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Tuesday 5 January 2010

Re-Inventing the Lamington: A Competition and Series

'Well,' I thought to myself. 'What better way to start off the new year than with a baking competition? And one with a fabulous prize.'

This time last year I was busy planning my trip to Australia. I hadn't wanted to go at first (it was Mr. Other P's big idea), and so I made sure I spent a while reading up on what to do, and more importantly (if you're me), where and what to eat.

I wasn't disappointed; I ate some of the best food I've ever had in my life on that trip. People of Oz: you have much to be happy about. The fresh fish, wine (Red Hill Winery, I love you too much!) and fruit in particular were amazing, and I make versions of the dishes I ate in some restaurants all the time now, at home (bringing a touch of NSW to SW, if you will). But when it comes to cake, Australia let me down.

Don't think I'm hating on Australia though. No Sir. Places like this,
in St. Kilda, Melbourne,
make A-M-A-Z-I-N-G cakes.

There was one food item I couldn't wait to sample: the Lamington. Chocolate coated sandwiches of vanilla sponge cake, dipped in dessicated coconut - really, we're talking about cake heaven. But that's not what I got. Nope, instead, I more often than not got stale cake, artificial tasting 'chocolate' coating, and dry-as-a-bone coconut. Blech. They weren't all bad, but of all the Lamingtons I tried, none exactly blew my mind.

I love Polish cheesecake!

I remember that they had Lamingtons in Neighbours once, and didn't really think much of them; they just looked like chocolate cake. But last year, Mr. Other P said that one of his colleagues, who's an Aussie, brought some in for Australia Day (January 26), and that they were delicious. So I planned, after sampling the real thing on my trip, to make some this year. And I am still going to: on each of the 10 days leading up to Australia Day, I am going to post a different Lamington recipe. Only I am going to re-invent them. The Lamington, you see, has great potential.

And this is where you come in!

I am challenging you to come up with a recipe for Lamingtons with a difference. They could be crazy-flavoured Lamingtons, Lamingtons with an interesting shape or texture, Lamingtons made from something that isn't cake... Do whatever you like! The winner will get an amazing prize, which in an ideal world, would be something Australian, but since I live in Cardiff is going to be something Welsh. And kitchen-related. No, it isn't a love spoon (sorry). It's this:

Tell me you aren't amazed to see a Welsh dragon shaped cookie cutter? I will not believe you. I have never seen these anywhere except for the 'Kitchens' store in Cardiff, so we really are talking about a rather exciting prize to be won. And it can be yours. Here's how:

  1. Come up with a Lamington recipe. Bake it, and photograph the results.
  2. If you have a blog, write a post about it (I am going to do a post linking to all entrants on Australia Day) and send me a link. The contact email address is at the top of the page, or you can leave a comment on this post, with a link in it.
  3. If you don't have a blog, you can still enter: just email me the photo and, if possible, the recipe. I will still feature your entry on this blog.
  4. On Australia Day (January 26), I will post all the entries in a Lamington Round Up, and will pick a winner. This bit has yet to be decided: I can't decide if I should use a random selection process, or set up some kind of voting system. (Let me know what you think!!)

The Rules:
  • The competition is open to everyone, wherever you are.
  • You must follow my Lamington formula - it doesn't have to be cake necessarily (though don't go too crazy!), but there needs to be a centre, a coating, and the whole thing must be dipped/rolled in sprinkles. You don't need to limit yourself to the traditional chocolate and coconut, but whatever you come up with should be recognizably Lamington-inspired.
  • Multiple entries welcome.
  • Closing date: January 26 at 12:00 GMT.

Good luck! And spread the Lamington word.

Credit where credit is due: Thanks to Dorota for the photos of St. Kilda. Mine were bad!


  1. You must have known I would be the first to comment on this. I want that awesome cookie cutter! Oh and I had to google 'Lamington' :$
    Oh, also; I want a whole Polish cheesecake to myself. Can't wait to come up with a lamington recipe :) (Yeah, now I know what they actually are!)

  2. I have to be honest here - I have NEVER bought a Lamington, only ever had home-made versions, but I am sorry to hear the shops let you down Mr P. Also I know that winery as my parents live just around the corner:) Now, you know my Miss Six is a DRAGON fanatic? I mean she loves her toy dragons so much they are always in her arms. I doubt my chances of winning a baking comp, but please I must know where to buy these cookie cutters after the event in the likely chance I DON'T win:) Love the comp idea:D

    PS Did you see EmmCee's Lamingtons on our blog?:)

  3. OK, I am so excited about this and I'll tell you why:

    a) I recently found out what a Lamington cake is (I would've been rushing to Google with Sanjana just a month ago).

    b) I have already become acquainted with a fun/unique/or-maybe-just-silly Lamington recipe, so my work is already done.

    Sign me up - I will be posting!

  4. This is possibly the most exciting thing in the world that has ever happened!

    Sanjana - I know you are going to do an amazing job. Can't wait to see it! I bet you use some really cool ingredients. Maybe kewra? No pressure!

    Coby - Will check out EmCee's. Are you serious about your parents? I would be drunk all the time if I were them. The fizz they produce at Red Hill is just superb. And Max's (the restaurant) is incredible. Such stunning countryside! There was a farm nearby that had a box of quinces at its gate with an 'honesty box'. Do you know how much we pay for them here!!? Can't wait for your entry either!

    Mae - I am more excited than you are. Lamingtons in the Windy City? Aussie Cake Squares are going global!

  5. MrP I love making lamingtons and yes I can understand your disappointment - although if you had the good fortune whilst being down under to visit St Kilda you would have been in baking heaven!
    I would love to make some lamingtons and of course we have a variety of different things you can do with them.

    OK off to investigate my options!

