Traditional Australian Lamingtons are made up of pillowy-soft plain sponge cake dipped in a cocoa-infused icing sugar mixture and rolled in desiccated coconut.
They’re one of quite a few sweet treats that Australian expats tend to miss on special days after leaving their home country. Back home you’ll find lamingtons piled up in bakery display cases, ready to be devoured with a cuppa.
They’re also a staple of primary school fundraising activities. Hands up who remembers telling your mum or dad to be sure to order jam and cream filled lamingtons from their school or church? Both my arms are firmly in the air right now. But allow me to put them down so that I can type.
This traditional Australian Lamington recipe has been adapted for American bakers to include ingredients that are easily found in the US (I’m looking at you, coconut). Of course, if you’re not keen on doing the baking yourself, there are numerous Australian bakeries dotted around the US who are happy to do the hard work for you.
Check out our Aussie Meat Pies post for Australian and New Zealand bakeries in the US.
- 4.5 oz / 125g softened unsalted butter
- 7.7 oz / 220g baker's sugar (caster sugar)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 room temperature large eggs
- 9 oz / 260g sifted plain flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 4.4 oz / 125ml milk (2% or full cream)
- 16.9 oz / 480g sifted confectioner's sugar
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp softened unsalted butter
- 150ml boiling water
- 4 cups desiccated coconut or shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup raspberry or strawberry jam
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 tsp sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a medium-sized bowl, sift flour and baking powder together.
- Line an 8" x 12" pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla together with an electric mixer on medium high speed. Batter should look light and fluffy (about 2 mins).
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition to ensure a smooth batter.
- Add half the flour and gently fold it into the mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula. Stir in half the milk.
- Repeat with the remaining flour and milk.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan and back for 25 minutes. Cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. (If not ready after 25 mins, return to the oven for 5 mins).
- Let the cake sit in the pan for 5 minutes, then cool it completely on a wire rack.
Rest the Cake
- Using a serrated knife, carefully cut the cake into 15 squares.
- Return to baking tray (lined with parchment paper) and cover with plastic wrap.
- Place in freezer for 2 hours or overnight (see note 1).
Icing the Cake
- Pour half of the desiccated/shredded coconut onto a flat plate (see note 2).
- In a heatproof bowl (ideally with a flat bottom), stir the confectioner's sugar and cocoa powder together.
- Add the butter.
- Slowly pour in the boiling water, stirring to combine (see note 3).
- Use two forks to lower each cake square into the icing mixture and roll it around so that it is coated evenly.
- Transfer it to the coconut plate and use two spoons to roll it around to cover it evenly with coconut.
- Repeat this process with all of the sponge cake.
- Let them stand for 2 hours to set.
Filling the Lamingtons
- Run the electric mixer paddle under cold water and place it in the freezer for 5 minutes.
- Secure the paddle on the electric mixer and beat the cream and sugar until peaks form.
- Spoon the cream into a piping bag.
- Cut the lamingtons in half horizontally.
- Spread one side of the lamington halves with jam and pipe on the cream.
- Top with the second half and store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Freezing: Allowing the cake to freeze makes it much easier to coat in the icing mixture and coconut. You can freeze the cut sponge cake for 2 hours, or if you're tuckered out like I was, it's fine to leave them in the freezer overnight and finish them the next day.
- Coconut: If you can't find desiccated coconut, add shredded (unsweetened) coconut to a food processor and blitz it a few times to break it into smaller bits.
- Icing: As the icing mixture cools it will become thicker and more difficult to work with. Place it in the microwave for 15 seconds or so, to bring it back to a runnier consistency.
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