Australian Lamingtons

Australian Lamingtons are a traditional dessert of small squares of buttery sponge cake that’s dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut.  Similar to a petit four and just as delicious, these little cake bites are a heavenly tropical treat at the end of a meal.

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When you taste one of these, you’ll understand my obsession with these cakes?  Cookies?  I’ve heard them called both Lamington cakes and Lamington cookies, so I guess it’s up to you how you refer to them.  They are spectacular!

Slate tray of Australian Lamingtons - buttery cake squares that are dipped in a chocolate syrup and rolled in dessicated coconut. Typically served at high tea.


  • Lamingtons were said to be created for the Queensland Governor, Lord Lamington in the early 1900s for guests visiting the Governor’s Mansion.  The story has it that cake squares fell into a pot of melted chocolate.  Since they needed High Tea sweets, the chefs rolled the cake bites in coconut and served them for tea.
  • Lamingtons were traditionally served at Morning Tea, Afternoon Tea, or High Tea, and always for Australia Day.
  • Lamingtons can be made with either sponge cake or a denser pound cake (butter cake).  Sponge cakes soak up more of the chocolate syrup, but they can crumble if you leave them in the sauce for more than a second per side.  The pound cake is sturdier but less traditional.
  • Lamingtons have their own holiday!  Since 2006, this Aussie favorite is honored with it’s own national day, which falls on July 21st.


  • Take the time to sift the two types of flour together.  It makes a huge difference.
  • Room temperature ingredients blend together easier.  Take the eggs, buttermilk, and butter out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you begin making the recipe.
  • Freezing the cake makes dipping the cake squares in the chocolate SO much easier.  They won’t disintegrate, they’ll leave fewer crumbs behind.  All in all, it’s a very good thing.
  • You can make the cake a day or two ahead, cool, wrap, and freeze until ready to dip.
  • Pulse the coconut in your food processor to get a fine shred.  It helps the texture of the Lamington to have fine coconut shreds on the outside.

Slate tray of Australian Lamingtons - buttery cake squares that are dipped in a chocolate syrup and rolled in dessicated coconut. Typically served at high tea.


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Slate tray of Australian Lamingtons - buttery cake squares that are dipped in a chocolate syrup and rolled in dessicated coconut. Typically served at high tea.


  • Author: Millie Brinkley
  • Total Time: 1 hour + freeze time
  • Yield: 24 pieces 1x


Tender, buttery cake squares, coated in chocolate and coconut make up an Australian Lamington – the National dessert of Australia.



For the cake:

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract
  • 3 extra-large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk

For the coating:


Make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Grease and flour a 9×13-inch baking pan.  Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan.  Lay it on the bottom and grease the paper.  Set aside.

Sift together the all-purpose and cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer set on medium speed, cream the sugar and vegetable oil together until light and fluffy.

Pour in the vegetable oil, vanilla, and almond extracts.

Increase the mixer speed to high and beat well for about 5 minutes.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk.  Begin and end with the dry ingredients.  Don’t overmix the batter.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool the cake in the pan set on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, cut a piece of plastic wrap large enough to wrap around the cake.  Lay the plastic wrap on a flat surface.

When the cake is completely cool, run a knife around the edges of the pan and invert the cake onto the plastic wrap and wrap it around the cake.

Carefully place the cake into the freezer and freeze until frozen – about 4 hours or overnight.

When frozen, cut the cake into 24 squares.  Return the squares to the freezer until frozen solid – about 1 hour.

Make the coating:

In a large saucepan, whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, espresso powder, hot water, and butter.

Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil.  Cook, stirring often, for 5-6 minutes until you have a smooth, thin syrupy mixture.

Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Cool completely.

Dump the coconut onto a flat plate next to the saucepan of chocolate syrup.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove half of the cake squares from the freezer.

Working quickly, dip the frozen cake squares into the chocolate syrup.  Just dip all sides into the syrup, but don’t allow it to sit and soak up too much of the syrup or your cake will disintegrate.

Next, roll the soaked cake into the coconut and place it on the prepared baking sheet to dry.

Store the Lamingtons in a single layer in a container with a tight-fitting lid.

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes + freeze time
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Australian

Keywords: Australian Lamingtons, Lamingtons, Petit Fours, cake bites, chocolate, coconut, Australian food, Tea time, High tea

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