Meet your new food obsession: the lamington. Simple yet highly addictive, these delicious little cake squares are ubiquitous in Australian coffee houses. To an uninitiated Texan, however, they are nothing short of a revelation. For this “discovery,” we can thank Ascension Coffee owner/lamington smuggler Russell Hayward.
Enlisting the talents of Yang Wu, CIA grad and director of culinary operations at Everett & Elaine, Hayward set out to bring this culinary icon of his homeland to Dallas. It’s safe to say Wu has done the Aussies proud, especially considering he’d never even heard of a lamington before working with Hayward to create what is perhaps the ideal recipe.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
The essence of all lamingtons is a sponge cake base, with consistency varying from one recipe to the next. Ascension’s version features a light pound cake coated in chocolate frosting and dusted with ultra-fine coconut snow. It’s straightforward and uncomplicated but a perfect companion to a full-bodied cup of coffee. If you want to go full Aussie, pair it with a long black (espresso poured into hot water).
It’s surprising the “lam-o” doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of traction here in the states. A few specialty bakeries in Texas offer them and they’ve migrated to a few California cafes. Cleveland, Ohio, has a version — dubbed “coconut bars” — they’ve held dear for decades. With any luck, local moms will take a cue from Australian mums and we’ll start seeing these at bake sales. Until then, you'll be making googly eyes at Ascension’s pastry case.
Ascension Coffee, 1621 Oak Lawn Ave., ascensiondallas.com