Recognised as a beloved Aussie treat (even though New Zealand lays claim to inventing them!), the lamington can trace its roots back over 100 years. Legend has it that that the lamington was invented in Brisbane in 1901 when the housemaid of Lord Lamington, the Governor of Queensland at the time, accidentally dropped some freshly baked sponge cake into a bowl of melted chocolate icing. Rather than let it go to waste, she chopped the cake into squares and rolled it in desiccated coconut so that they could be eaten without chocolate sticking to their fingers. The new creation was so enjoyed that the lamington was served often at Government House and as a result spread interstate and has been baked ever since!
Enjoy them as a treat this Australia Day – or any time of the year!
Time needed: 1 hour and 30 minutes (plus cooling time)
Ingredients: (makes about 16)
For the sponge cake:
125g butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
275g (1¼ cups) caster sugar
150g (1 cup) plain flour
75g (½ cup) self-raising flour
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
125ml (½ cup) milk
640g (4 cups) icing sugar
50g (½ cup) cocoa powder
250ml (1 cup) milk
160g (2 cups) desiccated coconut
- Preheat oven to 150°C. Grease a 20cm x 30cm lamington pan and line the base with baking paper.
- Beat ingredients in a medium bowl on low speed with an electric mixer until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until mixture is smooth and changed to a paler colour. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
- Bake cake in a moderately slow oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes. Stand cake in pan for 5 minutes before turning onto wire rack. Turn cake top-side up to cool.
- To make the icing: sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a medium heatproof bowl. Stir in the butter and milk. Set bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water and stir until icing is of a coating consistency.
- Cut the cake into pieces and dip each square in icing. Drain off excess and toss the squares in the coconut. Place lamingtons onto wire rack to set.
Recipe adapted from The Australian Women’s Weekly Bake: Celebrating the time-honoured tradition of home baking, 2008.