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 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.


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.

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.


© Paul Tully 2009

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

Celebrate Australia Day in L.A. with lamingtons , pies, fairy bread and a flat white

Australian pie.
Bronzed Aussie Meat pie!

Australians are everywhere in L.A. these days. And while it seems like they're opening restaurants on every corner and taking every other role in the movies (and plenty on TV too), January 26 will be a day when they'll definitely be feeling homesick but proud. 

That's because Aussies like to party (a given), but never more than on Australia Day.

A national holiday akin to the 4th of July, Australia Day is usually spent in the backyard with sausage sizzling on the barbie, with a chilled beer (stubby or tinny) fresh out the esky (cooler) and Triple J's Hottest 100 on the radio — a voted song countdown that lasts all day and forms the soundtrack to it all. Later on, there's the obligatory fireworks.

There's been an explosion in Aussie-run and Aussie-friendly pie shops and coffee bars around town, and even Starbucks recently announced that they're going to be offering Aussie coffee fave, the "flat white" (though ironically, that would be an oxymoron to an Aussie).

But why the Antipodean trend? Well, the Aussie dollar's strong against the buck, and of course the SoCal climate and lifestyle has it's appeal too. More importantly, however, where are the top spots to experience Australia Day?

A flat white.
Hugh Jackman likes the shredded meat pies and his kids adore the lamingtons (sponge cake with chocolate coating and grated coconut) at Bronzed Aussie just off 7th Street and Los Angeles in downtown L.A. Just ranked at #54 in Yelp's Top 100 Places to Eat in the US in 2015, they're celebrating Australia Day on Sunday, January 25 by giving away Anzac cookies (a kind of sweet flapjack-type affair) and Vegemite sandwiches (a love-it-or-hate-it thing), plus having a didgeridoo player do his thing from 4 p.m. onward.

Yes, that's a day early because — thanks to a barely-believable time difference — the party's gotta to get started early if it wants to line up with the radio show and everyone's mates Down Under.

At Coffee + Food in Larchmont (Russell Crowe's joint when he's in town) they're celebrating both days with lots of flags, balloons and snacks. And in West Hollywood, the newly-opened Longshot Coffee (right under the library) is handing out lamingtons too. 

Down at Pie Not in Costa Mesa there will be free samples, raffle prizes, balloon animals, musi and an appearance from the Orange County Bombers AFL team (ask an Aussie what AFL is), while in Hermosa Beach, The Source has 50 percent off flat whites on the day itself, (giving you a good reason to give it a try.

Finally, at the Gum Tree there will be Tim Tam s’mores and some raffle prizes and giveaways. Be prepared to see the Australian flag and a lot of smiling faces wherever you visit, and as for the food, you can't go wrong. You'll recognize avocado toast, sausage rolls and pies, but how about taking a chance on some fairy bread? Good on ya!

Fairy Bread
Other L.A. Australian venues that may not be planning special events for Australia Day, but are worth a stop anyway include:

Woodcat Coffee 1532 W. Sunset Blvd, Echo Park
Deus ex Machina 1001 Venice Blvd., Venice
Two Guns Espresso 350 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach (due to launch a DTLA store in March) 
Document Coffee Bar 3850 Wilshire Blvd. #107, KTown
The Authentic Aussie Pie Kitchen 2510 Main Street, Santa Monica
Garlo's 1010 Glendon Avenue, Westwood

No comments: