I am so excited to be writing this!
When I decided to turn this little challenge of mine into a contest, I had absolutely no idea that so many people would enter. Even those who would not bake at all in the normal run of things have been inspired to get out the eggs, butter, sugar and flour (and they have told me so, in the emails accompanying their entries), and that's what makes this even better - we are officially a baking community. Yes, we are.
So, a big pat on the bag to every one of you. I really wish I could have been there with you while you were getting your bake on (nothing like a team bake-off!), even if only to help you clean up the mess; lamington making is not a tidy exercise, as we all now now!
Before we get to the good bit (looking at the entries!), I just want to say a few things about the judging. There is no way that I feel able to do this alone. Too many talented bakers have entered, and I can't possibly choose just one of them to win. For this reason, I have decided to take a reader poll, and award two prizes instead of one - the first one, the cookie cutter, will go to the entry that gets the most votes (voting begins tomorrow, when I will enable the voting tool - if that's what we're calling it). The second, MYSTERY PRIZE (I have to make sure I can get it before I announce it!) winner, will be selected at random, from the remaining entries. Sorry to remove myself entirely from the judging process, but it's too difficult to choose. You are all winners in my eyes!
Do please take a little time to visit each of the blogs mentioned below; these are some very creative types indeed, and you'll enjoy it.
And so, without further ado, and in no particular order (save that in which I received them!), I give you the Re-Invented Lamington Hit Parade!
Ms. Humble, of the inimitable Not So Humble Pie, kicked things off with a White Chocolate and Raspberry Lamington.
Not only was she first to re-invent, she also did so no less than FOUR times!
Lemon Meringue Lamingtons
Red Velvet Lamingtons
And, a stroke of genius, Bloody, Poofy, Woolly Chocolate Lamingtons.
I didn't know about Lisa Randel's blog Sunday Hotpants before this competition started, but have been back so many times since she entered - stunning photos make me want to up sticks and move to NZ, and the design is super kitsch! She was also quick off the mark, with multiple entries (I love a competitive streak!).
Blueberry Lamingtons (which really are blue!)
And Double Chocolate Jaffa Lamingtons.
Next, a personal favourite of mine (read the accompanying post, you'll see - I love Hubert!), Mathea of Peas♥Carrots made super fantastic LAMBingtons. Mathea set her flat on fire making these beauties, so let's all be sending some major lamington love her way.
Now, I said a while ago that some people didn't like my competition, and felt that lamingtons didn't need re-inventing. Fortunately, not all Aussies share the same view: Conor of Hold The Beef actually went as far as declaring me an honorary Australian (!), and, in support of my challenge, made home-made ice-cream in 42°C heat! Conor, I love your lamos! (And blog!)
Cherry Ripe Ice-Cream Lamingtons
Next, I had an entry from Mowie of Mowielicious. Well, I say 'had an entry' - I actually found his lamingtons by happy coincidence while on a web-trawl. But he kindly agreed to enter them at my request, so you can all enjoy the beauty of his pictures. And he made a génoise cake for the base, which is more than I did!
CeeCee, who resides over Within the Kitchen, also entered, and I was particularly struck by her inventive use of a turkey baster (you have read correctly) and coloured coconut. CeeCee says she cursed my name many times while making lamingtons, on account of the mess and bother, but it turned out to be worthwhile because her kids loved them - 'EVEN MORE THAN CUPCAKES!' She turned out some pretty:
Chocolate Surprise Lamingtons
Okay, I said I liked a competitive streak - how's this for determination? Astheroshe, of Accro, also entered FOUR times! A full-throttle, crazy mix of flavour inspiration lifted from trashy candy bars and grown up floral-citrus combinations, her lamingtons are:
Chick-O-Stick (which is apparently an American chocolate bar)
Lemon Lavender Lamingtons
And now you'll have to forgive me while I gush for a little bit. The first blog I ever read avidly was, unsurprisingly, a baking blog. I have baked dozens of the cupcake recipes featured on its pages, and still, four years after first discovering it, I am positively replete with admiration for the abilities of its creator, Cheryl Poro. I'm talking about cupcakeblog.com (you knew that!) of course, and guess what? Cheryl made lamington-inspired cupcakes! I emailed, begging and pleading with her to enter, and she agreed (I reckon the Cardiff connection swung it!).
Cream filled vanilla cupcakes with ganache glaze and coconut
Another scoop on the competition front is an entry from Stef, of Cupcake Project! I've followed her blog since it started (give or take a month or two), and love the premise - baking beautiful cupcakes every week for the upcoming nuptials of friends. She's on couple number three now. I need to get engaged and see if she'll bake for me every week...
Talking of cool premises for a blog, I suggest you have a look at A Delicious. Year - Krista, it's creator, has also made lamingtons, and in Australia-themed shapes no less!
Jelly Cake Lamingtons
Lots of bloggers said that they didn't know what lamingtons were until I set this challenge. Well, I didn't know what a wattle was until Cakelaw, from Laws of the Kitchen, posted her lamingtons and photos. *spoiler* The golden wattle is the national flower of Australia!
Golden Wattle Lamingtons
The Curious Baker has made some very curious lamingtons indeed - inside out, and gluten free to boot! Brilliant stuff.
Mardi at Eat, live, travel, write really went to town with the re-invention. Look at these! And I love the photo - Australian flag gets extra points!
Now, of all the entries I've had (and as you can see, there are rather a lot!), the one I think I most want to take a bite of is this from Sanjana. I love her blog anyway - I'm never buying an Indian cookbook ever again - but these made me love it a whole lot more. Just imagine the flavour in this!
Srikhand Spice Lamingtons
Another blog I love, The Clayton's Blog, has yielded TWO entries! A real food lover's paradise, you need to explore this blog to get a feel for it. I love how honest the writers - a group of Australians, naturally - are. If something doesn't work, they'll tell you. And it isn't all 'Magazine Supplement' food - it's real food, made by real food lovers. I seem to spend far too long reading past posts...
Coby, who I 'met' through Nigella.com, made these babies:
Tropical Chocolate Lamingtons
And EmmCee, who does great step-by-step photos, made:
Silvermoon Dragon of Dragon Musings made a real doozy. Check out the colours on her lamington! I loved it.
Giant Lamington Surprise
And, although she doesn't have a blog herself, Silvermoon's sister, Jacqui, also entered. She made sparkling pineapple-lime jelly lamingtons. I repeat. Sparkling. Pineapple-Lime. Jelly. Lamingtons.
I'm glad it isn't just me who loves sparkly (Australia-shaped) food!
Finally, though amazingly, Ozoz, the wonderful Kitchen Butterfly made Lamingtons à la fondue. What an idea! Let everybody make their own lamington mess to tidy up!
And that's the Re-Invented Lamington Hit Parade 2010. Wasn't it fantastic? Why not take another look?
Remember, you can't vote yet. I'll be posting the poll tomorrow (my mum's here and I'd rather spend a little time with her than sort out this poll thing right now!) - this is just so you can have a little extra time to think about which way you'll go.
And of course...
Happy Australia Day Everybody!