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.

The goodness of glaze with inspiration from the Australian Lamington

From being an all-American snack, the doughnut has captured hearts across cultures. SUSANNA MYRTLE LAZARUS finds out what makes the sweet treat an international favourite

Warm, jam-filled and crusted with sugar — the memory of the first doughnut I had as a child is not something I will forget. The sticky sugar got all over my clothes and the sickly sweet jam left red lines around my mouth not unlike the Joker’s scars, but it also left me with a lifelong love for the sweet snack.

Over the past week, a lot of people in the United Kingdom have been sharing videos of their attempts to eat a similar doughnut without licking their lips even once (it’s harder than it sounds). And doughnuts of all shapes, sizes and flavours are selling by the dozen, as people are indulging their sweet tooth by telling themselves that it’s for a good cause: National Doughnut Week.

Started by an independent baker, Christopher Freeman, in 1991, the annual event was meant to raise money for various children’s charities. So far, over 14 million doughnuts have been sold as part of the fundraiser, from small-time bakeries to the chain stores like Krispy Kreme. (If you’re easily amused, look up those doughnut-eating videos by searching for #nationaldoughnutweek on social media platforms.)

While its predecessors can be traced back to ancient civilisations, the doughnut as we know it today is attributed to Elizabeth Gregory. The mother of a mid-19th century ship’s captain, she made a fried dough delicacy flavoured with nutmeg, cinnamon and lemon rind, and filled it with nuts at the centre in case the dough didn’t cook through: hence the very literal name. They really caught on during World War I, when women volunteers, catchily called Doughnut Dollies, distributed millions of them to homesick American soldiers. The advent of the first doughnut-producing machine in 1920 cemented its popularity by becoming a fast food staple. And of course, Homer Simpson made the pink-frosted, sprinkle-covered doughnut a pop culture classic.

I’ll admit it; I did not wait for the big brands to grace Chennai with their presence. I once asked a friend who had gone home to Delhi for the holidays to bring me back a selection from the Singapore-based chain, Mad over Donuts. She, bless her soul, obliged. For many years, the sugar doughnut was all we could get in our neighbourhood bakeries. Occassionaly, we would come across a batch coated in a barely-there chocolate glaze. A slightly better version was available at the bakery chains and coffee shops that began popping up all over the city. And now, we’ve got dedicated stores that are filled with the divine scent of doughnuts being baked or fried. With more international brands launching in the city, I sense many delicious outings over the coming months.

In spite of the variety of choices now available, one can’t help but be jealous of those in cities like London and New York, with their Matcha, salted caramel, creme brulee and bacon-flavoured doughnuts apart from cronuts, duffins and lamnuts (inspired by the Australian Lamington cake).

Not to mention the fact that the USA has set apart at least four occasions to celebrate the doughy confectionary: National Doughnut Day, International Jelly-filled Doughnut Day, National Cream-filled Doughnut Day and Buy a Doughnut Day.

The thought of all this sugar drives me to the nearest mall to scarf down a chocolate-covered custard-filled doughnut. But it’s not just for dessert or a snack in a nation that loves its sweets: have it with coffee for breakfast or cut one in half, and make a sandwich with your favourite filling for lunch or dinner.

And while we can’t compete with John Haight, the Guinness Record holder for consuming 29 doughnuts in just over six minutes, go ahead and pick one up today. It is, after all, the weekend.

No comments: