The Lamington: The Quirky National Cake Of Australia

Australia's favorite dessert may be shrouded in mystery in regards to its true origin, but that doesn't stop the Land Down Under from celebrating its decadence each year. They love it so much that an official holiday was created for the beloved Lamington cake, which falls on July 21 in Australia. And, of course, we can't forget Australia Day on January 26, where Lamingtons are enjoyed as one of the nation's favorite staple foods.

You might be wondering what could be so iconic about it to warrant this cake its very own spot on the Australian calendar, and it involves three main ingredients that work just a little too perfectly together. This iconic little square of fluffy sponge cake is covered in a generous layer of chocolate before being coated with coconut flakes on all sides. Some versions of the country's national cake might be filled with cream or a fruity jam for an extra layer of flavor, according to Insider. It's a mouth-watering, insanely delicious dessert morsel that should be on every pastry enthusiast's must-try list.

There are many theories and stories surrounding the Lamington that leave us with more questions than answers, and a few curious truth-seekers have even published works that attempt to solve this sweet conundrum. Here are all the facts and the cold, hard maybes about where Australia's national cake came from.

Was the Lamington cake really created by accident?

The cake's namesake, Lord Lamington, was the governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901. The story begins at the start of the 20th century, when one of the governor's maids apparently had prepared a sponge cake for him to enjoy, except she dropped it into melted chocolate by mistake. Lord Lamington decided to turn his maid's happy accident into less of a sticky mess by covering the cake with coconut, and the mistake was evidently declared a resounding success (via Australian Lamingtons). Or was it? It's been recorded that Lord Lamington referred to the new dessert mishap as "those bloody poofy woolly biscuits," so he didn't seem to care for them that much.

However, others seemed to find the chocolate-coconut treat to be tasty enough to publish its recipe in the monthly newspaper "Queensland Country Life" in 1900. The governor also had a French chef by the name of Armand Galland who has also been credited with the Lamington's original creation (via Australian Food Timeline). Galland is said to have served the cake to guests, with his French Tahitian wife possibly helping to introduce a highly uncommon ingredient, coconut, to the recipe.

New Zealand and Scotland have both laid claims to the cake's invention, and some sources say it could have been named after certain villages in the U.K. that share similar names to "Lamington." Whatever its true origin story may be, the Lamington cake has existed for over a century, becoming an Australian culinary legend along the way.