When I was in Australia, a couple of interesting things happened while I scooting around Sydney. One was that I went on the hunt for Lamingtons, and a number of people offered to send me recipes, but didn’t. And two, I got quite a few messages from people asking if I was coming to Melbourne. Then a food festival there rolled around and even though I woke up at all hours, checking my messages night and day, an invite to that city never landed in my Inbox.


But instead of being tough and bitter, I decided to dive into something tender and sweet, and was compelled to whip up my own recipe for Lamingtons. (And it’s hard to remain mad at anyone in Australia because, truly, everyone was exceptionally nice to me during my visit to Sydney.) I did call upon one of those nice folks, the master of the Lamington, Matt Rothman, when deciding whether to go with a cocoa powder icing or one made with chocolate. And he responded that he makes either, depending on whether he wanted the glaze to soak in to the cake a little (cocoa powder) or for it to be more of a thicker icing (chocolate).

Lamingtons Lamingtons

I went for a mix, mostly using chocolate, but with a little cocoa powder to rev up the chocolate flavor. Some people use raspberry jam, or another jam, for a filling, although I’m not really big on fruit and chocolate together – I just wanted moist spongecake, chocolate frosting, and lots of shredded coconut.

chocolate icing for Lamingtons Lamingtons

The good news is that I don’t feel slighted anymore since I can have Lamingtons whenever I want, wherever I want. And so can you.


16 Individual Cakes

It seems traditional to use regular unsweetened dried coconut, also known as desiccated coconut, but those with a bit of dedication surely would be rewarded if you took the time to shred fresh coconut. Unsweetened dried coconut is usually available in natural food stores, ethnic markets that specialize in Asian or Indian ingredients, and online.

For the spongecake:

  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup (175 g) cake flour*
  • 2 1/2 ounces (70 g) melted unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the chocolate icing:

6 ounces (170 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 ounces (40 g) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (180 ml) milk, whole or lowfat
2 cups (220 g) powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, natural or Dutch-process (sifted if lumpy)
2 tablespoons boiling water
3 cup (200 g) unsweetened shredded coconut

1. To make the spongecake, butter a 9-inch (23 cm) square cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the eggs and granulated sugar and salt on high speed for five to ten minutes, until thick and the batter forms a well-defined ribbon that remains on top of the batter when you lift the whip. Stir in the vanilla.

3. Fold the flour into the egg mixture by putting the flour in a sifter or mesh strainer and sifting the flour over the top of the beaten eggs while simultaneously folding the flour in using a whisk.

(You might want to steady the bowl on a damp towel, twisted and rolled up into a circle, or get someone to hold the bowl while you fold.) Fold in the melted butter until no streaks of butter are visible, but do not overfold.

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

5. When cool, unmold the spongecake onto a cutting board and remove the parchment paper. Trim the ends and cut the cake in half horizontally using a serrated bread knife. (I find it easier to cut the cake into two rectangles first, and cut each one separately.)

6. Make the chocolate icing by melting together the chocolate, butter, and milk in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Remove the bowl from the pan of simmering water when smooth, then whisk in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder.

7. Spread a generous 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the chocolate icing over one layer of the spongecake, then top with the other half of the spongecake, sandwiching the two together with chocolate icing in the middle.

8. Cut the cakes into sixteen squares and whisk two tablespoons of boiling water into the icing. Put the coconut into a shallow baking dish or bowl.

9. Use your hands to dip the Lamingtons into the chocolate, rolling them around to make sure each side is coated with the chocolate icing, then wipe off any excess on the side of the bowl. Place the Lamingtons in the vessel of coconut, tossing them around gently to get them coated on all sides. (I do two at a time.)

10. Once iced and tossed in coconut, place the Lamingtons on a wire cooling rack and let stand until the icing firms up a bit.

*Cake flour is finely milled, softer flour with less-gluten and a lower protein content, and it’s used in spongecake recipes for an especially tender result. It’s available in supermarkets under brand-names Swan’s Down and Softasilk in the United States, and online. In France, I use type 45 flour (farine pâtissière).

Although it’s not quite the same, you can approximate cake flour using one of these methods:

Subbing all-purpose flour for cake flour (Baking Bites)

Make your own cake flour (Smitten Kitchen)

How to make cake flour substitute (The Kitchn)

Lamingtons Lamingtons

Related Posts and Recipes

Quick Coconut Ice Cream with Saffron

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons

Banana-Chocolate Chip Upside Down Cake

German Chocolate Cake

Almond Cake

German Chocolate Cupcakes

Never miss a post!


  • Maggi Adamek
    November 28, 2011 7:24am

    Dearest David – Thank you for leaping to the top of the class of farflung Lamington lovers! How I love them….And so few people in the non-Oz world understand the magnitude of their glory. It is a lifelong love affair to be sure. Kudos to you for uplifting them to the exalted position they deserve.

  • November 28, 2011 7:25am

    These look great and I’m intrigued by the chocolate version, I grew up in Scotland and these cakes are very popular there also but red with raspberry jam like you mentioned,
    Take care…

  • November 28, 2011 7:27am

    Ohmigod. That’s just an amazingly luscious looking cake. So, when you say that some people use jam as a filling, does that mean instead of the chocolate icing? And that the cake is still rolled in the chocolate once its been filled with jam? It wasn’t very clear, sorry.

    I love anything with coconut and chocolate (hello, Bounty bars) so this cake is going on my list, jam or no jam.

    Thank you for sharing this recipe, David, cheers!

    • November 28, 2011 7:29am
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, “filling” means that it’s in the middle. Some versions are filled with jam, then iced in chocolate.

  • Cathg1g2
    November 28, 2011 7:29am

    Oh, you MUST come to Melbourne, this town totally rocks, esp our coffee.
    I will show you round! It’s the least I can do as my family eats its way around Paris this Jan with your Paris Pastry app!
    Raspberry jam, ok, a matter of taste, but pretty fundamental.

  • neha gattani
    November 28, 2011 7:29am

    I am surely going to try these. For how many days do they stay perfect and do I need to store them in the refrigerator?

  • November 28, 2011 7:39am

    Oh yum! I had one of these the other day when I walked past a bakery and couldn’t help but notice how luscious they looked! I also like the option of a cream filling.. a little on the indulgence side, but oh so delicious :)

  • November 28, 2011 7:41am

    Oh fun! I remember your lamington adventure and it’s great to see you making them now. Looks very tasty!

  • November 28, 2011 7:45am

    Ahh, a Kiwi tearoom favourite too, looks great, love to see your take on the raspberry one day too, maybe you missed a step on the sponge recipe as 70g of butter is a lot for greasing a tin

    That’s the butter that gets melted and folded into the sponge -dl

  • November 28, 2011 7:53am

    I have a feeling the humble lamington is about to take the world by storm!
    I agree with the ‘no jam’ policy for the filling – it’s a more old-school touch. Chocolate and coconut are a sufficient taste combination!

  • Andrea
    November 28, 2011 7:56am

    Hi David, I’m a big fan of yours since a trip to Paris when I was trying to find out where I could get some buckwheat galettes – your blog came in very handy and is always an enjoyable read.

    Sorry you didn’t get an invite to Melbourne. I’m sure you’d have liked it very much. Hopefully you do come soon and ignore the comparisons between Sydney and Melbourne – they’re dramatically different cities.

    I don’t mind lamingtons but usually find them a bit dull and/or dry – I never thought of using real chocolate in the frosting so will try these out.

  • Hayley
    November 28, 2011 8:35am

    I like to sandwich freeze-dried raspberries in the middle with the chocolate filling. These look really great! I’m looking forwards to trying your recipe :)
    If you ever come to Perth, I guarantee we will be more hospitable than the East coast :)

  • Shandel
    November 28, 2011 8:43am

    Dearest David,
    I believe the Melb Food and Wine was sorted out months before you came to Sydney, so the strategy would be to lobby for 2012. I don’t want you to lose any hair over it!
    There is an alternate festival called the fringe food festival, but we would need to find a sponsor willing to fly you over in a gasoline canary. I will discuss with contacts and revert.

  • November 28, 2011 8:44am

    I didn’t know you were looking for a recipe. I’d have sent you mine. I don’t put jam in centre. Also if you put sponge in freezer for a little while it makes it easier to cut and you don’t end up with crumbs in choc coating.

  • i
    November 28, 2011 8:55am

    Hm, it’s kind of strange, that without knowing it’s origin, almost every hungarian makes this cake every once in a while..

    I mean Aussies and Magyars are not exactly neighbours, eh? :-)

  • Susan
    November 28, 2011 9:00am

    I’ve always wanted to try baking lamingtons because so many folks just rave about them! They do look wonderful.

    You make whipping up genoise sound like no big deal. The one and only time I tried to make genoise I ended up with with what appeared to be memory foam cushon that lost it’s memory; It was flat, rubbery, tough and awful. The instructions I followed (from Gourmet and watched the video on youtube) had you mix some of the batter with the butter then fold it into the main batter to make it blend easier. I just couldn’t get the folding done without it becoming almost the texture of a regular cake batter because of the butter addition. Could you explain or show a quick video on folding it together with a whisk? Please!

  • November 28, 2011 9:34am

    ah sorry, I am guilty of my own hate, people who can not even read simple well structured recipes

  • November 28, 2011 9:41am

    This is great, thank you so much. I had an Australian staying with me and all she would make is cupcakes, I’m forwarding her this so the next time she comes she can make these instead, they look delicious!

  • November 28, 2011 9:46am

    I’ve been wanting to try a recipe for Lamingtons lately, so you have completely inspired me to try my hand at them.

    And I also completely agree with you on the whole “chocolate/fruit” combo. Not well-suited.

  • November 28, 2011 10:09am

    Shamefully, for an Australian who cooks every day, I have never made lamingtons in my life. Every year here in the Touraine I think I should make a batch, just like I think I should make Anzac biscuits, but I never seem to get round to it. I know my French neighbours would love them. Next time I need something for a fundraiser, perhaps I will suggest a lamington drive!

  • November 28, 2011 10:17am

    Hurrah! I remember baking lamingtons in London out of pure homesickness. They’re an iconic part of an Aussie childhood :) For sinful decadence you can also sandwich them with cream.

  • November 28, 2011 10:21am

    So beautiful. But now my homesickness has kicked into overdrive. And for my true childhood experience I need a cold vanilla milkshake on the side, to sip through a frustratingly skinny straw.

  • Chungwan
    November 28, 2011 11:04am

    Lamingtons (or sometimes spelled Lemingtons where I am) are a staple in most coffee chains and some bakeries here in Hong Kong – even McCafe has it. They do come in different flavors, though. But yours looks absolutely divine!

  • Lisa
    November 28, 2011 11:19am

    As an expat Aussie living in the UK, I really miss these tasty morsels. Thanks for this post David, you’ve inspired me to satisfy my growing Lamington craving by making my own. I can’t wait!

    @Barton We visited New Zealand in 2009 and enjoyed strawberry lamingtons in a bakery driving between New Plymouth and Auckland they were delicious! My only regret was that we only bought four which we’d devoured by the time we boarded our flight back to the Gold Coast LOL

  • JenniferB
    November 28, 2011 11:21am

    Good on ya mate! as they say back in Oz. Yes, yours do look lovely but imho, the cake should be a very light sponge – yours looks more ‘cakey’, more solid. The light sponge makes the cake element a mere support for the chocolate and coconut experience. It is also possible that lamingtons were invented to use up day-old sponge cake.

    Did you encounter the Australian sponge cake when you were there? Probably too basic to be encountered in bakers shops anymore. Was usually double layered, fruit/berries jam, whipped cream. For kids’ birthday parties, some mums would soak one in jelly – horribly sweet but spectacular for a little kid back in the 1950s.
    My favourite sponge is the ‘ginger fluff’, sponge cake made with, surprise!, ginger. If you are interested in these recipes, I’ll gladly post/send them but they should be findable with Google.

  • November 28, 2011 11:39am

    Wow, I’m so impressed that you made lamingtons at home! I love making lamingtons but only do so for special occasions (like a bake sale) when I will make a huge batch. And actually, I only started making lamingtons when I moved to Switzerland and became home-sick for this Aussie treat :-)

    To be honest, I have never seen or heard of a lamington with a chocolate centre … jam or jam and cream are more common fillings. However, I prefer not to have any filling as the chocolate and coconut coating is usually sweet enough.

    I find that the lamingtons keep well for 3-4 days under a covered dish.

  • kara
    November 28, 2011 11:41am

    Wow David! Despite your protestations, you *are* sounding a little bitter today! You know what Shakespeare said about that. I will be the first to say, with certainty, I clearly don’t understand the dynamics of your travel schedule. Having said that, I’m not understanding why you had to wait for an invitation to “show up in [your] inbox” in order to go to Melbourne. If you were in Australia and you wanted to go to Melbourne, why didn’t you go? I have to admit, this statement made an image come to mind: that of a Hollywood starlet throwing a tantrum because someone is asking her to pay for something, when she’s used to getting everything comped because she’s a celebrity. I’m not saying that’s what’s going on here, it’s just what your post brought to mind. It makes me wonder if perhaps that is what’s happening though: you’ve been doing a lot of travelling lately that I’ve assumed is mostly paid for, as it’s mostly been work related for you. . .so were you upset because no one was calling to say they’d buy you a ticket and put you up in a hotel in Melbourne?

    Sorry. I have no expectation that you’ll answer an impertinent question like that. I’m just responding to the very strange, almost harsh, dismissive tone of this post. Very strange indeed, for a post about an innocent little cake.

    Au contraire, I had a lovely time at the chef festival where I was invited presenter. I hope some day to get to Melboure, and Perth..dl

  • November 28, 2011 11:47am

    Thanks to you I know now what laming ton is recently had one in Dunedin ,,,:)

  • November 28, 2011 11:55am

    I’ve heard that the size of the lamingtons must be 4 cm each side. I guess in practice it probably makes little difference whether its bigger or smaller (the icing/sponge ratio will differ).

  • Balisand
    November 28, 2011 12:56pm

    OK, Davo, glad you’ve got the lamo under control, how about the pav? Love your blog and tweets, major resource for next April in Paris, many thanks.

  • November 28, 2011 2:22pm

    Hello David!
    Thanks indeed for sharing this recipe. I don’t know if you are aware of this but these lamingtons also very popular in Hungary as well (without the filling, just the sponge covered in the chocolate icing and desiccated coconut) and called coconut squares. My friend who lives in Australia told me once that it is the very same as the lamingtons in her country.
    According to my mum there is no coconut square without honey in the sponge :) so my recipe is different from yours! thanks again for sharing. I will try your recipe as well.
    Cheers! :)

  • Lisa Menzo
    November 28, 2011 2:25pm

    David, love ya work mate, this looks delish!

    A very cheeky short cut is to take a supermarket “quatre quart” sponge cake (or pound cake), cut it into blocks, and use this as you quick cheat on the sponge.

    That way, more time can be spent on perfecting the rich, chocolatey, delicious exterior…

    Also a tip for any Aussies living in Paris: Monoprix now sell Tim Tams! Mmmm.

    Thanks a million for a fabulous blog. — Lisa

  • ron shapley/NYC
    November 28, 2011 2:37pm

    Well Dave….I’m making a Gooey Butter Cake from St. Louis… Have you ever had it ??

  • November 28, 2011 2:51pm

    I never had these but I really like what they look like! Yummy!

  • November 28, 2011 3:51pm

    OMGosh, thank you for this recipe….. I have had a craving for these for years….we used to get them in jewish bakery’s back home. They were called icicles. Over the years I have tried to find recipes, but never succeeded…..’til now :)

  • November 28, 2011 5:03pm

    These are beautiful!

  • BT
    November 28, 2011 5:54pm

    Sweet! We became addicted to Lamingtons after two visits to Australia (to Sydney and Melbourne) and pined for them, thinking we’d have to go back to Oz to get any. I loved reading how you also discovered them and surprise, now a recipe! (I love foodies!) Just the thing for a dinner party this week – thanks, David!
    PS – I think you were just being ‘cheeky’ about not getting invited to Melbourne – no diva pouts here!

  • Jackie
    November 28, 2011 5:58pm

    These are a sweet memory from my childhood in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, and was surprised to hear that they were sometimes called Clevelanders. Can’t wait to try this recipe. I am completely in your camp of not mixing fruit and chocolate. I don’t get that combination. Merci mille fois!

  • Christine
    November 28, 2011 6:19pm

    Am I the only one who sees that in the photo of the cake where the filling is seductively oozing from between the layers that the cake is winking and sticking out it’s tongue at you David? Just saying…

  • November 28, 2011 6:21pm

    My partner is Australian and he absolutely loves Lamingtons. I followed a recipe similar to this one, except mine came out dry instead of moist. Will use cake flour as per your suggestions. Thank you

  • November 28, 2011 8:24pm

    Oh my god, they are amazing!

  • Cyndy
    November 28, 2011 8:46pm

    I wonder if the first-ever fruit/chocolate combination was chocolate-covered cherries. Yum. I love fruit and chocolate. Those orange jellies covered in chocolate… strawberries dipped in chocolate. But the ultimate are those chocolate-covered liqueurs that come from Switzerland. Grand Marnier and Framboise inside little chocolate bottles. Sigh…

  • November 28, 2011 8:49pm

    lamingtons are great!!!

    i like to make them half that size, mini-lamingtons, so to speak

    for native australian variation, you can add ground wattle seed to the cocoa/chocolate mixture for its delightful hazelnutty flavour

    did you get to try any of those flavours when you were here in oz?

  • November 28, 2011 9:18pm

    Gorgeous little cakes! I’ve never had a Lamington before, but as you say, with your recipe, now we can have them even here in the states! Thanks for posting this!

  • November 28, 2011 10:15pm

    Lamingtons, so delicious. When I lived in Paris, I had an Australien friend, she made them from time to time, I loved them. Seeing them on a photo remembers me of a great time in the French capital.

  • Gavrielle
    November 28, 2011 10:29pm

    How interesting to see your take on the Lamington! Very different from the traditional one, in which the sponge is very light and the chocolate icing is liquid (you dip the sides of the cube in rather than spreading it – the sponge is too delicate to do it any other way). But then I find the traditional Lamington rather dry and boring anyway, so I bet your version is tastier.

