06 December 2011

Lamingtons - the great Australian cheat

I've only been baking for a year or two. I used to think that making cakes is hard. I presume a conspiracy of the Australian CWA (Country Women's Association) and other organisations similar. They got into our heads that cakes had to be perfect, and perfect meant the way they had always been made. 

With the rise of modern baking however, we see things like whoopie pies. I'm sure it was initially an accident by someone like me. Tried to make biscuits, but mucked up the measures and they ended up too soft, and whoopie! You get something even better. I can feel the old dears turning in their graves every time someone tastes one and says - "Wow - this is SO much better than shortbread!"

Lamingtons are the only kind of cake that I could make without a recipe when I didn't bake. The reason? These tasty morsels are actually better the more you muck it up. Store-bought cake? No problem. A little stale? Holds together better while soaking up chocolate goo. Didn't cut straight? More surface area to soak up more goo. Uneven sizes? Looks better on the plate, becuase then we know you didn't buy them at Woolworths for $1.99 a packet. Made a huge mess? No problem - you get to lick it all up. Kids just LOVE making these.

  • Madeira cake (or any medium density creamy coloured cake. Original recipe calls for sponge, but if it is too soft, it will break apart in a good icing mix)
  • Dessicated coconut (fine)
  • Cocoa
  • Icing sugar
  • Cream
  • Boiling water

  1. Mix cocoa, icing sugar, cream and boiling water until a smooth thin paste. Measurements can vary, but I like about 1 cup of icing sugar to 1/2 cup (good) cocoa, 1/4 cup cream and 2 tablespoons boiling water.
  2. Remove outer crust and cut cake into pieces (I like about 4cm square), roughing up the edges a little.
  3. Dip cake pieces first in chocolate goo (really let it soak in), and then in coconut. As mixture thickens, add more boiling water. Refrigerate pieces.
My fussy kids don't like coconut, so I have also made almond lamingtons by replacing the evil coconut with finely chopped almonds. A nut-free version could use flaked white chocolate as the exterior coat. You can also make naughty lamingtons by adding a dash of liqueur to the chocolate goo - try Kahlua or Cointreau. OK that's it! Cointreau and white chocolate bite-sized ones are going in the Christmas truffle bag.


  1. I first get to know Lamingtons when I moved here to Dubai, I clipped the recipe (did not knew about food blogs) How come none of the Finnish women mags ever shared this sort of easy and quick sweet.
    I think every household in Finland knows how to make basic cake, but many times you have bit stale cake you would like to re-fresh. Thank You
    nice idea and kids can do it zigzag. Minna

  2. ive always wanted to make these!!! didnt know they were so easy! :D


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