September  3, 2014
2 Ratings
Photo by Alpha Smoot
  • Makes 16 cake squares
Author Notes

Lamingtons —Oh Sweet Day!

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Oh Sweet Day! quit her bank job to start her food blog and hasn't looked back since.
WHAT: A classic Australian cake treat that shows cupcakes a thing or two.
HOW: Sandwich strawberry jam between two layers of white cake. Cut it into 2-inch squares, then coat each square in a chocolate icing and shredded coconut.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The thing about cupcakes is that once you save/lick/devour the icing on top, all you have left is a white cake bottom. This traditional Australian cake negates the issue by coating the *entire* single-serving cake with chocolate and unsweetened coconut. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pieces large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup raspberry or strawberry jam
  • 2 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F. Grease and line the bottom of two 8-inch square pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, sift in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the eggs and sugar until well combined. Gradually add in the oil and vanilla; mix until just blended.
  4. With the mixer on low, slowly add half of the flour mixture and mix until just blended. Mix in the buttermilk, then slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
  5. Divide batter evenly among the prepared pans. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack and let cakes cool completely.
  6. To prepare the chocolate icing, melt the butter and mix with milk. Whisk in cocoa powder until completely dissolved. Add in the confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time, and whisk slowly until thickened. Set aside.
  7. To assemble, spread the jam over the top of one cake layer. Top it with another cake layer. Cut into 2-inch cake squares.
  8. Put the coconut in a bowl and set aside.
  9. Use forks to dip and turn a cake square into the chocolate icing to coat all sides. Allow excess icing to drip off, then place the square in the bowl with the coconut, turning it until it is completely covered. Place the square on a wire rack and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes to set. Repeat with all of the remaining squares.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Regine
  • Vivian Henoch
    Vivian Henoch
  • Jacqueline Bouchier
    Jacqueline Bouchier
  • RespectThePastry
  • Smaug

12 Reviews

beth September 27, 2021
I'm also from Cleveland and grew up loving these. Worked through high school at a bakery on the west side and ate more than my fair share. You can still get them at the W.25th Street Market which is a very interesting and fun place to go!
culture_connoisseur December 11, 2015
I must give this a try. They are my all time favorite when visiting Australia and I usually pack quite more than a few in my bags before leaving the country. Simple and delicious.
Regine December 3, 2015
The proportions for icing look like it will be too liquidy to harden. Am i wrong? I would expect icing on a lamington to harden so that when you hold one with fingers, fingers don't get sticky. I see it is 1 cup milk, 1/3 cup each butter and cocoa powder with 3 cups powdered sugar. I once made a Donna Hay lamington icing and it was so soupy. I heard Australian cup measurements differ from here in the US. Not sure this caused problem.
Vivian H. November 29, 2015
A huge hit! Made them for my amusement for a pastry tray for Thanksgiving. Cake stayed moist... Bars held together. One tip for best results: freeze the cake or refrigerate before dipping in chocolate. Use dried coconut, not sweetened (as recipe calls for).
Jacqueline B. August 31, 2015
Thank you for adding some Australian flavour to the site!
Cathy August 25, 2015
I was just in the process of making these and my cake didn't hold up :/
RespectThePastry August 18, 2015
@AntoniaJames we do have these in Cleveland and yes we call them Coconut Bars! In Cleveland the cake is usually chocolate as well and are mostly sold at ethnically Jewish bakeries. Sadly many of the bakeries selling these delightful treats are going out of business. I will have to compare this recipe to the one my grandmother gave me and see how it holds up to the Cleveland style tradition. I am sure they are yummy!
Vivian H. November 19, 2015
. . . another Clevelander here, in Detroit now where Coconut Bars are not to be found. Alas! They are/were my fav! Tempted to make them, but the comments here are a little sketchy. Two inch squares sounds a bit hard to handle; perhaps larger pieces.
Michelle L. March 3, 2020
Little Italy in Cleveland sells these. You can find them at Corbo's and Presti's. One of our favorites.
misca August 17, 2015
Ugh! These were a mess! Overly sweet and difficult to make. I cannot see how this won anything.
Smaug August 12, 2015
You could also bake this in a single 9x13 pan if you don't have 2 eights. I like the "2 pieces large egg"- it adds a certain ethnic flare to the whole thing.
AntoniaJames August 12, 2015
Like a Victoria sandwich made a whole lot better. Congrats! ;o) P.S. Don't they sell these in Cleveland, too? I think they call them "Coconut Bars," but it's been a few years since I've been there, so I may have gotten the name wrong. ;o)