Happy Australia Day! Lamingtons …

lamingtons-6

Happy Australia Day! Although lamingtons have an iconic status in Australia and are enjoyed throughout the year, it seems rather fitting to make lamingtons for Australia Day.

Lamingtons are quite popular at bake sales, and anyone growing up in Australia will know of the lamington drives, a fundraising event (usually in schools) where lamingtons would be sold by the half dozen to raise money for charity.

Traditionally made from a sponge cake, coated in a chocolate sauce and then rolled in dessicated coconut, the humble lamington is a treat often found in local bakeries and supermarkets, though cafés throughout Australia are increasingly serving these little cakes as a posh, yet nostalgic, bite.

I first made lamingtons when I moved to Switzerland and was, at the time, living with my lovely friend, Emma. She and I hit off really quickly, her passion for cooking and baking matching mine and we had so many fun moments cooking together and talking about food. Sadly, Emma decided to move to a more exotic country and I have since missed our girly chats and baking sessions. While Emma has been the ever attentive friend, remembering my birthday each year and even sending handwritten cards at Christmas, I live in guilt for being the worst friend ever; while I might have presents at the ready, all purchased and wrapped, there is something (lack of time? laziness?) which stops me from ever going to the post office, so I have boxes and bags of gifts all over my home, all eagerly awaiting delivery while they collect dust in anticipation. So to Emma and my other friends, I promise I will go to the post office … soon :-)

{I like to make lamingtons quite small so they are easier to eat. I made the lamingtons in this photo for a small party a few years ago}

I’m not quite sure what it was that prompted Emma and I to bake lamingtons one day, but she, at the time, was the proud owner of Bill Granger’s Everyday. In fact, it was Emma who introduced me to Bill Granger and I have been rapt in his books ever since, even making pilgrimages to his restaurants when in Sydney.

Bill Granger’s recipe for lamingtons is quite a good one, though after having made it a few times, I found the sponge to be too eggy in taste for me and perhaps a bit too dense. So I played around with various sponge cake recipes and ultimately arrived at my own concoction, which I think has been quite successful. Though, I still use Bill’s chocolate icing recipe as I love the thick and slightly hard coating it gives to the lamingtons, as opposed to the more traditional chocolate sauce which is used to lightly coat the sponge and provide a wet surface for the coconut to adhere to.

I like my lamingtons plain, but it is also common to find them with a layer of jam or cream (or both) in the centre. And whilst lamingtons are traditionally served in small sizes, it is not uncommon to see them in a large cake form.

{For something different, I also like to make a lamington cake by baking two plain vanilla sponges, sandwiching them together with some jam and cream, and then coating the cakes with a thick chocolate frosting before generously sprinkling over some dessicated coconut}

I find that these lamingtons keep quite well because the icing helps to keep the sponge moist. I keep them on a cake stand covered with a glass lid for up to a week, though you would be lucky to still have any leftover after this time!

So although it is Australia Day, I make these lamingtons in honour of my wonderful friend, Emma :-)

{Please click on the image twice to view the recipe in full size}

 

29 Comments

  1. Anita Menon 26 January 2012

    Gorgeous Lamingtons. Happy Australia day!

    Reply
  2. Julie 26 January 2012

    Happy Australia Day, I also made Lamingtons but as a guest post today. Enjoy your holiday!

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 26 January 2012

      Hi Julie! I just saw your post and your lamingtons look great! The recipe you used is a little similar to Bill Granger’s in that there are a lot of eggs! Great to see you spreading the word on lamingtons also on this side of the world :-)

      Reply
  3. manu 26 January 2012

    Hi, these are so lovely!!
    Have a great day

    Reply
  4. Jo 26 January 2012

    Aw Creme, you’re so lovely. Bet Emma will be squealing in delight when she sees this. Yet again, lamingtons are something else I’ve never had! But your photos are lovely and I love the idea of you in some sort of lammy factory with the mountains of the little beauties above stacked up around you! happy Australia Day to you xxx

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 26 January 2012

      Thanks Jo!! Hopefully you’ll get to try a lamington one day as they are really delicious, perhaps my favourite cake … I often make them in huge batches, so my kitchen does look like a factory line with sponge, chocolate sauce and coconut everywhere!

      Reply
  5. Julia Levy 26 January 2012

    LOL what amazes me is that you said you made these paticular ones a few years ago and even ‘back then’ your photos are stunning, stage by stage and artful. You’ve just been a stunning photographer and blogger in waiting having you!!!

    I always thought lamingtons were coated in jam before the cocount which is what put me off but now i know it’s a chocolate sauce, well lady, you’re talking my language!!! I think I need to make some just to offer apology for shunning these sweet treats so long :o)

    Now missy, what you need to do is gather all emma’s assorted gifts and parcel them up in one huge box and send them all at once as a Happy Australia Day/I miss you and the fun times gift. Seriously, she’ll be over the moon.

    Thanks for starting my day off smiling with another super, simple but wonderful, blog xxx

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 26 January 2012

      Ah you’re too kind :-) I’ve been snapping photos of my cooking for quite a few years now and was having some fun going through the old photos last night, so I thought I would include some in this post. I make lamingtons regularly so I have quite some many photos!

      And now that you have a better idea of what a lamington is, hopefully you will try it one day :-) Just don’t leave it as long as I have been putting off a trip to the post office!

      Reply
  6. Caroline 26 January 2012

    Gorgeous photos! How long have you been at this before FB and the blog?!!

    I have never made nor eaten lamingtons. I wonder about the history surrounding them and how they have come to be understood as something particularly Australian. Not bad either, it’s always great to be represented in cake form!

    I so hear you on the Laziness or better, lack of time front with posting…I have several boxes which have been staring at me indignantly for weeks now. I have taken to avoiding the room! haha!

