The Lamington can be traced all the way back to around 1900, how and why it came to be is wrapped up in so many theories that there’s a whole book about it, The Lamington Enigma: A survey of the evidence, written by Maurice French, a professor of history at the University of Southern Queensland.
What we do know is that the Lamington gets its name from Lord Lamington, who served as Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901.
But how did it come to be?
One popular theory is that someone accidently dropped some sponge into chocolate icing, and they then added the coconut to either hide messy fingerprints, or to make the cake taste better.
Another theory is that the Lamingtons chef Armand Galland made the cakes using day old sponge dipped into the chocolate icing and coconut when he was tasked to feed unexpected guests.
It is still most likely though that Galland created the recipe and served it at one of Lamingtons functions. In fact, Lady Lamington herself wrote in her memoirs that this is so.
The cakes popularity grew quickly after being published in a issue of Queensland Country Life, in December 1990, with further publications of the recipe soon finding its way across Australia.
It wasn’t long before the cake became an aussie staple and although recipes can alter from household to household, one thing is for sure, traditionally, they do not contain jam.
This recipe makes around 12 to 15 squares.
250g of self-raising flour
150g of granulated sugar
125g of butter
120ml of milk
250g of icing sugar
50g of coco powder
Tablespoon of butter, melted
20ml of milk
300g of desiccated coconut
1. Grease your baking dish with butter and leave to one side, turn on your oven at 180 and leave to warm.
2. Add your butter to a mixer and cream on a medium speed.
3. Once creamy add your sugar and mix until light and fluffy.
4. Add one egg at a time as your mixer is still on.
5. Slow the mixer and your flour and milk.
6. Once it has all come together pour into your baking dish and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
7. Once cooked you need to leave your cake to cool fully. Preferably overnight, but at least a couple of hours.
8. Now mix together your icing sugar, coco powder and melted butter, adding milk to loosen it up if needed. You don’t want it to be to runny.
9. Put your coconut on a plate ready for dipping.
10. Dip your cooled cake into the icing, using a knife to take off the excess, its important you don’t put on to much or it will just drip off.
11. Then roll in your coconut.
Leave to set for 10 minutes or so then eat, they go perfectly with a cup of tea.