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.

History of the Australian lamington - a cake steeped in chocolate, coconut and controversy

By Besha Rodell

A couple of years ago, a great controversy erupted at my dinner table. My husband and I were dining at our home in Los Angeles with another couple, who – like us – are made up of one American spouse and one Australian. 

The topic of lamingtons arose, and the Australians were asked to describe our great national treat. "It's a square of sponge or yellow cake" my well-meaning fellow countryman began, "that's coated in chocolate and rolled in coconut. And it has a layer of jam in the middle."

"JAM?!?" I cried. "There is no jam! Not in a proper lamington." If you'd asked me beforehand, I never would have guessed I had so much passion on the subject. But apparently I do, which is quite fitting. 

The lamington has a long history of controversy, the main one being: what is the origin of this most Australian of treats?

That question has an answer so complex it prompted Maurice French, emeritus professor of history at the University of Southern Queensland, to write an entire book on the subject. 

The Lamington Enigma: A survey of the evidence, traces the history of the lamington, its precursors and the personalities who surrounded its emergence, and comes up with the most probable answer to the question of who invented the thing, and why. 

Much space is given to debunking competing theories of the sweet's origins, of which there are many.

What is known is that the lamington was named for Lord Lamington, who served as Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901, or perhaps his wife, Lady Lamington. 

What isn't clear is who was the first to cook the treat and bestow it with the governor's name. The first known printed recipe for "lamington cake" appeared in the December 17, 1900, issue of Queensland Country Life, along with several other recipes, under the headline "Useful Recipes".

How to make home-made Chocolate Lamingtons

Easy recipe.

How to make Australia's national culinary icon at home - the humble, Aussie Lamington.

Click for step by step instructions:

Sixteen easy Australia Day Lamington Recipes for your family

Sixteen Australia Day Lamington recipes which you can whip up for your family.

16 Australia Day lamington recipes

Lamingtons are a classic Aussie sweet treat and perfect for your Australia Day bash.

Read on:

Delicious lemon curd lamingtons: A true Aussie treat

A true Aussie favourite with a delicious tangy twist!

Lamingtons are a must-have and this recipe is perfect for the holiday and is sure to be a winner at any celebration!

These delicious tangy lamingtons are dipped in chocolate, and coated with shredded coconut.

The incredible sponge includes lemon juice, rind and curd, adding a fresh new spin on the traditional Aussie lamington.

For a delicious treat which the whole family will love, these irresistible lamingtons are a must-try.

Original story:

10 brilliant tips for perfect Lamingtons

Top tips for tip top Lamingtons
Ten key tips for making the perfect Australian Lamington from

It's important to ensure that your lamingtons are properly made from the finest ingredients and prepared in a consistent way to ensure freshness and appeal.

There is nothing worse than a dried out lamington or one that is completely soggy because of poor preparation or lack of attention to detail.  

Making Australian Lamingtons is a fine art but one that is easily learnt and mastered.

The 10 tips:

In Dubai, you can buy a humble Aussie Lamington at Jones the Grocer

Australian Lamingtons available in Dubai
Australia's world travellers will never feel far from home if they drop into Jones the Grocer at the Dusit Thani Resort in downtown Dubai. 

This small slice of Australia is serving up lamingtons to travel-weary Aussies who hanker for a taste of traditional Aussie fare.

A haven of all things beneficial from the land down under. 

Jones the Grocer aims to tickle the fancy of food enthusiasts with natural ingredients culled from different parts of the globe.

Jones the Grocer, Dubai - purveyor of fine foods
from different parts of the globe including
the traditional Australian Lamington 

Since 1996, the Australian-based café provides customers a gourmet experience that promises innovation to the ever evolving café scene.

From tea leaves, to cheeses, to coffee beans, Jones the Grocer welcomes you to a contemporary artisan café 24/7.

Jones the Grocer, serving true Aussie lamingtons, is located at 133 Sheikh Zayed Road Dubai.

Do you know of any other cafes or shops around the world which sell traditional Australian lamingtons? Email: Australian Lamington Official Website

Authentically Aussie: Australia's world-famous Lamington for sale at Dusit Thani in Dubai

The humble Aussie Lamington, now
available in downtown Dubai.
Over the years, Australian cuisine has embraced a unique food culture that takes its inspiration from all around the world. 

The food scene in Australia is unpretentious and a reflection of the relatively young country that is culturally diverse. 

It is a melting pot of indigenous people and a migrant population and the cuisine is a combination of native ingredients and cooking influences, techniques and tastes from South East Asian, Italian, British and American cuisines, to name a few. 

With such an enormous appetite for dishes from around the world, Australian diners usually make for adventurous eaters.

The Australian Lamington

Lord Lamington
Referred to as the 'National Cake of Australia', the dessert is thought to be named after Lord Lamington, a former Governor of Queensland.

Lamington is a square-shaped sweet sponge cake with a jam filling that is dipped in chocolate and coated in coconut.

It sometimes comes in two halves with a layer of either cream or jam in the middle.

The cake is perfectly paired with coffee and is a popular evening snack. 

The dish is so loved that July 21 is celebrated as 'National Lamington Day.' 

Try it at Jones The Grocer - Dusit Thani Dubai, Trade Centre Area, 04 3174457. 

What else is authentically Aussie? Go to: