An Australia Day classic: Rockpool Bar & Grill’s Lamington

There is a sense of nostalgia associated with Australia’s humble lamington. Dunked in chocolate and coated in a layer of sweet desiccated coconut, these moist squares of sponge cake are an Australia Day picnic necessity.  

The creation of the lamington stems back to Queensland’s Governor General in 1902, Lord Lamington himself. Lord Lamington’s ingenious chef at the time, Armand Galland, is said to have invented the recipe as a way of using up old bits of sponge cake and disguising it as a sophisticated dessert. 

This sneaky trick created the lamington – a classic baked-good at any Australia Day picnic and a dessert Rockpool Bar & Grill are proud to have on the menu. 

A light, moist and fluffy sponge cake forms the foundation of Rockpool Bar & Grill’s lamingtons. Layered with a smooth chocolate mixture and covered in soft flakes of desiccated coconut, each square is filled with deliciously-sticky, house-made jam. 

Here’s how to make this classic cake ahead of Australia Day: 

Rockpool Bar & Grill’s lamingtons 

Makes 40 mini lamingtons 

For the cake 

  • 8 eggs 
  • 250g plain flour, sifted 
  • 30g butter, melted 
  • 250g castor sugar 

For the chocolate icing 

  • 400ml fresh cream 
  • 125ml sugar syrup 
  • 175g dark chocolate 
  • 400g milk chocolate 
  • 50g vegetable oil 

For the strawberry jam 

  • 500g strawberries, roughly chopped 
  • 180g castor sugar 
  • 20ml balsamic vinegar 
  • 1tsp vanilla paste 

For the moist coconut 

  • 500g castor sugar 
  • 600ml boiling water 
  • 100ml coconut cream 
  • 400g dried long shredded coconut 

For the cake 

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (160°C fan-forced). 
  1. Grease a 20cm x 30cm baking tray with spray oil and line base with baking paper. 
  1. Beat eggs and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy and light in colour. 
  1. Transfer egg mixture to a large bowl. Add sifted flour. Then using a balloon whisk or a large metal spoon, gently fold through the flour. 
  1. Add in the melted butter and fold until combined. 
  1. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until sponge springs back when touched lightly in the centre. Once ready, place cake onto a wire rack to cool for half an hour. 
  1. Cut cake into 3cm x 3cm squares. 

For the chocolate icing 

  1. Combine both chocolates in a large bowl and heat in microwave until melted. Then stir in the oil. 
  1. In a pot over medium heat, bring cream and syrup to the boil. Then, slowly add the cream to the chocolate mixture and stir gently until it’s evenly combined. 
  1. Give the mixture a quick stir and divide into two small bowls. 

For the strawberry jam 

  1. Combine strawberries, balsamic vinegar, vanilla paste and 80g of sugar in a bowl. 
  1. Add 100g of sugar to a saucepan and cook over medium heat until a thick, golden caramel mixture forms. Then add the strawberries and stir for one minute. 
  1. Continue to cook until soft. 
  1. Blitz the mixture using an electric stick blender, then reduce heat and cook until a thick mixture has formed. 

For the moist coconut 

  1. Combine sugar and boiling water in a bowl to make a simple syrup. Then, whisk in the coconut cream before adding the dried coconut. 
  1. Set aside to cool down to room temperature. 
  1. Using a muslin cloth, squeeze all the excess liquid out until only the coconut is left. 
  1. Spread flat on a tray and place in freezer until chilled. 

To finish 

  1. Gently fill the middle of the cake with jam using a piping bag. You can insert the piping bag in any side of the cake. 
  1. Then, using a large fork dip each piece of cake into icing until evenly coated. Hold over a bowl to drain off any excess icing mixture.
    Tip: Dip half of your cakes in one bowl of icing and the other half in the second bowl of icing. Separating the icing into two bowls ensures the mixture is clean and cakes don’t pick up excess crumbs. If the icing becomes too thick, stand it over hot water while dipping, or reheat gently with a little warm milk. If necessary, strain the icing into a clean bowl to remove excess cake pieces. 
  1. Place coconut in a shallow bowl and then toss each cake gently in coconut. 
  1. Transfer cake to a wire rack and stand until set. 
  1. Serve and enjoy.