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.

Easy Aussie Recipe: Lamington Cupcakes with Jam and Cream

How to make Australian lamingtons.
Summary: Ah, the pinnacle of Australian bake sales everywhere, the Lamington! Of course, I just had to make lamingtons for Australia Day. 

Did you know there is a lamington preservation society? 

There is and they have an article on the history of the humble lamington

I decided to make lamington cupcakes for two reasons – portability and so I could stuff them with jam and cream. And oh my, they are goooood! 

Like, sit down and eat one after another good. I will be making these again, for sure! 

Don’t be put off by the list of things to do, these are really easy, just a few steps. There is nothing hard to do but I've really broken down the steps. You could easily make the cake part the day before if you wanted to. This makes a perfect dozen.


For the cupcakes

  • 115g salted butter, at room temperature
  • 200g castor sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 180g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 120 ml milk, at room temperature

For the chocolate coconut coating

  • 500g icing sugar, sifted
  • 35g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 45g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 120ml milk, at room temperature
  • 2-3 cups desiccated coconut

For the decorating – optional
  • 200g raspberry jam
  • 300ml cream
  • 3 tblsp icing sugar


Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and line a 12 muffin cups tin with paper patty pans.

In the bowl of your electric mixer,(or with electric beaters), beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 

Beat in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl sift the flour with the baking powder.

With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture (in three additions) and milk (in two additions), beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Evenly fill the patty pan cups with the batter and bake for about 18 – 20 minutes or just until set and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. 

Once cooled, remove paper party pans carefully before the next step.

Place the icing sugar, cocoa powder in a microwave safe bowl. Heat the butter and milk in a small microwave safe bowl until the butter is melted and pour into the icing sugar mix. Stir the mixture until it becomes smooth and of pouring consistency. 

Microwave the icing for a few seconds if needed but not so hot it would hurt if you stuck your fingers in it!

Place the coconut on a large plate. One at a time, dip the cupcakes into the chocolate coating and then roll the cakes in the coconut.Gently transfer the lamingtons to a clean wire rack to set.

Once the Lamingtons have set, use a small paring knife to cut out a teaspoon sized hole in the top of the cake. Go on eat the bits you cut out… Now fill the hole with raspberry jam.

Using electric beaters or a stand mixer with a whisk, beat the cream to soft peaks and sprinkle in the icing sugar. Pipe cream over the top of the lamingtons (or just make a move mound with a spatula). Store lamingtons in an airtight container in the fridge.

 If they last that long……

No comments: