MORE THAN JUST A CHOCOLATE CAKE, MATE!
Ever heard of a lamington cocktail? Sounds good to me.
If there is one culinary icon in Australia that ‘out-icons’ the pavlova it is surely the lamington. We all know that the wretched Kiwis claim the pavlova (which is a lot of rubbish), but in 2014 Aussies were horrified to read in the Guardian Australia that they had also claimed OUR lamington. How could this be? Apparently the Kiwis were insisting that the proof lay in a watercolour painting titled Summer Pantry by New Zealand landscape artist J.R. Smythe, dated 1888. It purported to show a half eaten sponge cake covered in chocolate and coconut. Hmmm, see the circled cake on the sideboard…..what do you think? Look closely.
The New Zealanders, according to the newspaper, claimed that Lord Lamington, future Governor of Queensland, visited their country in 1895 and was mightily impressed when he was served a ‘Wellington’ . It was described as; ‘a double sponge dessert, dressed in shavings of coconut intended to imitate the snow capped mountains of New Zealand.’
The article created enormous angst, although it’s worth remembering that it was published on April 1st. Try looking up that artist J.R. Smythe. Oh the relief!
The truth is that Governor Lamington’s chef, Armand Galland, created the cake. There are several versions of how this actually occurred. If you want more information, click HERE
Since Queensland was the birthplace of the lamington there must have been great sadness when they were once banned from Toowoomba’s Methodist Church Industrial Exhibition. In 1953, conveners had to cancel the lamington competition and substitute rainbow cakes. The problem was that coconut from New Guinea was suspected to have been infected with typhoid.
Housewives all over the country were instructed to destroy their supplies of dessicated coconut.
WHO MAKES THE BEST LAMINGTON?
I swear that the best lamingtons in the whole world are made by a delightful man called Hak , at the Cremorne Bakery in Sydney. The shop is located in the shopping centre below the Park Regis Hotel on Military Road. Priced at a very reasonable $2.60, one is definitely big enough for two people. He also makes them in miniature, to serve free with take-away coffee. Hak is from Cambodia, which proves that a background in the Country Women’s Association is not a requirement for making superb lamingtons.
In my Blue Mountains village of Blackheath we have a Vietnamese bakery and they make chocolate sponge Lamingtons!
Editor Des has already ordered this for his next birthday.
Can the lamington be improved in any way? Well, yes. You can split them and put whipped cream inside, but that is just so indulgent I really cannot recommend it.
The inimical Barry Humphries said that the lamington should be placed on a doily and served on a Tupperware plate. Oh Barry! Dame Edna would consider that very common.
Here are my sweet great-nieces Ellie and Ash making lamingtons at their Granny’s house in Tasmania. I do note that she has the girls sitting outside!
There is a stall at the local Farmers’ Market here in Blackheath that sells Lamington cupcakes. Is this an abomination or an adaptation to gladden the heart? I’ll have to try them next time I go and see what I think.
Lamington, lamington we love you. You can’t just eat one….you must have two. By the way, did you know there was a Lamington Anthem?
Look what has been produced in time for Australia Day 2020. If I didn’t have a calender I’d suspect it was April 1.
But wait, there’s more!
Crikey! …..that icecream would help though.
Oh, and speaking of April Fools Day.
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