Lamington. Noun. A cake confection made by covering a cube of sponge cake in chocolate icing and desiccated coconut. [Apparently named after Lord Lamington, 1860-1940, Governor of Queensland, 1895-1901] Macquarie Dictionary, 4th Ed, 2005.
The chocolate Lamington is as Australian as meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars, ranking alongside the other true Australian icons of the peach melba and Vegemite.
The Lamington’s origins, however, are quite cloudy. The Lamington is not only claimed by Australians as a popular dish but also by New Zealanders (as the Lemmington, or Leamington) and by the Scots. It is most likely that the name derives from either Lord or Lady Lamington. Lord Lamington was the Governor of the State of Queensland from 1895-1901.The most popular story is that a kitchen maid of Lord Lamington accidentally dropped some sponge cake into some chocolate icing and then rolled it in coconut to stop it from being too sticky to handle. However, some further research by Australian author Jackie French
unearthed a story that it was invented in the early 1900s by a Queensland cooking teacher, Amy Shauer, and that they were named after the cooking school’s patron – Lady Lamington.
[the CWA Cookery Book and Household Hints, Perth WA 1936]
Recipe books written before 1910 describe the Lamington as a whole cake iced in chocolate and coconut. Bite-sized lamingtons didn’t appear in cookbooks until a few years later, giving more impetus to the Lady Lamington story over the Lord Lamington one.
Reference – http://www.beforeourtime.com/
Although Fast Ed, has this to say on his web site –
It shouldn’t really be surprising that the lamington was invented by a Frenchman. Predictable, but deeply unsettling. After all, facing of the primacy of French cuisine, how could we find a food culture of our own? Australians could draw proudly on few dishes as a national icon…see more!
For on Lamingtons – http://www.fast-ed.com.au/a-brief-history-of-lamingtons/
Well now I’m totally confused, here’s a great recipe to use, oh, they’re also, very nice dunked in a large cup of tea when still warm!