Ingredients – basic butter cake

4 oz. butter
3/4 cup (4 1/2 oz.) castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs
2 cups (8 oz.) self-raising flour
pinch salt
1/2 cup milk


Cream butter and sugar with vanilla until mixture is white, light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the lightly beaten eggs. If using an electric mixer add eggs one at a time and beat well after each.

Sift flour and salt three times and then fold into creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. When the mixture is smooth you can then pour into prepared tins. (Beating at this stage will cause tunnels through the cake).

Make basic butter cake mixture following instructions above and spread into a greased 11 x 7-inch lamington tin and bake for 30-35 minutes in a moderate oven 160° C (350°F) until cooked. Cool on a wire rack then cut into small rectangles (size should be 1/2 single serving).

Dip each piece in thin chocolate icing and immediately roll in desiccated coconut. Leave on a rack to set.

Cook lamington mixture the day before required. The cakes will then not crumble when iced.

Thin Chocolate Icing:


1 lb. (500 grams) icing sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 teaspoon butter
Few drops of vanilla
Desiccated coconut for rolling cakes in after icing


Sift sugar and cocoa powder into a basin. Add 4 tbsp. boiling water, 1/2 teaspoon butter and a few drops of vanilla and stir until smooth and shiny. If icing sets stand bowl in hot water until icing thins down.

 Do you want to cheat?

All the supermarkets have slabs of sponge cake (heavier than a sponge but good for lamingtons).

Cut the slab into lamington slices – dip in chocolate icing and roll in coconut.  Actually, these slabs are good and even better when they are on special because they do not crumble.

Most accounts of the creation of the lamington agree that it was named after Lord Lamington who served as Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901, although it might have been named for his wife, Lady Lamington. Even among those who attribute the name to Lord Lamington, there are different claims as to the exact location and creator of the cake itself.

Follow this basic butter cake recipe and try a few variations such as the grated rind of an orange or lemon, sultanas or other dried fruit, chopped nuts and spices.
Note: If making the cake in a deep 8 inch round or square tin you will need to bake it for 45-50 minutes.

Variations on the Basic Butter Cake

Lemon Cake:
Add the grated rind of 1 lemon and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Omit vanilla.

Sultana Cake:
Add 4-6 oz sultanas and 1 teaspoon allspice.

Seed Cake:
Add 1 tablespoon caraway seeds to the mixture and sprinkle an extra teaspoon of seeds on top before baking.

Spice Cake:
Sift 1 teaspoon allspice with the flour. Add 4 oz chopped dates or walnuts to the mixture.