Happy Australia Day! Lamingtons …

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A delicious recipe for Lamingtons using real chocolate, perfect to serve on Australia Day or for a school bake sale.

lamingtons on wire rack

Lamingtons

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.

lamingtons on tray

What is a Lamington?

A lamington is traditionally made from a vanilla sponge cake, coated in a chocolate sauce and then rolled in dessicated coconut.

They are often found in local bakeries and supermarkets in Australia, though local coffee shops are increasingly serving these little cakes as a posh, yet nostalgic, bite.

When we were in Australia last year, we treated ourselves to dinner one evening at Rockpool Bar & Grill in Melbourne, and I was delighted to find that they had lamingtons on the dessert menu, served as petit fours with a white chocolate chantilly and strawberry jam. Naturally, I couldn’t resist ordering this for dessert!

rockpool bar and grill lamingtons with white chocolate chantilly and strawberry jam on white plate
{Rockpool Bar & Grill lamingtons with white chocolate chantilly and strawberry jam}

Lamington Recipe

Over the years, I have played around with several lamington recipes. Some have produced really eggy sponges, others have been too heavy for my liking.

So I have eventually arrived at my own concoction, which has been a hit with my family and friends for many years now.

This lamington recipe produces a light, yet firm, vanilla sponge which goes perfectly with the rich chocolate icing. Most traditional recipes use a chocolate sauce which is used to lightly coat the sponge and provide a wet surface for the coconut to adhere to.

My recipe uses real chocolate in the icing which later sets to give the lamingtons a thicker coating than normal, which is not only totally delicious, but it also helps the lamingtons to keep better for longer.

lamingtons on wire rack

How to Make Lamingtons

To make lamingtons, you need to start with the sponge cake.

The sponge cake needs to be both light and fluffy, but it also needs a bit of structure so that it can hold its shape once it is rolled in the chocolate icing and coconut.

If the cake is too soft and crumbly, it will be difficult to work with and it may also absorb too much icing.

I like to make the sponge cake the night before, so that the cake has had a chance to cool down completely and also dry out slightly, making it easier to work with the next day.

step by step photos on how to make lamingtons

How to Serve Lamingtons

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. These days, you can even find some cafés and bakeries in Australia selling lamingtons with a layer of chocolate in the centre!

And whilst lamingtons are traditionally served in small sizes, it is not uncommon to see them in a large cake form. I recall having many birthday parties as a child where my mother had made a lamington cake to celebrate.

lamingtons

How Long Can You Keep Lamingtons?

I find that lamingtons made using this recipe keep very well because the icing helps to keep the sponge inside moist. Because there is real chocolate in the icing, the coating of the lamington will harden a little, a bit like icing on a cake, but it is still really delicious.

I keep them on a cake stand covered with a glass lid for up to one week, though you would be lucky to still have any leftover after this time!

lamingtons on wire rack

Lamingtons

laminations

5 from 2 reviews

A delicious recipe for Lamingtons using real chocolate, perfect to serve on Australia Day or for a school bake sale.

  • Author: eatlittlebird.com
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 90 mins
  • Yield: Makes 32 lamingtons
  • Category: Cakes
  • Cuisine: Australian

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 185 g (1 1/4 cup) plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 40 g (1/3 cup) cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 200 g (2 sticks minus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, softened
  • 230 g (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon) caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) full cream milk

For the chocolate icing

  • 500 g (3 2/3 cup) icing sugar (powdered sugar), sifted
  • 200 g (7 oz) dark chocolate (60% or 70%)
  • 15 g (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) milk, plus more
  • 325 g (12 oz) dessicated coconut

Instructions

For the cake

  1. Make sure that the butter, eggs and milk are at room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  3. Butter a 17 cm x 27 cm baking tin, and line the bottom with greaseproof paper.
  4. Place all of the ingredients for the cake into a large food processor and blitz until everything is thoroughly combined. The batter should be pale yellow and quite thick. If the batter looks a bit curdled (which can happen if not all of the ingredients are at room temperature), blitz for a few more seconds.
  5. If you don’t have a food processor, simply sift the flour, baking powder and cornflour into the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Add the butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs and milk. Beat on low speed until all of the ingredients are incorporated. At this stage, the mixture might look a bit curdled. Increase the speed to high until the mixture has slightly increased in volume. You should have a thick, pale yellow mixture.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. You may need to cover the cake with some foil if it is browning too quickly.
  7. Leave the cake in the tin for about 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool, with the bottom of the cake facing up. This will help to ensure that the top of the cake flattens while it cools.
  8. Using a serrated knife (ideally a long, serrated bread knife), cut the sponge into 32 squares, or whatever size you wish. Keep in mind that, once coated in chocolate and coconut, the cakes will be much bigger in size.

