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.
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
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.