These classic Australian lamingtons are perfect for Australia day or any other day you need a delicious morning or afternoon tea.
Lamingtons are the quintessential Australian dessert. A classic Aussie icon. They are made with a light, fluffy sponge cake, coated with chocolate icing and finally finely grated coconut.
Why is a Lamington called a Lamington?
Lamingtons are believed to be named after Lord Lamington, who was the governor of the Australian state of Queensland between 1896-1901. It is thought there were invented by one of Lamington's staff as a way of using up leftover sponge cake, the chocolate coating and coconut making the slightly stale cake nicer to eat or possibly to serve to unexpected visitors.
Who invented Lamingtons?
Lamingtons were invented by one of Lord Lamingtons' staff members in the late 1800s. The recipe for Lamingtons was published in 1902 in the Queensland Country Life newspaper.
In 2014 The Guardian published an April Fools Day article, claiming there was historical evidence there were in fact invented in New Zealand and citing a painting with the alleged cake, which later turns out never really existed. The joke worked a little too well and was even cited in several locations before later turning out to be a joke.
When is Lamington day?
National Lamington Day is celebrated in Australia on 21st July each day, giving us all an extra excuse to indulge in this tasty Aussie dessert.
Do Lamingtons have jam?
The million-dollar questions! Traditionally lamingtons do not have jam. Classic Aussie cookbooks generally agree that traditional lamingtons do not have jam or cream. But they are certainly yummier with both and I have included jam and cream as an optional extra in this recipe.
Can't get enough of this delicious Aussie dessert? You'll love my fairy bread lamingtons. Perfect for Australia Day or any day you need some sunshine and sprinkles in your life!
White self-raising flour: white self-raising flour is best for this recipe, I haven't tried it with wholemeal flour. You could also use all-purpose flour mixed with baking powder if you prefer to make your own.
Corn flour: also known as corn starch and can be labelled as wheaten cornflour or corn (maize). The cornflour makes the cake crumb softer and makes for a lighter sponge cake.
White sugar: white sugar is best in this recipe. You could use castor sugar if you prefer. I don't recommend using other types of sugar, they will be hard to dissolve and will compete with the flavours in this ice cream.
Eggs: I use large eggs in this recipe, approx. 55 gms each with shells before cracking. Your egg should be at room temperature before you start baking. Usually leaving the eggs on the countertop for thirty minutes before baking is sufficient.
Butter: I used regular salted butter in this recipe but you can use unsalted if you prefer. It's important your butter is a room temperature before you start baking so your batter comes together and your cake rises. It can take anywhere from thirty minutes to one hour for the butter on the countertop to come to room temperature.
Milk: I use full cream milk in pretty much all my recipes because it tastes better. In this recipe you could use reduced fat if you prefer.
Vanilla essence: sometimes also called vanilla extract, depending on where you live. You can use either, or imitation vanilla essence, depending on your preference and budget.
Desiccated Coconut: is finely grated coconut, commonly used in baking. The fine texture helps it stick to the lamingtons. I don't recommend using shredded coconut, it will be too big to stick to the lamingtons.
Cocoa powder: I use natural cocoa powder in this recipe. It takes a bit more effort to mix in but gives the best chocolaty flavor.
How to make lamingtons
Preheat your oven to 355°F/ 320°F fan-forced (180°C/ 160°C).
Grease and line a slice tin or square cake tin. Lamingtons are usually made in a 9" x 12" slice pan, however I find they work just as well in a square cake tin which gives them extra height.
Sift your flour and cornflour together three times to aerate the flour and help make your sponge cake nice and fluffy.
Add the butter, sugar and vanilla essence to a mixing bow. Mix together with electric hand beaters or in a stand mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well in between each addition.
If you are using a stand mixer at this point I recommend switching to hand mixing from here.
Add half the flour and cornflour mix and gently fold in using a spatula or spoon. To fold run the spatula around the end of the mix, then drag it through the middle, turning the spatula over as you pull through. Repeat, in roughly figure of eight motions in the batter, scooping round the edge and folding through the middle until the flour is mixed in, in a slow and steady motion.
Add the milk and fold into the mix. Add the rest of the flour and cornflour and fold in.
Scrap the batter into the prepared cake tin and smooth it down around the edges. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cake is cooked through, is golden brown on top. The cake springs back when lightly pressed and a skewer inserted into the center to come out clean and not covered in sticky batter.
Allow the cake to cool completely. Remove from the pan, then trim the smooth cooked edges to expose the rough cake surface underneath. Using a large serrated knife cut the cake into large squares. If you want perfect squares you can use a ruler if you really want, but I prefer to just eyeball it.