For the chocolate icing

  1. Melt the butter and chocolate over low heat in a bain-marie (or a bowl over a pan of simmering water).
  2. Add the icing sugar (powdered sugar) and whisk in the milk until you have a thick, but slightly runny, mixture. The icing needs to be thick enough to coat the cakes, but runny enough to only leave a light coating.
  3. Leave the bain-marie on the stove over very low heat.

To assemble

  1. Pour the dessicated coconut onto a large plate.
  2. Using two forks, dip a piece of sponge into the chocolate icing mixture, making sure that all sides are coated, and allow any excess icing to drain off.
  3. Then roll the chocolate-coated sponge in the dessicated coconut, and place the lamington on a wire rack to dry.
  4. Repeat with the remaining sponge pieces.
  5. If the icing mixture becomes too thick, whisk in some milk to thin it out.
  6. Let the lamingtons set on a wire rack for about 30-60 minutes.

Kitchen Notes

I prefer to make the sponge cake the night before serving, and to leave the cake to cool and dry on the wire rack overnight.

STORAGE TIPS
These lamingtons keep very well for several days in an airtight container or on a cake stand with a glass lid.

OVEN TEMPERATURES
All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 360

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment below and share your photos by tagging @eatlittlebird on Instagram and using #eatlittlebird

Update

This post was first published on 26 January 2012. It has been updated with new photos and more comprehensive recipe notes.

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40 comments on “Happy Australia Day! Lamingtons …

  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 […]

    Reply
  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 […]

    Reply
  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
  18. Ingrid 8 March 2016

    Thank you for this recipe, I’ve made these before omitting the cornflour and they were very good. Planning to make more and follow the exact recipe, so I would like to ask if you use the corn starch or the cornmeal?

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 8 March 2016

      Hi Ingrid,
      I use what they call in Australia and the UK “cornflour”, which I think is called “corn starch” in the US. Both of these ingredients are white and resemble a fine flour.

      Cornmeal is made from crushed dried corn kernels and is used to make (amongst other things) polenta. It is typically yellow in colour, although you can also find white cornmeal. Unlike cornflour or corn starch, cornmeal is grainy in texture.

      I hope this helps! Have fun making the lamingtons 🙂

      Reply
  19. Kaitlyn 22 July 2016

    How long do you recommend to leave the lamingtons to set once iced before serving? I’m making this for my brothers 30th as he LOVES lamington. We were going to ice it 2 hours before we take the cake to the venue but I’m worried that the cake wont set in time.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 22 July 2016

      Hi Kaitlyn, I think it depends on how cool or warm your home is. But I think 2 hours should be plenty of time for them to set, unless your home is really warm and humid. If you’re a bit worried, you could certainly make the lamingtons the night before. I find that the lamingtons keep well for several days as the icing keeps the sponge inside moist. I hope you will enjoy this recipe!

      Reply
  20. […] Australia, these Chocolate Caramel Slices are as popular as Lamingtons and Chocolate Coconut Bars, all of which make regular appearances at bake sales and morning […]

    Reply
  21. Shez 8 March 2018

    Excellent recipe! Loved the real chocolate used in the coating. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
  22. Julia 13 April 2018

    YUM! I want to try it immediately! Looks great!

    Reply
  23. […] 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
  24. Ariasmith 12 May 2018

    I love this cake, So soft and yummy!! My kids like so much 🙂 Thank you for such a yummy share!!

    Reply
  25. […] simple coating for the coconut to adhere to, I think a proper chocolate icing (like that used in my lamington recipe) would have worked really well here […]

    Reply

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