With the irresistible combo of delicate sponge cake and decadent icing all coated in coconut, this lamington recipe will be a fast favourite.
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Classic chocolate lamingtons are a soft and sweet treat favoured by us Aussies. In fact, we’re so besotted with these coconut-crusted cakes that the lamington origin story was a point of contention between Australia and New Zealand for a long time. So where are lamingtons from, really? Are lamingtons Australian, or Kiwi? It was theorised that lamingtons were born in Queensland around the 1900s and named after then-governor Lord Lamington. However, after years of fierce debate, it was countered that the person who invented lamingtons was actually from New Zealand – likely a local baker. The dessert was originally called a wellington, and it appears that Lord Lamington might have ‘adopted’ the dessert after a visit to our island neighbours in 1895.
Wherever the lamington – or the wellington – came from, at least we can all agree that they are best enjoyed on sunny balconies with a cup of tea. Aside from tasting delicious and being a surprisingly versatile dessert, this little sponge is also very easy to make.
Start by preheating the oven to 180°C and greasing a 20-by-30 centimetre pan along the base and sides before lining with baking paper. Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat with sugar for about 10 minutes using an electric mixer. You want the mixture to be thick and creamy, for the sugar to have dissolved, and for the mixture to have about tripled in volume. This meringue-like component is what keeps your sponge nice and airy.
The perfect homemade lamingtons are soft, light, and spongy. To achieve that texture, you’ll need to do two things: sift your ingredients, and combine everything very carefully. Sifting your flours and sugars will incorporate air and remove any lumps. Sifting three times will result in a fluffy sponge with a very fine crumb. As for mixing, a large whisk works great to gently combine ingredients with less effort than a spoon. Ensuring that you are only folding ingredients together until they are just combined will keep everything nice and light. Overmixing flour encourages gluten formation, which will make your lamingtons doughy rather than spongy—more like bread than cake.
When everything is combined enough that there are no dry patches but the batter still contains plenty of air, pour it into the prepared pan. Bake on the middle shelf for about 20–25 minutes until blonde and bouncy. Test your cake by pressing lightly on the surface. If it springs back, it’s ready to come out; if a depression remains, cook it for 5 minutes longer, then test again. Try to keep the oven door closed for the entire cooking time as a fluctuating temperature can cause the sponge to sink.
After the sponge has cooled and been cut into even squares, it’s time to make the icing. The goal is for the icing to be liquid enough to coat the sponge evenly and easily, but not enough to soak in. We recommend using a pair of forks to coat your lamingtons as it keeps the cakes secure without damaging the delicate sponge. Once all your lamingtons are coated in chocolate and rolled in the coconut, put them aside for 30 minutes or so for the chocolate to set. You could speed this up by placing them in the fridge, but setting at room temperature will keep your sponge nice and fluffy without going cold.
When we say lamingtons are versatile, we mean it. Not only can you change up the coconut coating – try sprinkles to make fairy bread lamingtons – but you can change the colour of the sponge. A few drops of red food colouring into the batter will give you pink lamingtons, while a dash of green will make – you guessed it – green lamingtons. Why not make a guessing game out of different coloured lamingtons for a fun and tasty treat? It’s perfect for parties.
Not only can you coat lamingtons, but you can fill them as well. Once the sponge is cooked and cut, carve out a cavity using a small knife. Keep the removed sponge, then pipe jam or cream into the hollow lamington. Then simply trim the sponge plug and push it back into the cake before icing. You can make a cream or jam lamington this way. Use your favourite preserves like this 3-ingredient strawberry jam or this peach Melba jam.
You could also make a lamington slice by covering just the top of the sponge with chocolate sauce (try the sauce from our soufflés recipe) before sprinkling with coconut, or make lamington cupcakes with chocolate buttercream and coconut shards, or even try a lamington trifle using the sponge, chocolate, and coconut as base flavours before adding jelly and topping with berries. Follow this recipe for more details on trifle.
For more inspiring lamington recipes, try this fuss-free lamington cake, which you can use the lamington sponge from this recipe to create, or the Coles Double Sponge Unfilled Cake. For another lamington-inspired cake idea, try this pavlova with raspberries, coconut flakes, and chocolate sauce.
For a treat that’s perfect as a coconut-lovers gift, make this lamington rocky road. Or, if you’re entertaining, try this lamington ice cream pudding for a refreshing summer dessert. For more ideas head to the dessert recipe collection page.
Energy: 1787kJ/428 Cals (21%)
Protein: 6g (12%)
Fat: 14g (20%)
Sat fat: 10g (42%)
Carb: 70g (23%)
Sugar: 53g (59%)
Fibre: 3g (10%)
Sodium: 114mg (5%)