Lamingtons are an Australian ‘national dish’ – small squares of sponge dipped in chocolate icing and rolled in coconut.

The origin of the dish is unclear; but the name is usually attributed to Lord Lamington, the Governor of Queensland one of Australia’s six big states, from 1896 to 1901. Like many dishes that are well known, the variations on laminations are numerous. For those of you unfamiliar with these treats, I am sure you will enjoy my version. For those who have their own version, do try this sponge which is light and uses less butter than many recipes without any loss of quality.

One of the delights of cooking is sharing with friends, at a meal or as a gift. However, when the dish is a familiar one sharing can a bit daunting as we all have preferences. So, it was with no little anxiety that I recently gave some of my lamingtons to an Australian friend who was visiting – a true test. Furthermore, Michael is a bit of a ‘foody’ and certainly knows a ‘good lamington’; so I was doubly unsure of the comments I would receive. As it was, I was delighted with his verdict, ie: “The sponge is the right consistency and light. The chocolate icing has been absorbed into the cake a little, making it moist. And I like lamingtons to be small because then I get sponge, chocolate and coconut all in one bite.”

So, see what you think. They are not difficult to make (although they do take a bit of time).

Diets for which Lamingtons are suitable:

Fodmap, Gluten Free, Nut Free and Vegetarian.


Preparation: 20 + 30 mins | Cooking: 25 mins | Serves: 16+

For the sponge:

4 eggs
200gm (1 cup) granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g (2/3 cup) rice flour*
70 gm (1/3 cup + 1 tbsp) potato flour*
30 gm (1/3 cup) tapioca flour*
1/2 tsp xanthan gum**
2 tsp baking powder
70 gm butter, melted and cooled (not Dairy Free, see notes)***

For the icing:

30 gm unsalted butter (not Dairy Free, see notes)***
250 ml (1 cup) milk****
65g (1/2 cup) cocoa powder
250 gm (2 cups) icing sugar

160 gm (2 cups) cups desiccated coconut


For the sponge:

PREHEAT the oven to 350˚F/180˚C/gas 4.
LINE and grease the base of a 20×20 cm/8×8 inch cake tin with parchment paper. (You can use two 20 cm/8 inch round tins, although you will cut fewer lamington squares and will have more odd shaped pieces of cake remaining.)
WEIGH the flours, xanthan gum and baking powder and mix in a bowl (use a whisk to mix).
BEAT the eggs and sugar in a large bowl with a hand mixer at a high speed for 6-8 minutes. (The mixture will thicken and become pale in colour.)
ADD the vanilla.
SIFT the flour mix over the egg and sugar mixture.
COMBINE by gently folding the flour through.*****
ADD half the melted butter and gently fold it through.
ADD the remaining butter and gently fold it through. (Ensure the butter is mixed through completely but do not over-mix because you will lose the air in the cake and it will not rise as well.)
POUR the mixture into the prepared tin.
BAKE for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. (The cake should spring back when lightly touched in the centre.)
TURN the cake onto a wire rack to cool.
CUT cake into even, bit-sized pieces about 3-4cm/1 1/2 inch. (The unused cake edges are good served with fruit or made in a trifle.)

For the icing:

PREPARE a large area of bench on which to work, with room to assemble 3 bowls for icing and coconut and a wire rack.
COMBINE the butter and milk.
HEAT gently so the butter melts and then cool to room temperature. (If the milk is warm the cocoa may not dissolve easily. If the cocoa does clumps add the icing sugar and then pass the chocolate icing mix through the sifter. The icing mix will then be smooth.)
SIFT the cocoa into the milk mix and whisk so it dissolves.
SIFT 1 cup of icing sugar into the ‘chocolate milk’ mix and whisk to ensure there are no lumps.
ADD the remaining icing sugar and whisk.
DIVIDE the chocolate icing into 2 bowls. (This will enable you to use a fresh bowl of icing when the first is full of cake crumbs.)
DIP each cake square into the chocolate icing in turn and, using a fork, roll it so it is completely covered.
DRAIN off excess icing by placing the iced cake on the wire rack.
ICE half the cake squares.
ROLL the iced cake in the coconut, coating it lightly and evenly.
SET the cake cubes on the rack to dry.
ICE the remaining cake squares as outlined above.
STORE the cakes in an airtight container.


– A snack or dessert
– The cake will remain fresh for a couple of days.


* Substitute the flour mixture with 200gm of Gluten Free flour mix. The consistency of the cake may altered slightly because the flours will require a different amount of liquid. Adjust the quantity of flour if necessary.
** Xanthan gum is not essential but it helps keep the cake moist and prevents it from crumbling. This is particularly important if the cake is not eaten on the day of baking.
*** Dairy Free, replace butter with coconut oil (organic or solid at room temperature). For icing a vegetable oil may be used.
**** Use soya milk for lactose intolerant diets. (Butter is acceptable for lactose intolerance but not for Dairy Free.)
***** If you are new to Gluten Free baking please read my page‘Pantry’. There you will find some basic information about equipment requirements to prevent contamination.

Other Recipes for Brussels Sprouts:

Dates with Coconut
Breast with Balsamic
Spiced Nuts

One thought on “Lamingtons

Leave a Reply