  • deborah goldman
    November 28, 2011 11:22pm

    3 eggs
    1½ cups castor sugar
    ¾ cup milk
    120 g butter
    1¾ cups sifted flour
    3 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    Beat eggs with castor sugar very well – at least 5 minutes.
    Add sifted flour and mix (don’t beat)
    Sprinkle baking powder over egg/flour mixture
    Heat together milk and butter. Butter must be melted and mixture just boiling.
    Pour this over egg/flour mixture and mix well with wooden spoon.
    Add vanilla.
    Bake in square/rectangular tin that has been greased and covered with baking paper – paper must also be greased. 160 degrees 30 minutes. When not making lamingtons you can add other flavours – grated lemon rind is my favourite, or cocoa or coffee powder.
    Cut into squares or rectangles when cool.
    CHOCOLATE – ingredients are not precise
    2 cups icing sugar sifted with 4 T cocoa.
    Add 1 T brandy.
    Add boiling water, a little (say 3T to start) at a time, until you have right consistency. Not too thick and not too runny! Now dip the squares into the sauce, turning until six sides have been dipped. Drop into coconut. Its timesaving if you have someone to help at this point, turning the squares in the coconut, using two forks, as your fingers are messy with chocolate. Or you could try sprinkling coconut onto a surface big enough to take ten or so squares at a time. Don’t start with too much coconut – the chocolate drips into it and the coconut gets messed up.

    David, as promised, my mother in law’s recipe.And without a doubt, the very best lamingtons.

  • November 28, 2011 11:37pm

    Gosh, those look amazing. I’ve never had a Lamington, but I’m certainly compelled to try one now!

  • lindaus
    November 28, 2011 11:46pm

    For a little more information on the lamington and its alleged origins you could read this

  • November 28, 2011 11:53pm

    I have never had Lamingtons, which is something that will have to change :) These look delicious!!!

  • Mark
    November 28, 2011 11:55pm

    Love your blog! I don’t suppose you would know what number of flour in Germany would be the equivalent? Luckily enough i was in France a few weeks ago and got me some 45 patissiere flour….

  • Mel
    November 29, 2011 12:00am

    In my mind, lamingtons are traditionally eaten by first peeling off and eating the icing and then finishing off the cake. But then, I’ve only had lamingtons from dodgy small town bakeries that no doubt use some sort of hideous instant mix that makes the icing end up like that. I’m going to make your lamingtons this weekend since they look SO good, but add a little gelatine to the coating to see if I can recreate the magic lamingtons of my childhood!

  • November 29, 2011 12:04am

    Thank you so much for the Lamington recipe. I’ve wanted one since you wrote about them.
    How could you not have been invited to Melbourne? I’ll bet there are countless souls waiting to meet and greet with you. Someone surely had their wires crossed, and I don’t mean you, either.
    I’m on the search for all things, un-traditional, just in time for the mother-in-laws visit at Christmas. I can’t make that woman happy with anything I serve so this year I have decided to serve everything non-traditional to the woman. If she’s going to tear-a-feather it will have to be at her expense. I’m gonna enjoy myself BIG TIME!

  • Jodie
    November 29, 2011 12:53am

    This is great, but now you really must make pavlova! And ignore the kiwis. Aussies invented it!

  • Michael
    November 29, 2011 1:03am

    Good to see lamingtons getting some love!! Hugely under appreciated in Australia. Hipster cafes tend not to serve them now days…

  • Jenny Woodward
    November 29, 2011 1:40am

    Ahh David, it wouldn’t be a Lamington with fresh coconut, it has to be the dessicated variety otherwise it’s just some poncy fancy cake.

    For most Australians the lamington is a dry, stale,sweet affair and yet still we like them. That’s why we like them with jam otherwise you need a lot of spit to get them down. In truth, often when lamingtons are served, it’s just the icing that gets eaten and there’s a lot of the cake left on the plate. It’s all about the cake to icing ratio!

    When I was a schoolgirl we had a fundraiser where you could perform any art/craft activity for 24 hours. A group of girls decided to bake lamingtons for 24 hours. The sweet sickly smell pervaded the entire huge hall and there was coconut from one end of the place to the other. We all ate our fair share but there were still plenty left over for the “Lamington Drive”.

    This is a classic fundraising event here for schools, sports clubs and youth groups. Commercial bakeries supply the Lamingtons which are onsold by the dozen for a profit. Pie drives are also popular and now the commercial chocolate makers have got in on the act.

    The lamington was created here in Queensland and named in honour of Lady Lamington, the Governor’s wife at the time. It’s claimed it was created to disguise the staleness of the sponge cake. There is a National Lamington Day.

    As you can see we are passionate about our lamingtons.

