Boy Bakes Treats - Lamingtons


Boy Bakes Treats - Lamingtons

So the story goes that this iconic Aussie treat was created in the late 1800s in the kitchens of the Queensland Governor, Lord Lamington, to feed unexpected visitors. I'm not sure about you, but for someone to invent a brand-new dish, I feel as though but they were no ordinary pop-ins. The original lamington must have made a bit of a splash, as a recipe appeared in print as early as 1900, and by the mid 1910s, they'd become a staple of baking competitions at regional fairs. So you could say they caught on like... hot cakes?

Basically, a lamington is a cubed piece of cake dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut. Layers of jam and cream are often found sandwiched in the middle, however there are pro-filling and anti-filling camps who feel strongly about the rightness of this addition. Controversy abounds!

This cook is based around a sponge cake, but butter cakes will also do the trick. Your icing can either be based on melted chocolate, which will give you a thicker coating, or cocoa, which seeps ever so slightly into the lamingtons to give it a softer texture.

So jam or not to jam? Honestly I'm fairly agnostic on this, but I've gone jam-free for this version mainly for a couple of reasons: officially, I'm hewing to the fairly traditional line, as no jam appears in any of the original recipes, but really it's because I'm quite crap at cutting things in half. If you do want to go down the cream and jam route, just the cut sponge in half lengthways once it has cooled down, spread one side with cream and the other with jam, then sandwich together before you start assembling. Make sure you don't go too heavy on the good stuff, otherwise it will ooze out when the cake is being coated.

Also, make sure your cake is completely cooled before you start assembling your lamington, otherwise your cake will collapse before you finish icing up. You can always store it in the fridge for a couple of hours or cook it the night before if you want to ensure you're building from a firm foundation.




50 minutes


20 minutes


Sponge cake

  • 140 grams self-raising flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 tablespoons hot water


  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 tbsp butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 400 grams shredded coconut


  1. Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius/360 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 20 x 30cm baking tin. Line base and sides with baking paper, extending the paper 2cm above the edge for easy removal later.
  2. Sift flour, cornflour and salt onto a sheet of baking paper. Place sifter on a second sheet of baking paper. Lift sifted dry ingredients on baking paper, pour into sifter and sift a second time. Repeat process for a final time, then set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in a large mixing bowl until thick and foamy and soft peaks form. Gradually add half the caster sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until dissolved between additions. When the mixture is glossy and firm, add egg yolks and the rest of the sugar and beat for a further 5 minutes or until mixture is triple the size and very light and airy.
  4. Place the butter and water into a small suacepan and heat until the water boils and the butter melts. Pour gently down the side of the bowl with the egg mixture and fold through. Add the sifted mixture into the egg mixture in two batches and fold in gently, so as to not lose any volume, until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated.
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until centre springs back when lightly pressed. When you remove the sponge cake from the oven, drop it on the floor from about 30cm - this helps prevent it from sinking in the middle. Leave in the cake tin to cool for about 10 minutes, then invert out on a wire rack lined with baking paper. Peel off baking paper from tin lining and place on top of cakes to prevent drying out and to cool completely. Once cooled, trim the cake on all sides using a large serrated knife.
  6. To make the chocolate icing, sift the icing sugar and the cocoa powder into two different bowls. In a large saucepan over a low heat, melt the butter, then remove from the heat and mix in the milk and vanilla. Stir in the cocoa, and once it is completely dissolved, add the icing sugar about a cup at a time, whisking constantly until it is a smooth pouring consistency. If your icing is still a little bit stiff, add one tablespoon of water at a time to thin it out.
  7. To assemble your lamington, cut your cake into 12-15 squares and place about 1/3 of the coconut on a shallow tray or plate, and half the chocolate icing in a bowl, leaving the rest in the saucepan. When the coconut has too many chocolate clumps in it from the lamington assembly, clear the tray and replace it with some fresh coconut. Similarly, replace the chocolate with fresh icing if the mix gets too full of cake crumbs.
  8. Working quickly, use two forks to dip the cake into the icing and turn until it is coated in chocolate. Shake off any excess, then roll in the coconut with the forks, making sure the cake evenly covered. Place your lamington on a wire rack over a baking tray. Repeat the assembly process with the remaining cake pieces, then stand for about hour or put them in the fridge until set.

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Recipe notes