Lamingtons, what’s not to love? A light, vanilla sponge soaked in a rich chocolate sauce and tossed in shredded coconut – the lamington is the perfect afternoon treat. In honour of World Lamington Day on 21 July why don’t you make yourself a cuppa and join us in appreciating this humble yet delicious treat.

It’s a simple recipe, but as you know, simple is often the best! The lamington is a traditional Australian ‘delicacy’ and is popular the world over. In South Africa Lamingtons are so loved, they even have their own pet name Ystervarkies, which means hedgehogs. Whether you enjoy your lamington dressed (with jam and cream) or undressed, there’s no denying that this flavour combination is irresistible and also has the ability to transport most of us back to their childhood.

Lamingtons are easy and tasty to make and are perfect for afternoon tea. For World Lamington Day celebrated, we thought it poignant to ask the chefs at Guvon Academy to share their favourite lamington recipes with us.


Ystervarkies : Chef Karen Rossouw
I find them especially delightful to have with a cup of tea and a group of friends for that perfect tea time treat. You can use any cake, like a Madeira but try making your own, it’s so easy!

Sponge cake:
• 3 tablespoons oil
• 85 ml milk
• 3 jumbo eggs or 4 smallish eggs
• 250 ml sugar
• 375 ml flour
• 7 ml baking powder
• 2 ml salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla

• 180 ml boiling water
• 375 ml sugar
• ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
• pinch of salt
• 30 ml cocoa
• 7 ml butter
• 2 ml vanilla
• less than 200 gram coconut

Sponge cake:
1. Boil the milk and oil together. Allow to cool
2. Pre-heat oven to 180°C and grease or line a square baking tin sized 22 x 22 x 4cm.
3. Beat the eggs and sugar together until light and creamy. The mixture should be pale and thick.
4. Add the vanilla.
5. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt over the egg mixture.
6. Fold the milk-and-oil mixture and the flour mixture alternately into the egg and sugar mixture and mix gently.
7. Spoon batter into pan and ensure that the batter is evened out.
8. Bake for about 25 minutes until done.
9. Turn out and leave to cool down completely, preferable overnight (warm, oven-fresh cake crumbles too much), before cutting into squares that measure about 3 cm by 3 cm.

1. Mix the sugar, cocoa and boiling water in a saucepan.
2. Heat the mixture over medium heat to boiling point, while stirring continuously. Boil for 2 minutes.
3. Add butter. Turn heat down until it is just enough to keep the syrup warm.

To make the ystervarkies:
Dip the cake blocks into the syrup, leave to drip out for a few minutes on a wire rack and then roll the blocks in coconut.


Lamingtons: Chef Daleen Terblanche
The secret to a good lamington is the chocolate coating. You want the icing to soak into the sponge, so be generous when rolling / pouring the coating over the sponge

• 4 eggs
• 2 cups Castor sugar
• 1 cup oil
• 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
• 3 cups sifted flour
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1 cup milk
• 2 cups desiccated coconut (for the coating)
• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 2 cups icing sugar
• 1/3 cup cocoa powder (good quality)
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 1/2 cup hot milk

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
2. Whisk the sugar and eggs in a mixer until light and fluffy
3. Add the oil and vanilla essence and mix again.
4. Add the flour and baking powder to the mixture alternatively with the milk.
5. Pour the mixture into a rectangular, greased baking tin for 25-30 minutes at 180°
6. Allow to cool and then cut off any crusts. Now, cut the sponge into small squares, about 4cm x 4cm (the traditional size for a lamington).
7. Make the icing/coating
8. Working quickly, using a fork, dip the cake cubes into the chocolate mix and roll them around with the tines of the fork to completely coat.
9. Drain any excess mixture off the cakes then drop them in the coconut and roll them around lightly to coat evenly with coconut.
10. Set the cake cubes on the cooling rack placed over parchment paper to drain
11. Now roll each lamington in coconut. Enjoy!

To make Lamingtons with a twist, replace the chocolate coating with strawberry icing
Strawberry icing
• 30g unsalted butter
• 4 tablespoons strawberry jelly powder
• 300g icing sugar, sifted
To make the icing, place butter and jelly powder in a bowl, pour over 250ml boiling water and stir to dissolve butter. Sift in icing sugar, whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. Cut sponge into 12 squares, dip in the icing, and then roll in coconut.

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