When I saw I was assigned Claire K Creations this month for the Secret Recipe Club, I was excited because she is from Australia and has a completely different collection of recipes, with some unusual (for Americans) fun ones.
I had a lot of fun wandering around her site and saw a dozen recipes that were calling to me, including her Chocolate Honey Jumbles, Chocolate Spiced Shortbread Stars, and Tennessee Honey Chocolate Cake. But the moment I saw her Lamington Whoopie Pies I knew that was the recipe I needed to make.
Lamingtons are a classic Australian/New Zealand sweet dessert traditionally made with a vanilla-flavored sponge cake which is cut into squares, frosted with a thin layer of chocolate icing, and then sprinkled or dipped into coconut. Usually served as is, they can also be sandwiched together with a layer of sweet cream filling in between. If you’ve had something similar that is called a Coconut Bar or Cleveland Bar, those are American versions of the Lamington.
I was first introduced to Lamingtons at one of our favorite bakeries, Bakesale Betty’s in Oakland. If you’ve never been there, you must go. Her fried chicken sandwiches are legendary as are her baked goods. Alison Barakat, co-owner and executive chef is an Australian native and Chez Panisse alum and started selling her baked goods at local farmers’ markets, which is where The Artist and I first discovered her.
Alison and her husband Michael were so successful, with a fun, kitschy style, that when she announced she was opening a brick and mortar business we both knew it would be a success. Bakesale Betty’s is the place to grab a snack, quick bite and some dessert. Don’t miss their amazing homemade pies, cookies, scones and other delights. She sells out quickly so go early!
We have an Aussie friend Christina, and when I told her about these whoopie pies, she got so excited! Her father is in town visiting her, so I will be sharing these with them, in honor of their homeland. I can’t wait to see their faces when they try them!!
Most of us grew up with whoopie pies and remember the uber sweet versions. I love what Claire did by replacing the traditional marshmallow filling with a simpler sweetened buttercream filling. This really allows the chocolate and coconut to shine. What a brilliant way to incorporate the traditional flavors of the Lamingtons with an American classic. Claire, you are my hero!
Happy Chocolate Monday everyone!!!
Australian-Inspired Lamington Whoopie Pies
Slightly modifed from the Original recipe from Claire K Creations
Yield: 6 to 7 large whoopie pies (14 individual cakes)
115g / 4 oz / 1 stick butter softened
200g / 7 oz soft brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
300g / 10.5 oz / 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose blend
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
225ml / 8 oz / 1 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups / 16 oz powdered sugar, or as needed
Milk, as needed
200g / 7 oz dark chocolate
1 cup shredded coconut
Preheat the oven to 170°C / 350°F convection and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
Make the Whoopie Pies: Using an electric stand mixer fitted with the blade attachment, beat the butter and sugar together creaming them until thick and creamy. Add the egg and mix until combined.
In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Whisk until completely blended. Add to the creamed butter/sugar mixture in two additions, beating in between each addition until completely incorporated and scraping the bowl before you add the second half. When it is ready, it will clean the sides of the bowl and clump together on the beater blade. Add the buttermilk and mix until fully incorporated and smooth.
Use a spring-loaded ice-cream scoop batter onto the prepared baking trays making sure you leave 2 inches between each one. The scoop helps make sure your cakes are evenly sized making them easier to match and sandwich together later.
Smooth out the tops with your damp finger (or use the back of a spoon) and even them out so they’re all the same height and nice, round balls of dough.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they’re firm, transferring them from the top rack to the bottom and spinning the trays front to back halfway through baking. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare the Toppings: Place the chocolate in a heatproof shallow bowl and melt in the microwave in 10 second bursts, stirring between each heating. When most of the pieces have melted, remove from the microwave and set on the counter. Continue to stir occasionally until all the pieces are melted and the mixture is smooth.
Pour the coconut in a shallow bowl.
Dip the rounded tops of half the whoopie pies into the chocolate, allowing any excess to drip off or scrape lightly against the edge of the bowl. Place them back on the wire racks, chocolate side up, sprinkle liberally with the coconut and let sit until set. NOTE: You can dip all of the pies into the chocolate, ending up with chocolate and coconut on the top and bottom, but those are messier to eat. I chose to only dip the top portion of mine. Whichever you prefer is fine.
Make the Filling: Beat the butter until smooth, creamy and pale and then beat in the vanilla extract. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until mixed in. Add a little milk, 1 tsp at a time, to get the icing to spreadable consistency.
To Assemble: Spread the flat side of the un-dipped whoopie pies with the filling mixture, dividing it evenly. (Or if you are dipping rounded tops of all whoopies, spread filling on half of them.) Top with a chocolate-dipped half and sandwich them together. Enjoy immediately or within a few hours.
Make Ahead: If you want to bake the cakes ahead, you can. Cool them completely, wrap tightly in plastic and store in the refrigerator. Store up to 1 day in the refrigerator. Return to room temperature before dipping, filling and assembling.
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