Leena Bakes: A Giant Lamington Cake of Happiness

By on Sep 20, 2010 in Australia, Cakes, Desserts, Leena Bakes | 2 comments

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Vanilla sponge cake, homemade strawberry jam, dark chocolate ganache glaze, desiccated coconut...how could any of this be wrong together?

Tea time is what I miss most about living in Australia–a guaranteed excuse twice a day to drink something warm and lovely and nosh on a little snack, preferably something sweet. One of the most popular tea time snacks in Australia is the lamington cake, which could be as simple as a vanilla sponge cake rolled into chocolate and coconut, or as fancy as a dark chocolate cake layered affair with champagne mousse and thick shavings of fresh coconut.

I was craving a similar dessert for an impromptu dinner party, and I just so happened to have a stash of coconut and homemade jam, so lamginton it was! And instead of painstakingly making each individual tea cake, I decided to make a giant cake version and just cut slices for people. Motivated AND lazy, people—I’m the best of both worlds.

More food porn and the recipe after the jump.

Where does the lamington cake come from exactly? Well, according to Australian chef Benjamin Christie, “it essentially used up left-over sponge cake which was a common item at morning and afternoon teas for the non-working mums and on weekends back in the early 1900s.”

Further research suggests that it was a dessert originally invented for a last minute dinner for Lord Lamington, the Governor of Queensland from 1896-1901.

Recipe: Leena’s Lamington Cake

Summary: An Australian favorite–vanilla sponge cake filled with jam, dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut.


  • Cake recipe
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Toppings
  • 1 cup of chocolate
  • 1 3/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of your favorite jam ( I used homemade strawberry, raspberry is really good too)
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare an 8 inch round cake pan by buttering it, lining it parchment overlapping on the sides, and buttering it again.
  3. Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl.
  4. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy and light. Add in in suger and beat until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the eggs one at a time until well combined. Finish with the vanilla, then scrape down the bowl to ensure proper mixing.
  5. On slow speed, mix in the flour and mix in 3 additions. Start and end with flour.
  6. Pour batter into pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. For the topping, heat the heavy cream over low heat on the stove. When just under simmering, take off heat and pour over the chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir quickly with small circles starting in the center, making bigger circles as the chocolate and cream start to combine. Set aside.
  8. Let cake cool, then remove from pan and slice in half horizontally. Remove top half and brush with your favorite liquor, I used Chambord. Then spread the jam thickly across the cake. Top with the other layer, brush on more Chambord, then pour the chocolate over the top, encouraging it slowly towards the sides. Coat the entire cake as best as you can, then cover with coconut. Allow to come together in the fridge for a few minutes, then serve!

Quick Notes

This recipe was inspired by a Joy of Baking.com recipe and a Benjanmin Christie recipe.

Microformatting by hRecipe.

First layer of cake with the Chambord raspberry liquor on top.

The jam layer of the cake.

The top layer is placed on top, but only after it is brushed with Chambord.

Coating the cake in the ganache.

My finished giant lamington cake. It's not super neat, but it tastes like heaven!

Who wants a slice?


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  1. Linda

    20 Sep ’10

    Post a Reply

    Leena. I miss tea time in Australia too. Of course we Americans drink tea (some of us daily) but here the custom isn't knitted into our culture like it is in Oz, NZ and UK. So it's just not the same. But when I'm Queen I'll change that! In the meantime we have your riff on the Aussie's lovely Lamington, which looks quite luscious.


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