Everything you need to know about lamingtons

Australia Day celebrations are not complete unless you have eaten true Aussie food and nothing beats a fresh lamington for morning or afternoon tea.

Lamingtons are almost in the same iconic league as the classic meat pie, Tim Tams, Bowen mangoes and Anzac biscuits. Complete any Australia Day barbeque with a delicious lamington. For those who don’t know, a lamington is a white sponge cake covered in chocolate icing (or sauce) and then rolled in desiccated coconut.

Origin

The lamington was named after Lord Lamington, who served as Governor of Queensland between 1896 and 1901. The lamington was first served in Harlaxton House, Toowoomba when Lamington was visiting with his wife. Other reports believe the sweet was first served at the Queensland Government House when the chef was forced to be creative due to unexpected guests arriving.

It is unknown as to whether the creation was deliberate or actually just a mistake in which the chef may have dropped the cake into melted chocolate by mistake and attempted to cover it up with coconut. However it happened, the dish was an instant success.

The original recipe

The Queensland Country Life magazine first published the recipe in the December 1900 issue.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup of butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons of milk

Method

Beat the butter and sugar together and in a separate bowl beat the eggs and milk. Combine the ingredients and shift in flour and baking powder. Before baking the mixture in two separate sandwich tins, you may like to add in extra flavouring such as vanilla or lemon.

To make the icing you will need to beat 85 grams of icing sugar with 28 grams of butter.

When a cream like consistency has formed spread the mixture between the layers of cake and sandwich together. For the chocolate icing mix the same quantities of icing sugar and butter. Add 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder and a dash of vanilla essence. Cover the cake with the chocolate mixture and then roll in desiccated coconut — leave to set.

Modern variations

There are a large variety of variations to this recipe as well as different techniques used to ensure a fluffy and light sponge and dense or dark chocolate coatings.

Many modern variations of the recipe include alternative flavours, such as lemon or raspberry versions. A common addition is an added layer of jam and cream in the middle of the sponge. Alcoholic variations include soaking the sponge in malt whisky as well as adding a splash to the chocolate coating.

Tips

Improve your lamingtons by using the following tips.

  • Prepare everything from weighing your ingredients to heating the oven and greasing the baking tin. If you leave the sponge mixture to sit for too long the batter will lose air and therefore will not be as fluffy and light.
  • Leave the butter to be warmed to room temperature rather than microwaving.
  • Shift your dry ingredients two or three times to introduce plenty of air.
  • Use room temperature eggs.

Another great addition to any Australia Day celebration is a summer pavlova, and no summer day party is complete without a light and healthy salad.