    Happy Australia Day Thanh!!!! :-))

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 26 January 2012

      Lamingtons apparently originated in Australia (in Queensland) but I think New Zealand also lays a claim to this cake (and many other things! ;-))

      I seem to be quite good at buying gifts in advance of an event, but sending them on time is just not something I seem to be capable of. I think I need a personal assistant!

      Reply
  7. Amanda 26 January 2012

    A week! You can make homemade lamingtons last a week? Amazing.
    I love ’em and they are best homemade, but by someone else – they are just so messy to put together.

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 27 January 2012

      Hi Amanda,

      Yes, I think because these lamingtons are coated in icing, they keep quite well. Lamingtons which are coated in a chocolate sauce, as opposed to a chocolate icing, would not keep as long or they would dry out more quickly.

      Now that I’ve tried homemade lamingtons, and it has been eons since I’ve eaten a shop-bought lamington, I might be biased to say that I like my homemade ones the best :-) Indeed, it can be a bit messy to put together but the mess is worth it – I say that as a fussy clean freak!

      Reply
  8. Ana Rita Lebreiro 26 January 2012

    I love lamingtons, I have a friend who does them and always gives me some.

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 27 January 2012

      How lovely of your friend! I also like to make them in big batches (by doubling the above recipe) and give some away to friends and neighbours. I like to introduce as many people as I can to lamingtons on this side of the world :-)

      Reply
  9. Adriana 26 January 2012

    WOW. I am not Australian but I sure don’t care! I really want to make these!

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 27 January 2012

      I hope you will get a chance to make these one day! Plain sponge coated with chocolate icing and sprinkled with coconut – it can only taste good 😉

      Reply
  10. Billie 27 January 2012

    Happy Australia Day for yesterday. My youngest loves lamingtons and as you said in your post, these are often sold at the cake stalls at school. When we were in Perth and it was fundraiser day he would spend all his money on lamingtons and one icy pole. The laming ton would be popped into his mouth in one go no matter the size of it. Another fabulous post and stunning photos.

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 27 January 2012

      Hi Billie! Lovely to see you here :-) I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I have fond memories of lamingtons at school and hope the lamington drives will continue as a tradition. Cake stalls are not so common in Switzerland so I jump at the chance to make lamingtons whenever there is one.

      But now you’ve reminded me of icy poles … oh to be back in Australia! :-)

      Reply
  11. Emma 31 January 2012

    Goodness! My mouth is watering and I am smiling as I am typing this thinking about our wonderfully wholesome and nurturing cooking sessions. How many cups of tea did we drink??! Absoluely LOVE your blog – it oozes with you’ness – as it should, being your blog, i guess. Have just started reading and will read everything (am home with a cold) so apologies if you have already done so – but I would LOVE a posting on your other pies – and your roast chicken. Yum. Must be the only person in the world that has a cold yet still has an appetite! Eat, little bird’s frenchy is the luckiest person in the world! xx
    PS – my baby neice of 1.4 yrs sent me (clever baby!) Donna Hay’s Seasons book and it is absolutely beautiful and a nice little holiday looking at every photo. I made an apple and date strudel from it last night – yummy.

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 2 February 2012

      Emma!! Yay, great to see you here :-) Yes, I know what a great appetite you have, no matter the circumstances 😉 I miss you heaps and hope we can catch up soon … hubby might be in your neck of the woods for work so I might tag along if that eventuates!

      Will definitely post some more pie recipes soon and also a roast chicken recipe, just for you :-)

      I also love Donna Hay’s Seasons book – it is indeed such a beautiful book. I bought it on our trip to Oz in 2010 and lugged it all the way back to Zurich, along with almost half a suitcase full of other cookbooks! Thanks for sending me the recipe for the strudel – I’ll take your word for it that it was delicious!

      Reply
  12. […] are hard to go past. Perhaps these slices are not what one would think of eating on Australia Day (lamingtons are more common), but this classic recipe from the Australian Women’s Weekly is one which I […]

    Reply
  13. […] based my cake recipe on this one from Eat, Little Bird, and I doubled it, but she used a KitchenAid, which I don’t have (are you reading this […]

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  14. […] needed a recipe – I could have used my go-to madeleine recipe and the chocolate icing from my lamington recipe. But the idea of the madelamington itself was so cute that I was sold on the […]

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  15. Erin 22 January 2015

    These look amazing! I’d like to try making them for Australia Day this year, but I’ve never made lamingtons before. I’m sure they’re not too hard, but I was wondering, given the icing has real chocolate in it, doesn’t it set hard?

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 22 January 2015

      Yes, the icing does set hard, but not overly so. I think the trick is to make sure that the consistency of the icing is runny enough to coat the pieces of sponge lightly. Once dry, the icing will have set a little, but not in such a way that there would be a big contrast in texture between the icing and sponge. I think it is precisely because the icing contains real chocolate and sets once dry, that the lamingtons keep really well for several days in a covered container. If the consistency of the icing is too thick, this would more likely produce a “harder” icing once set and which would not give the soft bite which you would expect when eating lamingtons.

      Reply
      • Erin 23 January 2015

        Thanks! I will make sure the icing is quite runny. I’m taking them to a friend’s house for Australia Day so I doubt they’ll need to keep for long! :)

        Reply
  16. Ann 26 January 2015

    I made these last night in preparation for my Australia Day lunch today and they were very good. The cake tasted really good un-iced also, however the lamingtons did firm up a bit more overnight than I expected, but we still loved them.

    Reply
  17. makenzie mcintyre 4 May 2015

    hi, i am working on a project at school about Lamigtons and i am having a hard time figuring out why Lamingtons are popular in Austraillia when it was made in New Zealand.If you know why please reply.
    Thank you

    Reply

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