I’ve mentioned lamingtons a few times recently and received some questions about them from readers – so I thought I’d write a post about the lamington. There’s no recipe here – there are plenty of recipes out there if you google “lamington recipe”.
A lamington is a classic Australian cake: a cube of sponge cake covered in chocolate and desiccated coconut.
For me, the lamington is more than just a cake that I like. It comes with lots of good childhood memories that I think of every time I see or eat a lamington.
The first time I encountered lamingtons was in my first year in primary school in Australia. I was in Year Six and we had a “lamington drive” – selling lamingtons as a fundraiser. I can’t remember what we raised money for; I just remember the lamingtons!
There were lamington drives in high school too. Some years we sold chocolates and packs of frozen sausage rolls, which I loved, but I always looked forward to the lamingtons.
There were a couple of years that we actually helped make the lamingtons for the lamington drive – the sponge cake was delivered to the school in a large slab from a commercial bakery which we cut into 4 cm cubes. Teams of volunteers worked in an assembly line – kids, parents and grandparents – and dipped the cake into chocolate icing then rolled the chocolate cubes in coconut, assembled cardboard boxes and packed six lamingtons to a box. I recall one year we sold strawberry lamingtons as well – the sponge was covered in strawberry icing rather than chocolate. They were never as popular as the original chocolate ones.
A well-made fresh lamington is wonderful. Despite looking like a block, the sponge cake is more like a soft pillow – beautifully light, with a delicate crumb. The chocolate and coconut cover the sponge evenly with no cake showing until you bite into it. They can be messy to eat, coconut falling with every bite. I love the smell of chocolate and coconut but must remember not to lean too close and inhale coconut!
You can make your lamington even more special by filling it with fresh cream and jam, like the Alice lamington at Koko Black, which is filled with cream and delicious sour cherry jam. So good.
I’ve heard that in Cleveland, Ohio in the US they have a similar item they call “coconut bars” – do any of you guys know about those?
Feel free to share your lamington love, favourite lamington bakeries and lamington memories/stories!
The lamington in the first two photos in this post came from the Gosnells Railway Market bakery – sold in a six-pack for $6.