Thursday, 7 March 2013


These are amazing! Lamingtons, they are called, and they are squares of plain sponge sandwiched together with raspberry jam, covered in chocolate and dipped in DESSICATED COCONUT. I mean how much more could you ask for??

Lamingtons were invented in Australia and I have never seen or heard of them before I came across them in Edd Kimber's very useful book Say It With Cake. I cooed over them yesterday with my mother, who has borrowed the book because she has to make 50 "finger food puddings" ?? WTF? for a Distressed Gentlefolk's Memorial Fundraising Curry Buffet (or something) and needed ideas, stat.

Anyway, I left the book with my mother but this afternoon on a whim, thought I would make them.

They are quite straightforward and I made them reasonably successfully with absolutely no recipe at all, having not photocopied Kimber's recipe before I handed over the book to mumsie.

There are proper recipes you can get for these, Edd Kimber has one in his book, obviously, and Dan Lepard has one on the Guardian website, which I will not reprint here because he once got in touch with one of my readers (who has her own cooking blog - who doesn't?) and asked her to take down a recipe of his that she had reprinted there. And the Lord knows I've got enough trouble without being sat on by Dan Lepard and his beard.

So this is my recipe, but it really is MY recipe, literally made up - it is entirely inauthentic so please don't all start telling me that these are not real Lamingtons because I don't really care and they worked for me.

For the sponge
110g butter
110g sugar
110g self-raising flour
2 eggs

For the chocolate dip
75g milk cooking chocolate
75g dark cooking chocolate
I used Menier cooking chocolate from Waitrose

200g bag dessicated coconut

Some raspberry jam, not much - probably 3 tbs in total

Preheat your oven to 170C, grease and line a small shallow baking sheet - mine was about 30cm by 23 cm. If you don't have one you could use a square cake tin with a loose base.

You may have your own way of making a basic sponge mix, in which case do that. I do this:

1 cut up the butter and put it in a bowl with the sugar. Stick this in your preheating oven for 2 minutes then cream together (snore... so boring) however you usually do this. I do it with a hand whisk.

2 Now whisk in the eggs, one at a time.

3 Now fold in the flour with a metal spoon until it has all mixed in; turn out into your tin/baking sheet and smooth the top as best you can, although it will even itself out in the oven so don't worry too much about it being perfect.

4 Bake for 10 minutes then take out and leave to cool.

5 Break up the chocolate and put it in a heatproof bowl over a pan of water and put it on your smallest burner turned to the lowest heat and let it sit there and melt for 20 minutes. Once it has melted, set it aside to cool for a bit.

6 Now turn your flat sponge out onto a board and peel off the greaseproof paper. Cut with a sharp knife into even squares the best way you can see how. I didn't want mine to be especially big and once they are covered in chocolate and then coconut they seem even bigger, so don't be afraid to make them quite dainty, like about 3cm x 3cm.

7 Make little square sponge sandwiches by spreading some jam on one square and topping it with another sponge square. Then you assemble the lamington by dipping it all over in chocolate, then pressing into dessicated coconut and then leaving on a cooling rack to dry.

You can do this the best way you can see how - if there's one thing I know for sure, it's that my readers are far more ingenious at working out how to do these things than I am - but if I have one suggestion, it is not to tip all your coconut out onto a plate at once.

Dipping the squares in chocolate is a terrifically messy busines and what you don't want is to spread chocolate all over your entire plateful of coconut because what you want is the brilliant white of the coconut against the dark brown of the chocolate - not brown-flecked coconut against brown chocolate.

Wipe your plate of chocolate smears inbetween dipping sessions if neccessary.

For each lamington, shake out some coconut onto a plate, and then turn and shake, turn and shake, until it is covered, then remove to a cooling rack.

Then stuff them ALL in your face, growling and drooling like Fantastic Mr Fox.

I don't know why my photos are coming out so blue at the moment


  1. How you do the sponge and chocolate icing no one seems to be much bothered about but the use of jam in the middle (or cream, which is my preference) gets really controversial!

