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The Great Australian Lamington

The Great Australian Lamington
Lord Lamington Governor of Queensland - creator of the world-famous Australian Lamington.

The Humble Australian Lamington - Created in Queensland in 1901


Australian Lamington
THE WORLD-FAMOUS AUSTRALIAN CULINARY ICON NAMED AFTER THE GOVERNOR OF QUEENSLAND - LORD LAMINGTON.

The world-famous Australian lamington is over a century old.

Despite some dubious claims from New Zealand, the lamington is as Australian as meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars, ranking alongside the other true Australian icons of the pavlova, peach melba and Vegemite.

This Australian culinary icon, which consists of sponge cake dipped in chocolate and liberally sprinkled with fine desiccated coconut, was created through an accident at work by a maid-servant to Lord Lamington, the thoroughly-British eighth Governor of Queensland.

The maid-servant was working at Government House in Brisbane when she accidentally dropped the Governor's favourite sponge cake into some melted chocolate.

Lord Lamington was not a person of wasteful habits and suggested that it be dipped in coconut to cover the chocolate to avoid messy fingers.

Paul Tully celebrates
the 100th anniversary
of the world renowned
Australian lamington
on 19 December 2001
Lord Lamington devoured this new taste sensation with great delight and the maid-servant's error was proclaimed a magnificent success by all! The Governor however is on the record as calling them "those bloody poofy woolly biscuits".

Lord Lamington was born in London, England on 29 July 1860 as Charles Wallace Alexander Napier COCHRANE-BAILLIE holding the aristocratic title of Baron Lamington.

He was Governor of Queensland from 9 April 1896 to 19 December 1901.

After leaving Queensland, he went on to become the Governor of Bombay in India for 4 years. He died at Lamington House, Lanarkshire, Scotland, in 1940.

According to Hansard page 728 at the Australian Constitutional Convention in Canberra on 11 February 1998, Cr Paul Tully, an elected delegate representing "Queenslanders for a Republic" suggested that his extensive research of the Governors of the 6 Australian colonies and states had produced evidence of only "one, single, solitary, positive achievement of any Governor since the First Fleet arrived in 1788" and that was Lord Lamington's contribution to the culinary delights of the Australian nation!

Lord Lamington served Queensland for 5 years but despite all of his colonial, aristocratic pomp and ceremony, the only thing which Charles Wallace Alexander Napier COCHRANE-BAILLIE will ever be remembered for in Australia is the creation of the world-famous lamington.

PAUL TULLY'S TRUE-BLUE DELICIOUS AUSSIE LAMINGTON RECIPE

INGREDIENTS
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup self-raising flour 1/2 cup milk.

Beat the eggs well, gradually adding the sugar until dissolved. Add the milk and vanilla essence and then stir in the self raising flour and whip the butter into the mixture. Pour the mixture into a cake tin or lamington baking dish and bake in a moderate oven of 180 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes. Allow the cake to cool for at least 10 minutes and then stand for 24 hours preferably in the refrigerator, before applying the icing.

THE CHOCOLATE ICING
4 cups icing sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons boiling water
3 cups desiccated coconut.

Stir the cocoa and icing sugar vigorously in a large bowl, adding the milk, butter and boiling water, warming the chocolate mixture over a very low heat until it has a smooth creamy texture. Cut the sponge cake into equal squares about 5cm x 5cm and, using a fork or thin skewer, dip each piece into the chocolate mixture ensuring that the mixture is liberally and evenly applied. Dip each piece into the desiccated coconut, allowing the lamingtons to cool on a wire tray for several hours.

THEN SIT BACK, RELAX AND SAVOUR THE DELIGHTS OF YESTERYEAR COURTESY OF LORD LAMINGTON'S ABSENT-MINDED MAID-SERVANT!

THANK GOD, THE LAMINGTON WAS NOT CHRISTENED THE "COCHRANE-BAILLIE". IMAGINE ASKING FOR A "COCHRANE-BAILLIE" IN A CAKE SHOP!


Do you have an interesting historical anecdote about the Australian lamington?
Please email the Australian Lamington Official Website.


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CWA perfecting the Australia Day Lamington

The Aussie lamington.
They're sweet, firm and fluffy and they've become a staple on Australia Day.

Lamingtons are a national treat on the 26th January.

Barbara Skein from the Canberra Country Women's Association has been making lamingtons since she was a little girl.

"I still love the feeling of putting the forks in and lifting it up," she laughs.

"I know it's old fashioned but it's lovely!"

Mrs Skein grew up on a farm in far west New South Wales.

"We had a fuel stove and my mum was a wonderful cook," she said.

"We did have a rotary beater but I learnt to beat the butter and sugar with my hand.

"I think I was probably about 10 when I was allowed near the oven but I learnt very early how to make lamingtons."

Barbara Skein from the Canberra Country
 Women's Association has been making
 lamingtons since she was 10 years old. 
According to Mrs Skein, there are two ways to make lamingtons. You can use a sponge cake or a butter cake mixture.

She "likes the butter cake mixture better" and firmly believes that beating the butter and sugar by hand is still the most effective method.

A basic butter cake mixture has butter, sugar, eggs, flour and milk and the "slab" must be made at least the day before.

"It just needs to be not terribly fresh out of the oven," Mrs Skein explains.

Then it's time to make the icing.

"You need butter, icing sugar and cocoa. I always stir mine over simmering water and you make it very thin, and you just keep stirring it until you get the right consistency.

"You take it off the stove, you cut your slab into, say, five centimetre pieces...I use two forks and dip it in, let it run off and put it in your coconut, which you've got in another tray."

As for "fillings" like jam, Mrs Skein says they shouldn't even be considered.

"No, I don't like jam and fillings in lamingtons, I'm a bit old fashioned I think!

The only exception to that rule is cream.

By the time it's ready to eat, a lamington should feel firm and taste fresh.

"When you break it open, it should be that the icing is right around the outside, that it hasn't seeped into the cake.

"If you've used a butter cake and you've used good butter and good free range eggs, you'll find it's a lovely yellowy colour inside.

"It is beautiful."

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