Now In Technicolor: Coconut Teacakes Redux

When I was tasked with making some baked goods for someone who likes coconut (after abandoning the idea of making a dessert with grapefruit, another one of his other favorite foods), I thought that lamingtons would be a good choice. I have made King Arthur Flour's lamington/coconut teacake recipe several times before (see, e.g. here), and I have always been happy with the results. However, I have been bothered by the fact that my lamingtons never look like the ones pictured with the recipe on the King Arthur website.

The raspberry glaze shown on the website is an intense reddish-pink color, while mine is always a muted reddish-tan hue, the color of the raspberry spreadable fruit I use to make the glaze. I know that some raspberry jams might be more brightly colored than others, but I still didn't understand how a thin coating of any jam (especially jam thinned out with corn syrup and water) could have such a saturated color; jam is, after all, translucent by nature. I am a bit compulsive in this respect, but my expectation is that if I bake something, it should look as good as the cookbook photo. Or better. Well, I have finally discovered why my lamingtons have literally paled in comparison.

I recently bought all of the 2009 back issues of The Baking Sheet, King Arthur's bi-monthly newsletter of recipes. The 2009 Early Spring issue contains the lamington recipe, and it's not the same as the one on the King Arthur website. Not only does the cake recipe vary slightly (it basically contains the same ingredients in different ratios), but Baking Sheet version of the raspberry glaze is not made from raspberry jam, but from frozen raspberries, lemon juice, and sugar. The resulting glaze is, not surprisingly, the bright shade of raspberries. The color is so vivid that it looks completely fake. I cut my lamingtons into snack cake shapes (1-inch by 1-inch by 3-inch fingers), and after I rolled the cakes in coconut, they were dead ringers for a raspberry Hostess Zinger.

Although I normally toast the coconut I use to coat lamingtons, in this case, I skipped the toasting step so that the bright white coconut would have greater contrast against the raspberry glaze. I definitely prefer this glaze to the jam version -- not only is the color more eye-catching, but the raspberry flavor is markedly stronger.

Really, assuming you are not in the coconut-hating camp, what's not to love about this captivating cake?

This cake is too dense to put in any sort of cream filling, but now that I know the secret to making the Technicolor glaze, I'm half-seriously considering the idea of making a Zinger knockoff with vanilla cake and cream filling. I'm definitely putting it on my "I'll get to that someday" list.

Recipe: "Lamingtons," from The King Arthur Baking Sheet, Early Spring 2009.

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