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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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Lamington facts revealed

Professor Maurice French is conducting
 a Sherlock Holmes type search on the
 history of the lamington.
Toowoomba now officially holds the Guinness Book of Records certificate for the World's Largest Lamington but can it claim rights to the birthplace?

President of the Toowoomba Historical Society Professor Maurice French is on a Sherlock Holmes-type quest to discover the origins of Australia's iconic cake and determine once and for all if Toowoomba is its home.

Professor French recently presented his latest findings on date, location and creator to an enthralled audience at the Toowoomba Historical Society.

"I have never read so many cookery and children's books in my life," he laughed.

But these books provide vital clues about when a popular "cocoanut cake" was first cut into squares.

"The first published recipe for a lamington appears to be in the Sydney Mail in 1901," he said.

Through a careful process of elimination Professor French has ruled out birthplace red herrings including Scotland, Poland, New Zealand, Ipswich, Cloncurry and Southport.

The competition now rests between Brisbane and Toowoomba with strong cases for both.

Professor Maurice French
While the case for Toowoomba features the most prolific folklore Professor French said Harlaxton House was not a contender.

"Harlaxton House was considered too small for entertaining and the Lamingtons only stayed there for one summer," he said. 

"Other possible summer residences in Toowoomba include Westbrook Hall, Blue Mountain Hotel, Harrow House and Gabbinbar Homestead."

As for the actual creator of the lamington, Professor French does not believe that French chef Armand Galland made the lamington because he never claimed it and the dates of his appointment don't match up.

"It is possible that another chef de cuisine at Government House, a Mrs Jones, did make the first lamington as she was well-known for her 'dainties' and it is also possible that Lady Lamington herself was responsible," he said.

From Professor French's evidence it seems that Lady Lamington was well connected in culinary circles and even attended cookery classes with Amy Schauer director of cookery at the Brisbane Central Technical College.

Amy Schauer first published a recipe for the lamington in 1904.

With his focus on fact and clever deduction, Professor French has tied up many loose ends and put to bed myths and heresy.

However, he admits that he is eagerly awaiting a possible breakthrough in the form of a recipe book "smudged with 100 years of butter" which is said to contain the earliest hand written recipe for lamingtons.

Professor French is preparing his findings on the lamington for publication.

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