National Lamington Day in Australia Date in the current year: July 21, 2024

National Lamington Day in Australia The majority of popular food-related holidays originated in the United States, but there are exception to this rule. For example, National Lamington Day, sometimes referred to as International Lamington Day or World Lamington Day, is celebrated in Australia in honor of the country’s iconic dessert.

lamington is a classic Australian cake that consists of squares of sponge cake or butter cake that are coated in chocolate sauce and rolled in desiccated coconut. The dessert is then left to set so that the outside of the cake absorbs some of the chocolate and acquires a distinctive texture. Sometimes a layer of strawberry jam or cream is added between two squares of cake.

It is generally agreed that the dessert was named after either Charles Cochrane-Baillie, 2nd Baron Lamington, who served as Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901, or his wife Lady Lamington. The first mention of the dessert that links the cake to Lord and Lady Lamington dates to 1927; there are earlier mentions, the first of which dates to 1896, but none of them indicate the origin for the name of the cake nor its creator.

The exact origin of the lamington is unclear. Most sources, including Lady Lamington’s memoirs, credit the invention of the dessert to Lord Lamington’s chef Arman Galland. One day, Galland was asked to feed unexpected guests at short notice and had a limited supply of ingredients at hand. Working with what little he had available, Galland cut some leftover sponge cake into squares, dipped them in chocolate, and rolled them in coconut. Coconut wasn’t a widely used cooking ingredient in Europe back then, but Galland’s wife was from Tahiti, so he knew how to use it.

What different versions do not agree upon is where the lamington was first served. One account claims that it happened in Toowoomba, where Lord Lamington and his entourage spent the summer away from Brisbane’s steamy heat. According to another account, the lamington was first served at Government House around 1900. However, the latter account doesn’t look particularly credible considering that, as we’ve said above, the lamington cake was first mentioned in 1896.

In 2014, Guardian Australia published a story claiming that the cake, originally named the wellington, was invented in New Zealand in the late 19th century. However, the story turned out an April Fools’ Day hoax. Since then, some sources have repeated the false origin story, not realizing it was a joke.

Today, the lamington is a beloved dessert in Australia and New Zealand, where raspberry lamingtons are popular. During the Q150 celebrations in Queensland, the lamington was included on the state’s list of cultural icons under the section titled “Innovations and Inventions”, alongside inventions such as the Dingo Fence, HPV vaccine, and Nobel Prize-winning immune system research.

Australians have been celebrating National Lamington Day every July 21 since 2006. The best way to observe the holiday is, of course, to treat yourself to a piece or two of this delicious sake that is not as hard to make as you might think. And don’t forget to spread the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtag #NaitonalLamingtonDay.

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