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.

Lamington Tiramisu - a delight for Australia Day

Lamington – “Those bloody poofy woolly biscuits”.

That’s how the Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901, Charles Cochrane-Baillie, 2nd Baron Lamington, described this iconic Australian dessert. Don’t blame him, he probably would have wanted something more manly and macho like a chunky beef pie to be named after him, and not to be associated with a sissy delicate sweet dessert made out of leftover vanilla sponge cake, dipped in chocolate then lightly dusted with dessicated coconut. I’ve also learned from the wikipedia,

Lamington is first served in Toowoomba when Lord Lamington took his entourage to Harlaxton House to escape the steamy heat of Brisbane, and the chef had to prepare something in such short notice with some leftover sponge cakes, dipped them in chocolate then set in coconut.

Okay the story is probably not that interesting, I rather more intrigued to find that the town Toowoomba is mentioned, it is also the first city I lived in when I arrived in Australia back in 1996. Now the lamingtons are just a little bit more meaningful to me whenever I have them, a perfect lame excuse for me to have a couple more this Australia Day just passed. (HA!)

I thought the lamington would be good enough on its own this Australia Day until I saw the Lamington Tiramisu on Ellie’s blog and it looks scrumptious! Since Tiramisu is The Pom’s favourite, and I have bought two packets of lamingtons for this special occasion, hence perfect excuse for me to make these Lamington Tiramisu for Australia Day’s BBQ lunch at Big D’s, it went down exceptionally well with the guests to beat this summer heat.

I prefer my cooking fast and simple when I am on a time-budget. This easy-quick-whisk recipe will have this delicious dessert ready in no time. The most expensive ingredient for making tiramisu is possibly the mascarpone cheese, but you HAVE to have it. It is a MUST, full stop! What’s wrong with you people trying to cut corners by substituting the mascarpone cheese by using butter and whipped cream? It is absolutely disgusting!

I like my tiramisu light and airy with the Lamington sponge cakes soaking up all the coffee and most importantly, a nice boozy kick. Instead of adding the eggs directly into the mascarpone, I advice you to put some little extra effort to whip the thickened cream (double cream) then whisk the egg white separately until soft peak then fold it in does make a big difference to the end result. Also make sure the lamingtons are nicely soaked up all the coffee, but not too soggy. 

If you prefer your tiramisu a little more boozy like me, add a few extra tablespoon of whatever alcohol you are using into the mascarpone mixture, and also drizzle over the sponge cakes while assembling it in the serving glass. Best to leave the tiramisu overnight in the fridge with cling wrap and it will taste even more divine the next day.

Lamington Tiramisu (serves 6-8)

2 packets Lamington fingers (about 16 fingers)
1 cup strong espresso coffee
1/4 cup of Amaretto 2 eggs (separated)
3 tbsp caster sugar
250gram mascarpone cheese
250ml thickened cream, whipped

1.Combine the coffee and Amaretto in a bowl. 

2. Add egg yolk and sugar in a bowl and whisk until thick and pale. Add mascarpone and beat until just combined. Add 3 tablespoon of Amaretto and mix well. 

 3. Fold in the whipped cream into the mixture. Beat egg white until soft peak, gently fold it into the cream, trying not to lose the volume. 

 4. Cut lamington to the size that just cover the base of the serving glass, dip half of the lamington fingers, one at a time, into the coffee mixture. Drain off and arrange the lamington in the base of the service glasses. 

 5. Spoon Mascarpone mixture over the top until the lamington is fully covered. 

 6. Repeat step 4 - 5 until the serving glasses are filled to the top. 

 7. Wrap serving glasses with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until ready to serve.

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