    • November 30, 2011 4:59pm
      David Lebovitz

      A few people in Australia told me they’re really good with fresh coconut, so I assumed some people used that. That said, dried coconut can really vary. The stuff we get in France is what is shown in the post, although I like the longer shreds, myself.

  • November 29, 2011 1:59am

    Oh Yum! I’m about to make some too – have had a crazy lamington craving of late.

  • November 29, 2011 2:29am

    I think kara is sprinkling crack or hooch in her cookie dough!
    xx lamington lover

  • November 29, 2011 2:55am

    sorry to be a lame-o, but i just have to: David, you are always welcome in Tel Aviv! :)

  • November 29, 2011 3:18am

    AHA! The mystery is solved. I have a cyberfriend from Australia who called a square baking pan a Lamington tin, and now I know why.

  • November 29, 2011 3:23am

    Okay, I emailed you. Hopefully we can stir up a bit of controversy and get you to Melbourne to make Lamingtons and continue the debate…

  • Ginny
    November 29, 2011 7:03am

    Wow, so yummy looking. I love anything with coconut and chocolate and a cake it’s a complete winner!

  • November 29, 2011 8:24am

    I’ve heard about these, but I’ve never tried them. They look delicious. They sort of look like a coconut marshmallow!

  • liana
    November 29, 2011 10:17am

    Hello David,
    I want to thank you for the Kouign Amann receipe, made it last week-end and it was really good, even though I think I left it in the oven 5 minutes too much …. Here some pictures
    (I know this is not the post about Kouign amann, but that one doesn’t heva this “leave a comment” .. thing).
    Your stories are so funny, and the receipes so good (I also made your homemade nutella and the cheesy gougeres) – thank you!

  • Craig
    November 29, 2011 10:23am

    Hello David,

    Thankyou for your wonderful website and for this post on Lamingtons. Back here in Sydney, and about Aus, Lamingtons are often, not always, made with day(s) old sponge and so the option of a cream or jam infill comes into the picture. Fresh ones with fresh coconut would be a blast – might have to try.

  • KiwiRob
    November 29, 2011 1:01pm

    We’re finding it quite funny that you are so smitten with Lamingtons – here in NZ they are considered to be very ‘old hat’….the sort of thing we haven’t had since we were children! They were made with a bought Ernest Adams sponge cake, cut up & dipped in red jelly then coconut, or chocolate icing followed by coconut. There was no jam inside, though sometimes they had whipped cream… The sponge was definitely far lighter than we can create at home :)
    We were probably put off them by a practical joker at a youth camp, who dipped a bath sponge in a Lamington coating & gave one poor boy an unforgettable experience!

  • November 29, 2011 1:43pm

    Yay for the humble lamington appearing here :) My absolute FAVE dessert from my childhood :) Yours are beautiful!

  • Kelly
    November 29, 2011 3:39pm

    Being Australian, I love lamingtons! Mostly, the ones we grew up with didn’t have any filling in them – they were just sponge squares covered in the chocolate icing and coconut. The only time I remember getting jam (or any other filling) in them was if they were from the supermarkets or larger stores. We might have had them with jam, but I don’t remember them – most were ‘plain’.

    They are often used as a fundraiser – quite often boy scouts would knock at your door selling packets of 6 x lamingtons to raise money.

    An Australian classic! And one we all love. x

  • November 29, 2011 4:35pm


  • November 29, 2011 6:27pm

    Gratulálok a szép honlaphoz! Mindíg lehet tanulni nálad!
    Én is szeretek sütni főzni, nézz be hozzám!
    Üdvözlettel! Terike Magyarország.

  • Menardi
    November 29, 2011 6:36pm

    Hi David

    Such mouth-watering pictures! I’ve never had a lamington but am now eager to try. Just two questions about the genoise:
    1) Why did you not include the step which heats the eggs and sugar over a bain marie to enable the sugar to dissolve before whipping?
    2) Is it better to fold in the flour using a whisk and not a rubber spatula? I was told that rubber spatulas were preferable because using a whisk at this stage risked deflating the batter.

    Am just curious about your experience with the above, I’m still seeking the perfect genoise technique.

  • BelleD
    November 29, 2011 6:57pm

    You had me at ‘lamington’.

  • charlotte
    November 29, 2011 9:24pm

    I learned to love these at a farmer’s market booth belonging to the now famous Bakesale Betty.

  • Ashley S- Iowa
    November 29, 2011 10:56pm

    These look absolutely amazing!! Can’t wait to try making them! Thank you for sharing!

  • November 30, 2011 12:44am

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I had my first lamington at a Starbucks in Hong Kong out of all places! And they were so good! Now if only I can find a recipe for Strawberry Lamingtons too!

