Ed Thomson

What is a lamington? An Australian and New Zealand dessert which originates from left over sponge or butter cake, dipped in a chocolate icing and rolled in coconut.

Whilst living in Sri Lanka – coconut is an obvious choice for me! These mini versions freeze beautifully and are great lunch box fillers. I have a guilty pleasure; whilst living in the tropics; of eating still frozen. So good! If you want to buy pre-made sponge, its easily available in Sri Lanka from bakeries, supermarkets and the three-wheeler bread trucks, cue music ‘fur Elise’.

I hope you enjoy these delights as much as my family does and the kids at school on UN Day when we set up the Australia/New Zealand stand.

Note that the recipe works best with day old sponge. The shape keeps best and is less crumbly when a day old.

T&T TIP Pretty indulgent I know and another sugar fix…. But don’t waste the leftover icing and coconut. I buy a litre of the best vanilla ice-cream I can, I scoop it out into a bowl. Then put the scoops back into the same tub and in layers, sprinkle the icing and coconut and squish it down. Put the lid on, pop it back in the freezer overnight and presto a bounty ripple flavoured ice-cream!



  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • ½ tspn vanilla
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1¾ cups self-raising flour
  • ½ cup milk


  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 75gm butter melted
  • 1/3 cups boiling water sometimes more is required
  • 2 cups desiccated or shredded coconut dried

Sponge: method best made the day prior

Preheat oven to 180ºC (325ºF). Grease and line a brownie/ baking tin approx. 20 x 30cm with baking paper.

Beat butter and sugar until pale and light, 3-5 minutes.  Add eggs one by one. Sift the flour 3 times.  In stages gently mix the milk and flour alternatively bit by bit into the sponge.

Pour into tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.  When cool, put the sponge into a container and wait until the next day to cut and ice.

Icing: method

Cut the sponge into even sized cubes. Put the coconut onto a plate for rolling. Get a container ready for storage.

In a mixing bowl sift icing sugar and cocoa together.  Add the butter and pour over a little of the boiling water.  With a hand whisk, mix well and add more boiling water bit by bit until you get a thick but not too thin icing.

The icing is perfect when you can dip a square of sponge into the icing and it can evenly coat all sides. When you pull it out the excess can drain off quickly.

The icing method is like making schnitzel, use one hand for wet and one for dry.

With one hand dip the cake in the icing and then the other hand roll it in the coconut.

I scatter any leftover coconut in a storage container and pack the lamingtons into it with extra coconut between layers to stop them from sticking together.

Photography: Ed Thomson
Stylist: Ed Thomson
Props: by stylist

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