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The Lamington

Defining Moments in Australian History

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The Lamington, early 1900s

A number of stories surround the creation of the lamington, an Australian sweet treat made from sponge cake dipped in chocolate icing and then covered in desiccated coconut.

Lamington cake
Lamington. Photo: Monica Shaw via Wikimedia Commons

Some say that the lamington was an accident, created when a kitchen maid working for the Governor of Queensland, Charles Cochrane-Baillie, Lord Lamington, dropped sponge cake into melted chocolate while bustling about the kitchen. Not wanting to waste the sponge, she added coconut to make it more attractive, and named the cake after her employer.

Another account concerns Amy Schauer, who ran a cooking school in Queensland. Ms Schauer is thought to have named her new creation after the school’s patron, Lady Lamington, Lord Lamington’s wife.

The most widely accepted version of events centres on French chef Armand Galland, who worked for Lord Lamington in 1900 and 1901. Tasked with feeding unexpected guests with limited provisions, Galland is said to have revitalised stale sponge with chocolate, before adding coconut in a nod to the influence of his French Tahitian wife. Lady Lamington notes him as the lamington’s creator in her memoirs.

Ironically, Lord Lamington was not thought to be a fan of the cake that bears his name.

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