The national cake

Charles Wallace Alexander Napier Cochrane-Baillie… what a splendid name! He was born in 1860 and reached the grand old age of eight, and his title was 2nd Baron Lamington, GCMG ( The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George) GCIE (Knight Grand Commander, Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire) The first Baron Lamington, Charles’s father, was a politician who became a baron; the country estate was in Lamington, a small village in South Lanarkshire in Scotland.

To give you a clue why I have been finding out about Baron Lamington the second – he was   Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901, and various geographical features in Australia are named after him such as  Lamington Plateau and National Park and Lamington Bridge in Queensland, Mount Lamington a volcano in Papua New Guinea and Lamington Road and Lamington High School both in India where he was also governor after leaving Queensland.

So there is the Australian connection… but the real reason (if you don’t already know) is the lamington which is practically the national cake of Australia! It is a delicious sponge cake, cut into squares, dipped in chocolate or a jammy sort of sauce (raspberry) and then dipped in desiccated coconut. I have often seen recipes for them, but never tried them before… until our recent holiday in Tasmania and Queensland itself, the home of the lamington.

Although there are apparently several similar cakes which were appearing at the end of the nineteenth beginning of the twentieth century, the lamington was supposed to have been created by Baron Lamington’s chef, Armand Gallan.

There are plenty of recipes for lamingtons on-line, I haven’t yet made any but I certainly am going to; the thing which interests me, having eaten them without seeing a recipe, is that in most recipes I have looked at since trying them have little or no butter in the mix… I must experiment!

I have no picture of any lamingtons, they were eaten too quickly, but I have a photo of an old kitchen where I am sure they must have been made!



  1. David Lewis

    I think the government required the calibrating of customer scales every so often. I think that’s where the saying bakers dozen came from. The baker would throw in an extra bun in for the customer rather than be accused of cheating. I shopped at a deli for lunch meat in college and caught the owner with his finger on the scale. Little wonder I looked half starved most times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Don Bowen

    When we arrived in Australia in 1969 one of the really pleasant welcomes was being entertained by new work colleagues and feeding on the gorgeous lamingtons which were so “moreish”. I still can’t resist them.
    Lois are they really unique to Australia?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lois

      I think they are – having looked at the recipe, the cake seems denser than other ‘sponge’ recipes I’ve come across, and although I have seen/baked/eaten other cakes with jam or chocolate and coconut on the outside, the jam/choc was different! They were addictive, we always had some to have for a little treat with coffee in our hotel room – as we were there for over a month we couldn’t afford to go out all the time! (Good excuse!)


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