Glamingtons – Australia Day Lamingtons

Happy Australia Day!

Margaret Fulton – who is our grand dame of cuisine Down Under – reckons that this popular Australian cake was thought to have first been made for a tea party for Lord Lamington, who served as Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901. Over the years Margaret judged a lot of lamington competitions and they seemed to be getting bigger and bigger. The lamingtons she was most familiar with were always small and dainty. Years ago she appeared on a television show with Barry Humphries and made some lamingtons for him. When she gave them to him she then curtseyed and even he couldn’t stop laughing!!

Isn’t this just such a fabulous tale?

Image Source

Now, the Margaret Fulton Cookbook  (yep, the yellow one) is the first cookbook I ever bought myself as a child. It was $4 in the Myer Melbourne bargain basement and I cherish the stained pages to this day.

Here’s a recipe I have whipped up that I doubt would thrill Barry’s alter ego Edna Everage as it is not as light and fluffy as the lamingtons she would know. I’m deeply fond of Edna for so many reasons that I know I share with many Aussies. The most special reason is that she kinda resembles my maternal grandmother Evie, who was a fabulous cook and my first great cooking teacher. Evie happened to live next door to Barry Humphries in Camberwell in the 70s and always talked up the fact that she may have been Barry’s inspiration for Edna! Part of this is probably true.

So that’s my grandmother Evie below with my dad Dennis at his 60th birthday and the launch of Gowings Grace Darling Hotel in November 1990. My dad was in remission from cancer and still undergoing chemo at the time. The late great Melbourne society photographer Rennie Ellis took this pic unbeknown to me until I stumbled upon it searching for image of my dad for my book The Healing Feeling. The photo is part of the Rennie Ellis Collection at the State Library of Victoria – so you can only imagine my joy of seeing it online just last year.


Dennis & Evie

Back to the Glamingtons…

For the cake

2 cups coconut flour
2 teaspoons aluminium free, gluten free baking powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
4 large eggs
½ cup organic butter, room temperature
¾ cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean, scraped
2/3 cup of almond milk
Coconut oil, melted for greasing

Cake preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C.
  2. Lightly grease 2 silicone square mould trays  with coconut oil. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl cream the butter, coconut sugar mixture together until pale & fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time to the butter/sugar mixture.
  6. Beat well after adding each egg.
  7. Add the vanilla to the mixture and mix well to combine.
  8. Add the coconut flour mixture and almond milk.
    *Note that this will now resemble breadcrumbs rather than a batter
  9. Bake for about 30 minutes.
  10.  Test the centre of each cakes with a toothpick and make sure each comes out clean.
  11. Cool the cakes in the tin for about 5 minutes and then invert them onto a wire rack to cool.
  12. Once the cakes have cooled, place them in an airtight container.
  13. Place the container in the fridge for at least 2 hours or even overnight.

For the cacao coconut icing
1 cup cacao butter, melted
¾ cup coconut nectar
1½ cups cacao powder
1 tablespoon gluten free icing sugar *optional
Pinch of sea salt
Desiccated coconut for rolling

  1. Stir the cacao butter, coconut nectar and salt together in a glass or metal bowl over a larger pot of hot water.
  2. Slowly add the cacao powder and icing sugar (if using) and stir or whisk gently until smooth.

    *Note: Make sure the mixture remains warm while mixing, otherwise it will solidify.

To assemble the Glamingtons

  1. Place the cake pieces on the racks.
  2. Have the sugar chocolate icing and desiccated coconut ready.
  3. Quickly coat the individual coconut cakes on each sides in the icing mixture.
  4. Then gently roll the cake in the coconut.
  5. Repeat the process.
  6. Store the glamingtons in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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