  2. Your camera probably has a "white balance" setting which is set incorrectly for the environment you are taking pictures in. Set it back to "auto" if it isn't already!

    Thanks for another great article/recipe :)


  3. Your photos might be blue because you need to adjust the white balance on your camera. Is it a dSLR or a point and shoot?

  4. The usual cause for a blue tinge to photos is your camera is set up for taking pictures indoors but the subject is lit by natural light. It shouldn't happen on cameras set to automatic unless you've been manually changing the settings. I suppose it could happen in a mainly artificiality lit room where the subject is in a pool of light from a window.

  5. Yum.
    Can I suggest the blueness of your photos might be because you may have inadvertently set your white balance to incandescent/fluorescent - i find the sunny or shade setting on mine makes photos a bit warmer (if you don't have the facility to do this on your camera then god knows why...)

  6. Lamingtons are AWESOME!! I lived in Australia until I was 7 and they were an important part of my upbringing! There is the most amazing kids book called Possum Magic
    which features lamingtons, love it.

  7. The sound delicious except for the coconut (shudder). I might give them a try, and maybe substitute crushed biscuits instead of coconut. Probably all sorts of other things you could use, and I know they wouldn't then be Lamingtons - but hey, we all improvise in the kitchen don't we?

  8. This post has just made me feel even more homesick. How I do love a lamington especially cream filled ones that have been in the fridge for a couple of hours. Delicious. As a little girl I remember going to my great aunt's church were they were making them en masse complete with giant tub of melted chocolate. Heaven.

  9. For some reason the assembly job reminds me of that episode in last GBBO where they made teacakes. It put me right off. Making them, mind NOT buying their deliciousness and perfection from M&S.

    You got skills, Esther.

  10. It's desiccated . . . .

    I love the fact that it has a double c.

  11. Madeleines with a difference!! I knew they always lacked something...

  12. I love your idea of coating them in melted chocolate, probably tastes even better than the standard recipe which uses runny chocolate icing. Here's two lamington recipes from an Aussie website &

  13. God that picture brought back some memories. Lamington drives were huge fundraisers here in Australia when my kids were little. A school hall full of mums, coconut from arsehole to breakfast. You'd get an assembly line going and make hundreds and hundreds of them. I haven't eaten one since.

  14. I will definitely try your recipe. Don't know if I'm the same reader, but I got sat on by Dan Lepard over an online marmalade chelsea bun recipe of his. Can never open Short & Sweet in the same way these days...

  15. I want to be sat on by Dan. I feel left out. Off to find a recipe and mercilessly reproduce it online.

  16. Now the secret is out!!!!!! As Michele says, they reminded me of the fundraising drives schools, scouts and clubs do.
    But they're definitely underrated these days. There is a local bakery I sometimes stop at on the way to work and because its around 6am they are so fresh and soft I cant resist.

  17. You probably know this already, but being able to tell people stuff that I'm learning in my degree gives me the feeling that my life has some purpose...

    You can't actually copyright a recipe. Not the food, anyway. If you copied one word for word, it would technically be infringement of a 'literary work' copyright - but if you change the wording and keep the essence of the recipe, you're fine. You don't actually even have to attribute it. And seeing as Dan Lepard is being so bitter about what probably amounts to bloggers drumming up support for him, it might be an idea to take one of his recipes, change all the wording, and reproduce it without saying where it came from.

    - Liz

  18. Substitute pink jelly for the chocolate and you have Jelly Cakes - best cold with cream inserted in a slice through the top of the cake. Tastes much better than it sounds!

  19. Lamingtons! My absolute favourite dessert is lamingtons in a bowl with tinned peaches and cream. Sounds ghastly, but it's brilliant.

  20. I wonder what being sat on by Dan Lepard feels like. Not terribly hygienic, I should think.

  21. I love them- we eat them all the time down under- but sometimes, when really in need of comfort eating give the jam a miss and just put a huge layer of whipped cream in the middle. great stuff. kartika