sponge recipe the Mothership had given me. Most accounts state that this dessert was named after Lord Lamington, a governor of Queensland in the 1800’s. It is also much loved in the country of my birth, New Zealand. My maternal grandmother adored these dipped in chocolate and coconut square sponges, particularly when they were sandwiched with raspberry jam and fresh cream.

Kid 1 was a keen apprentice, cracking eggs and jokes like the best of them. The sponge rose to the heavens and all was well with the world. Due to the days increasing heat, we decided to cool the cake downstairs. It was proudly placed on a chest of drawers near the stairs, which seemed like a good idea at the time. Half an hour went by and off I trotted to check the cake. The once magnificent, feather light sponge now had huge chunks missing from the side and there was a Hansel and Gretel trail of crumbs around the base of the stairs. Roaring in dismay, I looked up to see our dogger Elvis, standing there, guilty crumbs still attached to his fluffy bearded face. He had cleverly managed to squish his doggy snout in between the stair banisters and reach the cake.

So, yes, the dog ate my homework. No photos were taken of this once glorious behemoth on that day. (Well, except for one iPhone photo.) We cut off the dog slobbered upon portions, sliced it and added jam, cream, the icing and coconut. It was still delicious, if only half the cake it should have been.

Kid 1 and myself remade this cake a few days later and whilst it was not quite as glorious looking as the first, Kid 1 stated that it was lighter and fluffier. In terms of a cloud like sponge, this easy recipe ticks all the boxes. You do not need to separate the eggs, nor does it require any fancy gluten free flour blend. The Yak was just pleased to be given two gluten free cakes in one week. Whereas our wee canine friend should count his lucky stars he got to enjoy any at all.

GLUTEN FREE LAMINGTON SPONGE CAKE

Just a quick note on sponge baking. It’s vital to ensure that your eggs are at room temperature. Cold eggs do not hold the same volume of air as a warmer egg will and do not whip up as well. Sifting your dry ingredients twice is a good idea and never open the oven door before the minimum cooking time is up or your sponge will sink.

WHAT YOU NEED
Sponge
4 eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup cornflour plus 1 extra tablespoon of cornflour
1 1/2 tsps baking powder (gluten free)
Filling
Raspberry or strawberry jam
250 ml cream, whipped
Icing
1 cup icing sugar (gluten free)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp butter, melted
Boiling water
1/4 cup desiccated coconut for sprinkling on top of the finished sponge

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat oven to 180C (170C fan-forced) and line a 24cm springform baking tin with nonstick baking paper. (You can also use two lined individual sandwich tins.)
In a large bowl, using a mixer (I used my stand mixer) beat the eggs until frothy. Gradually add the sugar until the mixture is pale, creamy and thick and holds its shape. This process can take up to ten minutes. (Which is why a stand mixer is handy.)
Sift the cornflour and baking powder into a medium sized bowl.
Sift half of the cornflour mixture over the egg mixture and fold it in gently, then sift the remaining cornflour mixture into the bowl and fold it in gently.
Pour the mixture into the tins (or tins). If you are using the bigger tin, bake for 25-35 minutes until light, golden and the cake springs back to the touch. (Smaller sandwich tins take 15-20 minutes.)
Let the cake stand for five minutes then remove onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Icing: Sift the icing sugar and cocoa together into a medium sized bowl. Add the melted butter, then slowly add boiling hot water, mixing until the icing is a smooth, coating consistency.
Assembling: Slice the sponge in half, add a thick layer of jam on the bottom layer, goop on mounds of delicious cream (as much or as little as you fancy) and whack the other half of the sponge on top.
Drizzle the chocolate icing over the top, then sprinkle generously with the coconut.
Eat some. You won’t regret it.

Cooking Notes: having made this cake twice now, next time we will make a chocolate ganache instead of icing. Just to make it even more decadent.

A Cheergerm adaptation of a recipe my Mum gave me