Aussie Lamingtons.... or are they?
For decades there has been a strong antipodean debate whether the Pavlova was invented in New Zealand or Australia. I have always been reluctant to fight over this as I'm not 100% convinced either way. Not the Lamington though. That is as Aussie as me!
If you are not familiar with these little squares of deliciousness than let me share. Imagine a fluffy square piece of sponge cake rolled in chocolate icing and then rolled lightly in desiccated coconut. If you want to get fancy, you can put a thin slice of strawberry jam in the middle.
Now there are a number of stories how these little cakes came to be. One I particularly like is that is was invented as a way to disguise old sponge cake, something a maid stumbled on when she accidentally dropped it into some chocolate icing and decided to roll it in coconut to avoid chocolate fingers. Most seriously it was named after Lord Lamington who served as governor of Queensland between 1896-1901. Apparently he wore a box hat and that is how the little cakes became square. The first recipe was published in the Queensland country newspaper in 1902.
Imagine my shock and horror to have recently discovered that those audacious kiwis are now trying to claim the Lamington?!
Alas, just like the Pavlova the Kiwis claim that they had invented it first and was it not called a Lamington, but a Wellington Cake "a double sponge dessert, dressed in shavings of coconut intended to imitate the snow-capped mountains of New Zealand.” Apparently, records show of a visit Lord Lamington undertook to Wellington in 1895, before beginning in his tenure as Queensland governor. What is worse is that there is a watercolour painting called "Summer Pantry" dated 1888, with a partially eaten Lamington cake overlooking Wellington Harbour.
Will Australia day ever be the same? Is this now called the new Anzac Cake? I think I'm going to cry into some fresh baked lamingtons.