A Brumby’s Bust

We were at full strength again this week for our lamington judging, with all three lamington tasters in attendance – Traditionalist, Diplomat, and Novice taster. Brought before us this week was (half) a tray of Brumby’s lamingtons. “Sorry, they’re from Brumby’s” apologised our Diplomatic taster. But a Brumby’s lamington is still a lamington, and therefore deserved to be eaten and judged by us. If anything, this gave Brumby’s the underdog advantage. We expected so little from these franchise lamingtons, that they could have wowed us more easily than any other.

Despite its underdog advantage, however, the Brumby’s lamington crumbled under the pressure. Like a cheap toyota from a used car dealership, it drove alright for the first couple of hundred metres before things rapidly began to fall apart. After the first bite, our Brumby’s lamingtons began to disintegrate. The icing separated from the sponge and in order to experience all three ingredients together, one had to pick up a little sponge, a little icing, and a little coconut from the plate, force it together and devour it as quickly as possible.

The Icing
I will forever remember these lamingtons as the lamingtons that were left out in the rain – because that is the only way to describe the consistency of the icing. It had crossed the line from deliciously moist to wet. Even the box bore traces of damp where it had absorbed some of the lamintons’ excess moisture. For all the icing’s dampness, though, the sponge just did not want to absorb it. In fact, the sponge seemed to be openly rejecting the icing. Once the lamington was sliced, the icing began to peel off in sheets, leaving a naked square of sponge in its wake. “It’s a real problem,” exclaimed our diplomat, ‘it’s just not mobile.’ Indeed, the only way to eat this lamington was by leaning very close to the plate and holding the lamington tightly together until it reached one’s mouth.

The Sponge This was actually a very nice sponge in parts; light, creamy, sweet. Unfortunately, however, it had been a little singed on the top and the bottom and the taste of ever-so-slightly-burnt cake permeated the lamington. If only the baker had sliced a fine layer off the top and bottom of the sponge before cutting it into lamington squares, we would never have known. All three of our lamingtons suffered this same fate.

“It’s disappointing,” lamented our diplomat who had brought these disastrous lamingtons to the table.

I think we went a bit rogue when it came to scoring our Brumby’s lamington, though even our generosity has not saved them. I have to admit, there was some fun to be had in eating such a messy lamington, so I gave it an extra half point for entertainment value. Meanwhile, our diplomat added an extra half point for the service at Brumby’s, which was apparently exceptional. If only we could say the same of their lamingtons. It seems our novice was the only one sticking to the rules, although he seemed largely preoccupied by the price, “I feel like it should be cheaper, it’s from a franchise.”

The Diplomat: 5.9
The Traditionalist: 5.8
The Novice: 5.7

The Verdict: 5.8

This lamington was more of a donkey than a brumby I’m afraid.

Brumby’s | 228 Hawken Drive, St Lucia

$2.90 per lamington

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An elite lamington

This week I ate what was surely one of Brisbane’s most expensive lamingtons. One should always be cautious when the price is not displayed alongside an item for sale. It usually implies that the wares are outrageously expensive. In this case, though, it was a lamington I was after, and I thought ‘how expensive can a lamington be?’ Well at Indooroopilly’s Shingle Inn, $4.40. “It’s highway robbery, that’s what it is” exclaimed my thrifty partner as we left the store with my extravagant lamington.

Shingle Inn is an institution in Brisbane, first opening its doors in Edward Street in 1936. Sitting down with my lamington, the paper bag reminded me that they have been trading in baked goods for over seven decades now. Surely enough time to have perfected the great Australian lamington.

The Shingle Inn lamington was definitely the smallest we have judged so far. What it lacked in size though, it made up for in fluffiness. The outstanding feature of this lamington was the fluffy sponge, it was just so fluffy! Like little clouds of sponge dancing on my tongue. The downside of this lamington was that it was such a wee little thing. Because the sponge was so light and delicate, it was not a terribly satiating treat. Immediately after eating it, I felt like I had not eaten anything and wished I had bought two.

The overall experience of this lamington was just a tad fleeting. I think it was undersized, especially given the oversize price-tag. With such a light, airy sponge, it needed to be double the volume to make it truly outstanding. There are few things more disappointing than a lamington that does not satisfy one’s lamington craving.*

The Verdict: 8.2

Shingle Inn | Indooroopilly Shopping Centre, Moggill Road
http://www.shingleinn.com

* There are many things more disappointing than this, but I feel, as the authour of a blog with such limited scope, I cannot overemphasise the significance of lamingtons.

A cheap and cheerful lamington

When the friendly lady behind the counter requested “$1.70 please,” I replied, “excuse me?” Yes, this lamington was just $1.70. With pricing straight out of the nineties, how could you go wrong at Ashgrove’s Golden King Bakery.

Sitting down to survey my low-cost lamington that afternoon, I began to think it was a little too square for my liking. Should lamingtons be quite so brick-like, I wondered. Was this lamington too cheap? I sliced it in two to reveal a firm, dense sponge and I was pleasantly surprised when I took my first bite. The icing was set, rather than sticky, and the cake was a little closer to butter cake than sponge cake. I would have liked a lighter sponge, but the slightly heavier cake was nicely offset by the firmer icing.

On the whole, this was a lamington I really enjoyed. With a cup of Earl Grey and a novel, I felt entirely satisfied. It was also a generous size, and, at the budget price of $1.70 it might be Brisbane’s cheapest lamington.

On another note, I am just now realising that a blog about lamingtons is not a very visually appealing thing. Perhaps we’ll have to resort to eating some pink lamingtons for the sake of some colour. But I do detest pink lamingtons.

The Verdict: 7.2

Golden King Bakery | 239 Waterworks Rd, Ashgrove

A breakfast lamington

I bought this week’s lamington at Gerbino’s in Kelvin Grove. This lamington looked really promising, it’s non-uniform shape conjured up images of an old nanna in her country kitchen whipping up an afternoon tea of lamingtons.

This lamington looked so good I ate it for breakfast as soon as I arrived home. It felt soft and light and looked just like a good lamington should – a little bit wonky and imperfect! I’m not sure if lamingtons meet the nutritional requirements of what is considered a healthy breakfast, but given that one of the hallmarks of a good blog is apparently regularity, I need to fit lamingtons into my diet somewhere.

The standout feature of this lamington was the chocolate icing, it was moist, thick and rolled in just the right amount of coconut. The icing was so wonderfully thick, it was as though this sponge had been twice dipped in delicious, sticky chocolate. The drawback was the sponge which was just the slightest bit dry. Of course, I am a little picky, but one has to be when in search of the perfect lamington!

This lamington was really really good, but the slightly dry sponge meant it fell just short of excellent.

*I actually ate this lamington for breakfast on Saturday, because Gerbino’s Kelvin Grove store is not open on Sundays.

The verdict: 7.9

Gerbino’s Pasticceria | Shop 10A, 57 Musk Ave, Kelvin Grove

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gerbinos-Kelvin-Grove/131040233677595?fref=ts