The Classic Australian Lamington

A crystal platter holds three lamingtons.

The Lamington is a classic Australian treat consisting of a basic vanilla sponge cake smothered in a rich chocolate ganache and rolled in sweet coconut.

What I love about food is that it can evoke so many precious memories. A simple dish such as Creamed Peas with Basil or dessert like this Strawberry Rhubarb Jello Pie can transport the diner to another time and place.

Twelve chocolate and coconut covered lamingtons on a rack.

The Classic Australian Lamington

Lamingtons are a crowd pleasing confection found in every bakery in Australia. They consist of a fluffy vanilla sponge cake coated in rich chocolate ganache.

This ganache is the perfect canvas for snowy flakes of sweet coconut while adding a more exotic flavour to the confection.

Bite into the pillowy soft sponge cake and let the coconut flakes fall where they may. 

January 26 is Australia Day and it’s also a great day for baking Aussie treats such as the Lamington and Melting Moments.

Two chocolate and coconut covered lamingtons on a rack.

We will cherish our time in Australia forever. Our favourite memories include demolishing Aussies meat pies and Chicco rolls from the shops by beach. 

Australia Day

The day is a great excuse to get together for one of two quintessential Aussie past times; either a picnic or a barbeque.  A day on the river banks or beach, is always followed by ‘crackers’ (or fireworks) as darkness sets in.  

I’m not talking about tossing a couple of snags (sausages) or prawns on the barbie, or even fancy sangas (sandwiches). Australians bring out all sorts of lamb bits, seafood, salads and sweet treats.

They make quiches and puddings and tarts. They know how to celebrate their national day for sure. I like to celebrate with Lamingtons!

A hand holds a piece of chocolate and coconut covered sponge cake with a bite out of it.

Who Invented the Lamington?

The Lamington is named after Lord Lamington, Governor of Queensland from 1896-1901. However, in the inventor of this delectable dessert is up for debate.

The most popular story is that Lord Lamington’s chef, the French-born Armand Galland, dipped leftover sponge cake in melted chocolate to serve at short notice.

Since coconut was a rare ingredient in Australia at the time, the new invention created quite a stir among the guests.

Nine squares of sponge cake on a rack.

History of the Lamington

The first documented mention of Lamington Cake was in 1896 at an event held in honour of Lord Lamington. The first published recipe appeared a few years later (1901) in the Queensland Country Life newspaper.

Today, this Aussie icon is found in many bakeries, shops, and is a popular item for school and charity fundraisers. We attended more than a few of these ‘Lammo Drives’ during our time in Australia. 

The set up for covering lamingtons in chocolate and coconut.

How to Make a Great Lamington

No worries, it’s not at all complicated. Making the vanilla sponge cake and cutting it into equal pieces are probably the most difficult tasks.

Once the sponge cake has dried for a 6-8 hours, they are ready to be smothered in chocolate ganache and rolled in coconut flakes.

Some lamingtons have a middle jam or cream layer, multiple layers of chocolate, or are coated in white or pink chocolate. These are fun ways to dress up this Aussie classic.

A square of chocolate covered sponge cake sits in a bowl of dessicated coconut.

Tips For Making Great Lamingtons

  1. Sift all ingredients to ensure an even cake crumb and smooth ganache. 
  2. Line the bottom of the cake pan with parchment paper to ensure the cake comes out cleanly. 
  3. Cut the sponge cake and allow it to dry for 6-8 hours.
  4. Try to work quickly so the coconut will stick to the chocolate. 
  5. If you run out of coconut during the ‘lamination’ process (haha), do not continue covering the cake pieces in chocolate.
Six chocolate and coconut covered lamingtons on a rack.

How to Make Lamington Chocolate Sauce

The chocolate sauce that is best for Lamingtons is a very thin ganache which requires simple pantry ingredients.

Simpley mix up the cocoa powder, icing sugar (powdered sugar), butter, and milk to make a thin ganache. It’s such an easy way to get loads of chocolate flavouring onto each side of the cake.

The thin consistency is important because it allows the chocolate to soak into the sponge cake. Who doesn’t like a cake entirely covered in chocolate?

A crystal platter holds three lamingtons.

How to Store Lamingtons

Store the Lamingtons in an air tight container and consume within 7 days.

Additionally, they freeze incredibly well and will keep in an air tight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

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Pinterest image featuring chocolate and coconut covered lamingtons.

Yield: Makes 9 squares

Lamingtons

Two chocolate and coconut covered lamingtons on a rack.

The Lamington is an Australian classic cake treat consisting of a basic vanilla sponge cake smothered in a rich chocolate ganache and rolled in sweet coconut.

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp of sea salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of room temperature butter
  • 3/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup of cocoa powder
  • 3 tbs of butter; melted
  • 2/3 cup of milk
  • 4 cups dessicated sweetened coconut 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
  2. Lightly butter an 8 inch square cake tin. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, use an electric beater to cream the butter and sugar mixture together until pale and fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time to the butter/sugar mixture. Beat well after adding each egg.
  6. Add the vanilla to the mixture and mix well to combine.
  7. Next, use a spatula to alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, starting and finishing with the flour.
  8. Spread the batter into the cake tin, making sure it’s evenly spread.
  9. Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. Test the center of the cake with a toothpick and make sure it comes out clean.
  10. Cool the cake in the tin for about 5 minutes and then invert it onto a wire rack to cool.
  11. Once the cake has cooled cut it into squares of a desired size and place them in an airtight container. Pop the container in the fridge for at least 2 hours or even overnight. Alternatively, leave out on the counter fo 6 hours, then begin coating.

FOR THE COATING

  1. Now for the icing. Sift the icing sugar, cocoa powder into a bowl, stir in butter and milk.
  2. Stir the mixture until it is smooth but still a bit thick. You don’t want the liquid to get too thin otherwise the sponge cake won’t absorb the coating.
  3. Now it’s time to assemble the Lamingtons. Put out some parchment or aluminium foil under wire racks to catch any mess. Place the cake pieces on the racks and place the desiccated coconut in a bowl.
  4. Using a fork, place the sponge cake into the chocolate bath and coat on all sides. Pause and allow the icing to drip off slightly then gently roll the cake in the coconut. Place on wire rack.
  5. Repeat the process fo each square individually. Allow to set for a few hours.
  6. The Lamingtons can be stored in an airtight container for 5 days.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

9

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 689Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 26gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 515mgCarbohydrates: 83gFiber: 5gSugar: 55gProtein: 8g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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3 comments

  1. Jodi

    MMMMMM,
    Could you please make another batch and send them to us for Mal’s birthday?.. (I thought throwing in an occasion might help you to decide to send some yummy awesome goodiness our way) Thanks a heap! Mal turns 52 years old on 29JAN13.
    We sure miss you guys and gals! Cheers, Jodes

    Reply

    1. gomama2013

      Ha! I should have added a disclaimer to the blog…**no mail orders allowed** LOL. I did post the recipe in the recipe section and they really aren’t as difficult to make as you would think. Give it a go!
      Mal..have a great 52nd birthday, maybe Jodi will surprise you 🙂

      Reply

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