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.

1900 recipe for the traditional Australian lamington

Claims by New Zealand, England and even the Scots that they were the home of the humble Australian lamington continue to be dented with more evidence linking Australia's culinary icon to the City of Brisbane over 100 years ago.

Queensland Country Life (Qld. : 1900 - 1954), Monday 17 December 1900, page 29

Useful Recipes.

Christmas Pudding.—1 cup each of flour, sugar, chopped suet, currants, raisins, and milk, 2 cups of breadcrumbs, 5 eggs, half-cup of candied peel, 1 grated nutmeg, half packet mixed spice, pinch of salt. Mix well the dry ingredients, beat the eggs and milk to a froth, and pour over them; mix the whole well to-gether; steam in a basin eight hours.

Christmas Cake.—1lb. butter, 12 eggs, 1 quart flour, 1lb. sugar, ½lb. mixed spice, 3lb. currants, 1lb. raisins, ½lb. almonds, ½lb. candied peel. Beat the butter to a cream,stir in yolks of 12 eggs well beaten with the sugar, add spice and almonds chopped fine, stir in flour, add currants, raisins, and peel; bake in buttered paper in tin for 2 hours or more.

Lamington Cakes. — ½ cup of butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 4 tablespoons milk. Beat butter and sugar; add eggs well beaten with the milk, sift in flour and baking powder; flavour with vanilla or lemon to taste. Bake in sandwich tins. Cut in squares next day.
Icing.—3oz. icing sugar, 1oz. butter. Beat these to a cream and spread between layers, as jam would be used. For the outside icing —3oz. sugar, 1oz. butter, 3 teaspoons or more of cocoa; vanilla to flavour. The square of cake, when doubled, are in the shape of a cube. Ice all over the cube with the cocoa icing, spreading it with a knife, then dip and roll in desiccated cocoanut.

A Savoury Roly Poly.—Cold roast pork is rather difficult to deal with, but the follow ing recipe will make an excellent dish:—Make a suet crust with 10oz. of flour and 3oz. of suet, roll it out to the thickness of a quarter of an inch. Mince the pork finely, a little fat may be used, but not much; season with pep per and salt, and mix with plenty of chopped sage and onion. For half a pound of meat two onions of medium size and four sage leaves might be taken. Spread this over the crust, wet the edges, roll it up, tie in a cloth, and boil quite two hours. Beef, mutton, or veal will each make a savoury roll by substi tuting parsley and herbs for the sage and onions.

Pineapple Lemonade.—1 cup of sugar, 1 cupful of pineapple, 1 cup of water, juice of two lemons. Boil the sugar and water until it spins a light thread. Put the pineapple through the mincing machine, and add to the syrup with the juice of the lemons. When ready to serve, add water and sugar, if needed, to taste. Serve ice cold.

Queensland Country Life, 17 December 1900, Page 29

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