Every year on July 21st, National Lamington Day celebrates Australia's most famous culinary icon, the Aussie Lamington.
The day also encourages people to eat a Lamington while spreading the word about this tasty cake.
So, what is this delicious treat? It is essentially an Australian cake that is made from squares of sponge cake or butter caked, which is then coated in a layer of chocolate sauce, and finally rolled in desiccated coconut.
Is your mouth watering yet?
The thin mixture is absorbed into the sponge cake’s outside layer, and it is then left to set. This creates the distinctive texture of the cake. There have been a number of different variations of this cake that have been created over the years. One of the common variations is to have a layer of cream or strawberry jam in between two halves of Lamington.
This Australian cake was first invented in Queensland, with a recipe appearing in the Queensland Country Life newspaper as early as 1900.
One account suggests that the Lamington was first served in Toowoomba, when Lord Lamington took his entourage to Harlaxton House to escape the steamy heat of Brisbane whereas another claims that it was created by Galland at Queensland's Government House in Brisbane during the busy period leading up to Federation in 1901. A further alternative claim is that Lord Lamington's cook, presumably Galland, accidentally dropped a block of sponge cake into a dish of chocolate. It was later discovered that desiccated coconut, sprinkled over the top, made the cakes more appealing.
The first known mention of "Lamington cake" appears in an 1896 newspaper account of a "Lamington Function" at Laidley in Queensland. The event was in honour of Lord Lamington (although it appears he did not attend) and also featured "Lamington Tea", "Lamington Soup" etc, so, in the absence of any description of the cake, the name of the cake might signify nothing more than the name of the event.
A 1900 recipe for Lamington Cakes has been found in the Queensland Country Life newspaper.
While the recipe originated in Queensland, it spread quickly, appearing in a Sydney newspaper in 1901 and a New Zealand newspaper in 1902. However, none of these recipes indicate the creator of the recipe nor the reason for its name.