When I first made these, I described them to my friend Kristen over dinner. Of course, this meant that she had to try one. Once I brought one to her, she laughed in surprised. Although she had never eaten a lamington before, she recognized it from Possum Magic, an Australian children's book. The book has an illustration of the main character, a possum, eating a gigantic lamington!
I have never made a full recipe, since I try to accommodate whatever size cake pan I happen to have. Thus, the measurements that I provide are a bit imprecise. If you are worried about exactness, check out the recipe at NPR.
adapted from Greg Patent on NPR
just under 1 1/4 cups bleached all-purpose flour
a bit less than 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 stick + a tad salted butter, at room temperature
1 (barely overfilled) cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk (I used skim in this case, and it turned out fine. However, I usually choose to buy a small bottle of whole milk for this recipe.)
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1/3 cup boiling water
2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
To make the cake, adjust an oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 9 x 2–inch baking pan, dust it with flour, and knock out the excess flour.
Whisk the flour and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of the sugar and the vanilla and beat for 30 seconds. While beating, gradually add the remaining sugar. Scrape the bowl and beater, then beat for 5 minutes on medium-high speed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and beating only until smooth. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and pulls away slightly from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then cover the cake pan with a wire rack and invert the two. Remove the pan, cover the cake with another rack, and invert the cake again to cool completely right side up.
Drape the cake loosely with a kitchen towel and leave at room temperature overnight.