I was first introduced to lamingtons when my family lived in Australia for a few months. I was 12 and had a raging sweet tooth, but ended up being pretty disappointed by them. Far too often, they were dry and bland; far less appealing than they looked, all covered with chocolate and coconut.

It took me 14 years (and a trip to New Zealand) to get around to making my own lamingtons, and these are a HUGE improvement on the ones that I remember. The cake is rich and moist, and because they’re not quite so huge, you don’t end up with any of those boring bites in the middle that don’t have any glaze and coconut.

I covered half with chocolate and half with strawberry, although the strawberry flavor was a little weak. I think maybe more jam and less water might improve it, but I’ll just post the recipe I used and you can play around with it if you want to.

If you have an 8″ x 12″ pan (or 20cm by 30cm, as the original recipe calls for) use it, but I used an 8″ square pan and made four cupcakes (I think a 9″ square pan and 2-3 cupcakes would also work). You can just leave the cupcakes in their paper liners, and dip the tops in glaze and coconut.

(adapted from Donna Hay Kids Magazine, Annual 7, 2010 via Willow and Moo)

8 ounces butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups plain (all purpose) flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk

chocolate glaze
3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 tbsp butter, melted

strawberry glaze
1 cup plus 2 tbsp powdered sugar
3 tbsp strawberry jam, heated and strained
1/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 tbsp butter, melted

2 – 3 cups dried unsweetened coconut

Grease and flour an 8″ x 8″ or 9″ by 9″ pan and preheat the oven to 350 F.

Stir the flour and baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until creamy. Gradually add the eggs and vanilla, beating well after each addition. Mix in the flour mixture, then the milk, and stir until well-combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes (cupcakes bake for about 20) or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. When completely cool, cut into squares (I got 25 squares from an 8″ x 8″ pan).

To make the chocolate glaze, put the powdered sugar, cocoa, water and butter in a bowl and whisk until smooth. If the icing seems a bit too stiff add a little water; if too runny, whisk in a little powdered sugar.

To make the strawberry glaze, heat the jam until runny, then push through a wire strainer into a medium bowl. Stir in the hot water, butter, and powdered sugar, plus a few drops of red food coloring (if you wish).

Put the coconut in a medium bowl.

Gently roll a square in one flavor of glaze, turning to coat, then coat with coconut. Set on a wire rack and repeat with remaining squares and cupcakes.


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