Return the cake pieces to the cake tin and freeze for one hour before coating. Some recipes say to make the cake the day before to make it easier to coat. You can do this, but also means you end up eating day-old cake. Freezing the cake is quicker, and makes it less crumbly and easier to coat in chocolate.
About twenty minutes before the cake is ready make the chocolate icing. Boil the water for the bottom of the double boiler. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa. Add the icing sugar, cocoa, butter and milk to the top of the double boiler. If you don't have a double boiler you can use a heat-proof bowl that will fit snugly into a medium to large pot of boiling water, taking care not to burn yourself.
Reduce heat to low and stir icing until mix becomes thick and coats the back of a spoon or spatula, leaving a line in the mix when you run your finger through it.
Remove from heat and set up your assembly area with the frozen cake on the left, chocolate icing in the double boiler, shallow cake tin with desiccated coconut and a cooling rack on top of a baking tray to catch the drips of coconut.
One at a time drop each piece of cake into the chocolate icing, using a fork to flip it over and make sure it's well coated. Lift the cake out of the icing with the fork, holding it above the icing and allowing the extra to drip off well.
Put the cake carefully into the tray of coconut. Using Different forks, roll the cake around in the coconut ensuring it's well coated. You can also pile the coconut up around the sides and top the cake and gently pat it down to help the coconut stick. Transfer the coated cake to the cooling rack and repeat until all slices are done.
If you are making plan lamingtons you can stop here. If you want to make filled lamingtons, cut them in half, spread one side with jam and add whipped cream, then put the other side on top.
How to serve
To serve put the kettle on to make a cuppa, put the lamingtons, either filled or unfilled on to a plate and enjoy!
How to store
How long can you keep Lamingtons?
These lamingtons are best eaten on the day they are made but will store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.
Do you refrigerate Lamingtons?
If you have added jam and cream then any leftover cakes will need to be refrigerated in a covered container in the fridge.
Have you made this recipe? Tell me how it went in the comments below!
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Why not try making
- Square cake tin or rectangular 9' x 12' slice tin.
- Double boiler or a heat proof bowl you can put over a pot of boiling water.
- 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (125gms) room temperature butter
- ¾ cup (165gms) white sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 and ½ cups (225gms) self raising flour
- ¼ cup (35gms) corn flour
- ½ cup (125mls) full cream milk
- 2 and ⅓ cups (375gms) icing sugar or powdered sugar
- ¼ cup (25mgs) cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon (20gms) room temperature butter
- ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon (90mls) full cream milk
- 1 to 2 cup ( gms) desiccated coconut
- ¼ cup strawberry jam
- ½ cup whipped cream
- Pre-heat your oven to 355°F/ 320°F fan forced (180°C/ 160°C).
- Grease and line the cake pan.
- Sift the flour and corn flour together three times. This helps ensure a light fluffy sponge.
- Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
- Add half the flour and corn flour in the butter and sugar mix. Fold in gently.
- Add the milk, fold in gently.
- Add the rest of the flour and corn flour, fold in gently. You want to make sure its all mixed together properly, but be gentle with the mix.
- Transfer to lined cake tin and bake for 30 minutes or until starting to go golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely and at least ten minutes before removing from the tin.
- Cut cake into squares. Transfer back to cake tin and freeze for one hour.
- Boil the water for the bottom of the double boiler.
- Sift the icing sugar and cocoa. Add the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk to the top of the double boiler. Put the pan on low and stir until icing is mixed in well and melted together.
To assemble the lamingtons
- Put the coconut into a shallow baking tray.
- Set up your assembly area with sponge cake on the left, chocolate icing in the middle (put something heatproof under the pot to protect the work surface), then tray with coconut, then cooling rack on a tray.
- Drop the sponge cake pieces into the chocolate icing one at a time. Flip the cake piece over with a fork, ensuring the all of the cake is coated. Carefully lift the cake on the fork, allowing the excess chocolate to drain off.
- Place the cake onto the tray of desiccated coconut. Using two different forks to the one you used to dip the cake, carefully move around the cake, ensuring its coated in coconut on all sides. You can pile the coconut on and around the cake and gently pat it down to help with this process.
- Transfer the coconut coated cake to the cooling rack. Repeat with the other pieces of cake.
- Allow to dry for 30 mins before transfer to a plate.
- Cut the lamingtons in half, add a spoon full of jam and whipped cream, then close.
- Transfer to a plate, dig in and enjoy!
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Excellent recipe! This is my go to recipe from now on. I’m an Aussie living in America and I love to make Lammies for my American family and friends which they love. Thanks for the recipe, I just made two batches.
Hi Gigi, I'm so glad you loved them! How lovely to share the lamington love with American friends and family. They may also love my fairybread lamingtons if you want to give them a try, a perfect marriage of two Aussie classics!