  • November 30, 2011 1:44am

    Who needs Twinkies when you can make homemade lamingtons? Not that I have ever had a Twinkie but clearly this recipe would leave them in the dust!

  • Shari
    November 30, 2011 1:55am

    David, now that you’ve made the chocolate lamingtons, I challenge you to make these! This recipe comes from a true Aussie, so that makes it authentic, yes? The recipe doesn’t call for a filling, but in my opinion, a vanilla custard or pudding would do the trick.

  • Shari
    November 30, 2011 2:01am

    David, in my comment I forgot to mention that there might be a couple of things being lost in translation about the jelly coating in the pink or red lamingtons that a few people have mentioned. I’m wondering if when they say ‘jelly’, they mean what Americans would call ‘Jell-O’, or gelatin? The recipe I sent used gelatin for the coating and didn’t have a filling.

  • Atg
    November 30, 2011 5:44am

    Love when you post recipes for baked goods. And every one of your posts about Australia makes me want to go even more than I already know I do.

  • Laura
    November 30, 2011 6:32am

    I have never heard of these before! A bakery I go to often sells petit fours that remind me of these, but these seem much more indulgent. This post was very informative, while also telling how to make the recipe in great detail. I really enjoyed reading through about your experiences abroad and will continue to check back to see what else I can learn!

  • November 30, 2011 7:00pm

    Hello and thank you for taking things into your own hands and sharing the recipe with us! I cannot believe that someone wouldn’t call or email you back! Do they know who you are?! LOL I quite enjoy your blog and your books and would always get back to you. It’s a courtesy!

  • November 30, 2011 8:20pm

    I’ve never seen this cake before, but it looks incredibly good. I’m generally not a sponge cake fan, but used in this way, I think it would work perfectly. As Laura said, it looks like a giant petit four, which is something I ate as a kid all the time. Kind of miss them, maybe this cake can be the substitute!

  • November 30, 2011 9:53pm

    Mmmm these look so yummy! I was eye-ing up some biscuits in the biscuit tin (yes, for breakfast) but I would much rather have these lammingtons:)

    I must make them one day! Though I just know that mine will be a MESS! It’s quite sad, but it is hard to find a good lammington. The best ones I have had are actually from the supermarket. I know, very very sad! People go too overboard, with jam and cream and jelly…it doesn’t need to be so complicated. Yours seem wonderful:)

  • Olivia
    December 1, 2011 1:15am

    For aussies, the best lamingtons are made by the cake distributors Bob & Petes. If you can find a shop selling a freshly delivered one that morning, they are amazing.

  • Olivia
    December 1, 2011 1:23am

    Oh and David a pouting diva…sorry David, I am pml at that thought.

  • December 1, 2011 6:24am

    Lamingtons sound great no matter what kind of chocolate you use. Aussie sounds like fun too. Far, but fun. Everyone I have ever met from there is filled with great spirit!

  • jane
    December 1, 2011 7:39am

    Wow, I love a Lamington. Probably more so now than ever that I live in California. I have made them a few times in recent years on Australia Day to share with my American friends and they have been a big hit. I don’t usually make my own birthday cake but this year my craving for Lamingtons was so strong that I happily made a batch for my party and they were lovely.

    I remember Lamingtons fondly from my childhood made with love by my nanna and mum and now I love to make them for my family and friends here.

    I have tried a few different recipes and my mum could make these in her sleep so I can call her but also I like to use the Country Women’s Association recipe and recently I have been using a recipe on the website.

    I have to agree with an earlier comment, I feel the genoise sponge is too dense, I prefer the more light and airy sponge and I usually make it in advance so it doesn’t crumble too much when dipped into the chocolate.

    My nanna used to also make jelly cakes, like a lamington but dipped into almost set jelly and then rolled into coconut, I haven’t had these in many years but I used to love them when I was a kid.

    Glad that you had a great time in my hometown, I miss it terribly and enjoyed reading your story, I have a friend who lives around the corner from the Bourke St bakery and I always make a beeline for it when i head home.

    Love the blog!

  • Joanne Pan
    December 1, 2011 8:02am

    hey david, thank you for this great post! I personally have never heard of lamingtons since i’ve never been to australia nor been under any australian influence before. i actually intended to make this dessert for a dinner that was supposed to happen tonight with some friends but it got postponed to the weekend. i just wanted to ask a question… i have already baked the spongecake and since i’ll only get to complete the dessert on the weekend, i’m assuming that like ordinary cake layers, i can wrap it with cling wrap, put it in a ziploc and store it in the freezer? also, on a side note, when i was whipping the eggs, salt and sugar together, i had to use a hand mixer since i had already shipped my kitchenaid back to singapore (i’m graduating from college at the end of the year and moving back to singapore) and i think it took me about 15-20 minutes on full speed to reach to the right consistency. just thought you might want to add it as a side note since many people still use hand mixers.

    speaking of the coconut coating, in my country or asia, we have this dessert called ondeh ondeh. not sure if you’ve heard of it before or have tried it before but its ball shaped dessert where the inside is sweet (gula melaka) and the skin of the ball is made with glutinous rice flour and we add sweet potato to it at home. After boiled, it is rolled on fresh shredded coconut. if done right, it is to die for!! (see this website: ) I have a pretty awesome recipe for it at home, let me know if you want to try it!

