Lamingtons (the word always reminds me of those rodents, lemmings), those Aussie treats made from leftover butter or sponge cakes, are perfect for your next ladies' tea. They look real soft and pretty, and are much less work than cupcakes.
I baked 2 cakes yesterday. The first one was from Starbucks Passion For Coffee: A Starbucks Coffee Cookbook (thanks, Yoland!), but the whisked eggs fell (I suspected it would, based on my experience but I went with the book anyway) when I added the lemon juice. Whisked whole eggs hold less well than just the whites, esp if no cream of tartar is added or if they were overwhisked. The cake was also quite coarse and dry. For the second cake, I used my own sponge cake recipe. It was much better but I couldn't find a white color dip fror the lamingtons (so the dessicated coconut could stick) so I did a glace icing and that was too sweet. The grated rind also clumped here and there. Lamingtons are usually chocolate-flavored and dipped into melted chocolate but I wanted to clone those yummy lemon lamingtons I ate at Starbucks in Hong Kong. And as it was night, and I couldn't get a good pic, I waited till morning to take some pics. When I uploaded the pics, I thought they look like tofu cubes or something, so I'm off to lunch now before I start on the 3rd cake or I'll go crazy.
Edit: The 3rd cake was perfect. I omitted the lemon rind and juice and used vanilla extract instead. The lemon flavor came from the lemon curd which I used as the dip. You can use some other dip as long as it helps the dessicated coconut stick to the cake. You can also buy a good sponge cake and proceed from there (Shan, that'll be you :p).
Sponge Cake (makes about 16 cute lamingtons)
4 large eggs, at room temp
70g fine sugar
1/4 pure vanilla extract
1/4 t cream of tartar
120g cake flour, sifted
60g melted butter (or corn oil)
lemon curd (see recipe below)
70g dessicated coconut
1. Set oven at 170 C. Line bottom of 8" (20 cm) square lamington pan with paper, and grease it lightly.
2. Whisk A ingredients with a strong mixer (Kenwood, KitchenAid) till soft peaks form when you lift up your whisk. This method is more testy because the yolk has fat and the trapped air can be lost easily so do not overbeat. You have to work quickly. Another method, adding the yolks to B ingredients and whipping the whites without the yolks, will ensure a lighter cake but I personally feel lamingtons shouldn't have a chiffony texture.
3. Sift in B quickly n thoroughly. Using your hand is the best.
4. Add C and again mix quickly with your hand. Pour into prepared pan, level the batter and bake at 170 C for 15 to 20 min. Test with a thin wooden skewer the middle of the cake. If any batter sticks to the skewer, cake isn't done yet.
5. When cake is cool, trim away the brown crust and cut into 2" (5 cm) x 2" squares (or 1.5" squares, cuter!)or rectangles. Using a fork, dip cake quickly into the dip (to prevent crumbs getting into the bowl of dip, you can place cakes on a wire rack and spoon dip over. Or, you can leave cake to harden in fridge first), let excess drip off and roll it into a plate of dessicated coconut. Chill, take out 10 min before serving.
This is my lemon curd recipe. It may be too sour for you so do add more sugar if like. You can use store-bought lemon curd (not the same!), and dilute it because a runnier dip will coat easier.
Finely grated rind and juice from 1/2 lemon
1 egg, beaten
70g unsalted butter
70g fine sugar
Put everything into a small saucepan set over a pot of simmering water (double boiler) and stir till sauce thickens enough to coat back of spoon before running off. Let cool. If it gets too thick, blend in some water.