For those of you that don’t know, a lamington is a sweet snack from Australia that is cake-based and generally eaten for morning tea, afternoon tea, or high tea. This delicious treat was a kitchen mix-up that became Australia’s most famous culinary icon.
Learn about Lamington Day
If you have never heard of a lamington before, you are seriously missing out! But don’t worry; this day gives you the perfect opportunity to indulge in this delicious treat. In fact, you may have even tried one before, yet you may have simply not realized that they are called lamingtons!
So, what is this delicious treat? It is essentially an Australian cake that is made from squares of sponge cake or butter caked, which is then coated in a layer of chocolate sauce, and finally rolled in desiccated coconut. Is your mouth watering yet?
The thin mixture is absorbed into the sponge cake’s outside layer, and it is then left to set. This creates the distinctive texture of the cake. There have been a number of different variations of this cake that have been created over the years. One of the common variations is to have a layer of cream or strawberry jam in between two halves of lamington.
Of course, you could put any sort of flavored cream or jam in between two halves of the cake to create your own unique treat. Maybe this is something you could experiment with to celebrate Lamington Day?
In fact, there are a lot of different variants of lamingtons that are now enjoyed all around the world. The raspberry variant of this dessert is popular in New Zealand. St Helena Island, which is a small British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean has a variant that is similar, known as Coconut Fingers.
These are traditionally made for birthdays, weddings, and other celebrations. Coconut cubes or čupavci are eaten in Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Solvenie. In the United States, coconut bars are very popular in the city of Cleveland. There is also a similar confection, known as little porcupines – ystervarkies – that is sold in South Africa, albeit it is a lot smaller.
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History of Lamington Day
At over a century old, this treat was named after the Governor of Queensland, Lord Lamington. The story goes that he was having his favorite yellow sponge cake served for his guests when the maid-servant accidentally dropped the cake into melted chocolate. When his Lordship heard he was the one who recommended them to roll the squares in coconut shavings to make them less messy for guests to eat with their tea.
There is even an Australian Lamington appreciation society (ALAS) which is committed to the preservation of their world famous Lamingtons, and annually celebrating Lamington Day.
How to celebrate Lamington Day
Lamington Day would be a great day to try out a new recipe and have your lamington and invite friends over for afternoon tea! Here is a good recipe from the ALAS website.
Paul Tully’s True-Blue Delicious Aussie Lamington recipe
What you will need:
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence (if you only have extract use about 1 ½ teaspoons)
- 1 cup of self-rising flour
- ½ cup of milk
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup milk
- 4 tablespoons boiling water
- 3 cups shredded coconut
Beat the eggs well, gradually adding the sugar until dissolved. Add the milk and vanilla essence and then stir in the self-rising flour. Next 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 (355 degrees Fahrenheit) 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.
The Chocolate Icing:
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 ½ in x ½ in 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 or even on parchment paper for several hours.
While you are indulging in delicious lamingtons on this day, you could spend some time reading up on the funny April Fools’ Day prank that occurred a few years back. On the 1st of April in 2014, The Guardian published an article stating that the cake was actually known as Wellington and that it originated from New Zealand. The writer of the article was ‘Olaf Pirol’ – an anagram of April Fool. The prank went so far that it managed to convince numerous publications. We are sure that patriotic Australians were very pleased to hear that it was simply a joke!
Lamingtons are very popular in both Australia and New Zealand. They tend to be sold at fundraisers for charity groups and schools, which are called lamington drives. You could use this as inspiration and hold your own fundraiser to raise money for a cause that you care about. This is a great way for you to make delicious lamington cakes, indulge in some yourself, and raise funds for a cause that you care about! Sounds like the perfect recipe, right?