There is schoolyard joy in a packet of supermarket sponge cake fingers dipped in chocolate and covered in desiccated coconut like wet feet in sand. But Sydney’s pastry standards are very high, so when you want your sweet treat to feel special, these are the patissiers going the extra mile when it comes to the humble lamington. Buy a box, put the kettle on and bask in some vintage Australiana snacking this summer.
Flour and Stone
Nadine Ingram’s lamingtons are famous. If you think that sponge cake is dry, you are about to eat your words along with this famous cake. The secret is that they dip the cake in panna cotta mix before rolling it in a thick layer of chocolate and a snowfall of coconut shards that are still tropical and chewy. In fact, the lamington is so popular you can get it year-round, and even order it in novelty sizes for birthday and wedding cakes.
The newcomer to the Sydney scene is making a buzz with their elaborate flavoured cakes. Given the time of year, they have a menu leaning hard on Australian native flavours, like macadamia and honey, Davidson plum and chocolate, chai and pepperberry or lemon myrtle lime bitters. Plus, they deliver, so you can order a box for your public holiday shindig.
In honour of this afternoon tea favourite, pastry chef and Textbook Patisserie owner John Ralley has dedicated his weekend croissant special to the lamington. Order by Friday Jan 22 for the jumbo version, or you can buy a regular sized snack made of chocolate pastry leaves wrapped around a fresh jam and cream filling and covered in coconut on Saturday Jan 23, Sunday Jan 24 and Tuesday Jan 26.
Sonoma brings out a lamington each year, and they would score top marks from the CWA for generosity of cream, freshness of cake and depth of chocolate coverage. This year they’ve added two new varieties to their cafe bakeries from Friday, so that in addition to the traditional jam and cream, you can get a tropical lamington made with Australian native ingredients, and a native one, heroing Kakadu plum.
Up north in Brookvale you can get a Luscious Kiki lamington on any given Friday or Saturday when the cafe is open. Other days you’ll find them in a range of Sydney cafés, typically in pride of place under a decorative glass cake dome. If you’re a bit jaded by the choc/raspberry/coconut trifecta you’ll love Kiki’s cakes, which eschew the traditional sponge core for things like chocolate mud cake, caramel cake and sour cream cake. They come in flavours like red velvet, salt caramel, double chocolate, and white chocolate and passionfruit.
This cake-loving café in Newtown has been riffing on the classic lamington each January for the last five years, creating 15 different twists on the classic cake, cream, jam, choc, coconut five-way. This year they're baking four different flavours, including a new Nutella lamington in honour of January 26.
For a Japanese remix of a classic Aussie bakery treat, order the matcha lamington from Oratnek, where the dark chocolate coating has been replaces by the smokey complexity of green tea.