  6. Look at that amazing cookie cutter! I'm in love!

    If I have a UK mailing address can I accept your challenge?

  7. EmCee - I was in St. Kilda. I would add the photos to prove it, but I looked like rubbish that day (night train from Sydney). I loved the salt baths though!

    Ms. Humble - the prize goes anywhere! Enter, enter! You don't need a UK address. :)

  8. So jealous! I LOVE unique cookie cutters but I'm not going to be near an oven for months :( I can't wait to try the winning recipe though!

  9. That is the best cookie cutter ever!!!

  10. I didn't even know there was such a thing as a Welsh dragon -- guess they haven't made it over to Texas yet. We had a neighbor from Australia who was obsessed with Lamingtons. She came in with a recipe and showed us how to make them, and I was totally underwhelmed. It was a few years ago, but I seem to recall that the chocolate sauce was the key to the whole thing. She had some really cool cake molds, though -- kind of a flattened pyramid shape. So this may sound like heresy to our Aussie friends, but I think the Lamington is due for a makeover and I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with. In the meantime, I'm a sucker for anything cheesecake. What's a Polish cheesecake, and PLEASE post a recipe! Robin

  11. Oh yeah baby! This is the best contest ever. Count me in.

    In one of my mum's old cookbooks there is a section at the back with blank pages for making notes, and written in the very careful handwriting of my (then) very young brother is "lamintons are yum". The spelling may be off but the sentiment is correct.

  12. Not to rain on anyone's parade, but there are a few Welsh Dragon Cookie cutters that come up in a web search that you can purchase that look like the one shown here. Just for those of us who might not win the giveaway :-)

  13. i had a nice lamington once. it was split down the middle like a hot dog and filled with salted, whipped cream. delicious :P

  14. Dang, you hit all the right nerves - my competitive nerve, my chocolate nerve, my sweet tooth nerve, my love tobake nerve...as you can see I have a lot of nerve! I'm in.

  15. good luck to all the future posts.... let us know who wins...

  16. Hmmmmm, Bundt Lamingtons, now there's a potentially winning idea - this is going to need some thought... I want that cutter... bad!!!! :-))

  17. Hurrah! Thank goodness loads of you seem up for it.

    I can't wait to see what happens!

  18. Ok, I *think* I might be up for this challenge... I have an interesting idea I would like to try...

  19. Sacrilege! Lamingtons do not come in varieties, nor do they traditionally have fillings. Done well, they are simple and good. Don't uber-cake them with cream, fillings, flavours and sprinkles - or at least call the results something else!

  20. Well hello there Mr. P! Thanks for your comment on my blog, and for letting me know about this competition. I don't think I qualify as mine are the traditional lamingtons, nothing new or exciting, but here's the link anyway:


    You're totally right about Australians and their food! I keep saying the same thing to people: whenever I go to Oz and eat, it's like tasting food for the very first time. Amazing!

    Great blog by the way =)

  21. Zezebelle: Sorry! I hate to tread on anybody's cake toes... I'm sure you'll love the results though! :)

    Mowie: When all my lamingtons are done, I'm going to post about the most amazing fish I ever ate. It was in Sydney, and I still dream about it. And try making it at home, but I'm no pro-chef, and my dining room doesn't spill out onto Manly Beach, so it's never quite the same. Maybe I should move?

  22. Holy sh*t -- uhm that is probably the most AWESOME cookie cutter I've ever seen. I am so determined to win this competition solely for that prize, count me in. I will still have to do much research on this "Lamington" but i shall make it happen Mr.P :)

  23. Joy! So pleased you're entering too. I feel bad that this competition is a lot of work to enter. But I also feel good knowing that I have given you an excuse to do some baking this weekend! :)

  24. OK, my entry is up... sort of...

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. Ha! Zezebelle came after you too!

    That lady is on a mission.

    I fully expect to be burned in effigy on Australia day for all the Lamington heresy I've committed.

  27. Yeah, I have heard that there's some bad stuff being said about me Down Under, Ms. Humble. But I can take it. And more people know about lamingtons now. Or so I like to think!

  28. I love lamingtons and have decided they're much cuter than cupcakes *oh the horror!*

  29. It is done! Here is my contribution: http://holdthebeef.blogspot.com/2010/01/re-inventing-lamington-2010.html

  30. How bizarre, I was just going to bake some this weekend after having recently found out what they are and there you are with your welsh dragon and lamingtons competition! Sounds like perfect timing to me!

  31. I must confess I'm a bit "meh" on lamingtons. DP loves them, but I'm not a huge fan of desiccated coconut.
    But I am a huge fan of dragons, so I guess I'll to see what I can do. At least I can always fob them off on to my family on Australia Day if them go wrong.

  32. SilverMoon Dragon - Enter! Right now! :)

    Stef - They are amazing! Thanks so much for entering!

    Conor - That's a winner, right there. You made so much effort!

  33. Mr P - made it by the skin of my teeth or the shred of my coconut - either or.


    Hope it qualifies!

  34. Hope this isn't too late!

    I had to wait till I got home from the Australia Day party to get a 'cut' photo.

  35. My post is up.............thaks to you and Mowie for enlightening me on this Lamington thingie!

  36. My post is up!



  37. gluten free and inside out, check em out: http://thecuriousbaker.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/inside-out-lamingtonsles-lamingtons-a-lenvers/

  38. Hello! I stumbled upon your blog by way of Chockylit - chuffed to see you're from Cardiff! I moved here last September with my hubby, am American by birth but have been living abroad for several years including a stint in New Zealand, where I remember Lamingtons being one of the staples in their ubiquitious "pies and slices" section of every grocery store, motorway stop and cafeteria, LOL. Great blog, and oh, I HAVE to get my hands on that dragon cookie-cutter. :D


That's what he said.

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