While poking around the Australian sites looking into the origins of Fairy Bread, we stumbled upon another intriguing Australian delicacy. It's called a lamington...or possibly a lemmington...but in either case, we think this dessert that needs to jump the oceans and get into our kitchen!
A lamington is an individual square of yellow sponge cake coated in thick chocolate glaze and then rolled in coconut. Some fancier versions are also layered with whipped cream or play around with the flavor of the glaze. The reference website Wisegeek calls these little cakes the Australian equivalent of the American brownie - we're guessing in terms of its place in the social hierarchy of desserts, not for their composition!
The origins of the cake are unclear. It's possible they came from either Scotland or New Zealand, where the local sheep population provided inspiration for the coconut-covered dessert.
Another popular story says that a guest a dinner party being thrown by Lord Lammington dropped his sponge cake in gravy and when he threw it out, it landed in a bowl of coconut. Another diner, one Agnes Lovelightly, put two and two together and thought of dipping the cake in chocolate and topping it with coconut.
More likely, the desserts were simply a clever way for bakers to use up leftover sponge cake. We love Sarah's description on the I Ate Brisbane blog of standing over the sink or stepping into the backyard to eat Lamington Cakes where the crumbs won't make a mess!
• My Favorite Lamington from I Ate Brisbane
Curious to try this dessert for yourself? We might not find lamingtons in bakeries here in the US, but we can certainly make them at home!
• Lamingtons Layered with Jam from Martha Stewart
• Lamingtons from Joy of Baking
• Pink Lamingtons from Tea Rose Lane
How do you like your lamingtons?
Related: Traditional British Recipe: Eccles Cakes
(Image: Martha Stewart)