  • Ohiogirl
    December 3, 2011 12:50am

    David – I ADORE lamingtons, but they were (and are) called “coconut squares” in Cleveland Ohio and all it’s burbs.

    They’ve been there at least since the 40’s, probably before, no jam filling just straight cake, glaze, coconut. And we always wondered why they were there, just there. Now with Mrs. Moore’s post, maybe it has something to do with Cleveland’s Eastern European population?!

    Anyhoo, we always used a cocoa based frosting, and found it was tidier to cut and dip the cake when it was frozen.

  • NatC
    December 4, 2011 6:39am

    I am UNREASONABLY excited to have a recipe for lamingtons!
    Oh, childhood memories…
    But did you get any advice about whether to separate squares with cream, or with cream+jam?

  • di
    December 4, 2011 3:28pm

    Ah lamingtons. Haven’t tried making them from scratch, because they’re so readily available in stores. :) And you could even buy premade sponge cake, which you just cut up! So I might give it a go.

    Never had them with cream and jam before, that sounds like something one eats with a scone. Just the plain lamington, dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut is good enough I reckon. I remember having lamington drives back in school. Fun times. :)

  • sj
    December 5, 2011 5:38am

    i made these quite by accident the other day! only I used lemongrass curd for the filling, and ovos-moles (egg yolk icing) icing. I used shredded, not dessicated coconut, and can vouch that it makes all the difference!

  • Emily
    December 8, 2011 11:57pm

    Hi David!
    Thanks for all your wonderful posts and recipes. I have noticed a few patterns in your baking and in most baking recipes and I wanted to ask you about them.
    1) why do the eggs have to be room temperature? I rarely plan ahead – how important is this?
    2) along the same lines – how important is it for the butter to be at room temperature – can I just microwave it (here i am thinking about cookies)?
    3) why does every baking recipe ever seem to call for vanilla extract??
    4) Why is it that so often baking recipes call to have the flour and baking soda/powder (dry ingredients) mixed together first before added to the wet ingredients. (I was wondering this when reading your salted chocolate chip cookie recipe). Any insight you can offer would be great since these same questions come up every time I bake!

    • December 9, 2011 11:54am
      David Lebovitz

      Ingredients at the same temperature combine easier, including the butter. (You can soften it in a microwave but they work so fast, be careful not to melt it.) Vanilla is used as a background flavor, just like salt is often added to savory dishes. And dry ingredients get combined thoroughly because no one wants to bite into a lump of baking powder : )

  • December 10, 2011 8:32am

    Dave had I known you were in Sydney looking I would have loved to have helped you but basically we use a good sponge recipe I prefer a good white cake mix from the packet Leave the cake over night to dry out so that when you dip into the chocolate liquid it holds better than roll in dessicated coconut BUT my favourite is when I can find lamingtons made with chocolate cake & filled with whipped cream One can also make STRAWBERRY lamingtons in little round based individual cake pans (12 on a baking tray) then dip in strawberry jam thinned down & then roll in coconut I also prefer my lamingtons with both Jam and whipped cream inside

  • Mark
    December 11, 2011 2:15pm

    Honestly I’ve never thought that this little cake is popular anywhere else outside of Hungary. I know its a narrow minded thinking but Im happy to read about Lamingtons here :)) I love them too! We simply call them “coconut cubes” :)

  • December 12, 2011 2:14am

    I’m so happy you have a lamington recipe. They really are delicious and comforting little cakey-bombs, but I’m Australian so perhaps I am biased!

    I’m horribly sorry you had flakey Australians. I promise you we’re just relaxed, but if you ever come back I’d be more than happy, and reliable, to show you around my town! Just bring one of those lamingtons…

  • Julia B.
    December 12, 2011 10:38pm

    You may have just made my day and my family’s holiday! I can’t wait to make this and share it with them! I love surprising them at Christmas with a new treat, and this will definitely be a hit.

  • Michelle W
    December 18, 2011 3:49am

    I am looking forward to making these for my husbands Birthday this week. I was wondering what are your thoughts on making the whole item/or just the sponge cake a day before and if this is possible recommended storage. Your blog is wonderful. I read it each Saturday morning with my coffee.