Cherry Filled Lamingtons are my version of an Australian classic dessert. Light buttery sponge squares filled with home-made cherry jam, dipped in chocolate icing and rolled in desiccated coconut. They’re the perfect afternoon treat at home or on the go.
Before living in Australia I’d never eaten a Lamington. I don’t think I’d ever heard of one actually. But early on into my back packing days with my bestie, I soon began to notice these coconut coated sponge cake squares that lined every pastry shop counter.
Over the next 15 years of living in Sydney, I ate my fair share of Lamingtons. Some being the traditional option of keep the sponge plain, whilst others were filled with a juicy layer of strawberry jam or whipped cream. All variations are typically coated in a thin chocolate icing and then rolled in desiccated coconut.
It was only after my girls entered primary school that I started making these national delicacies. I learnt that Lamingtons on the school fair cake stall was as expected as strawberries and cream at Wimbledon! So I began my forays in the kitchen and these have soon become one of my kids favourite afternoon tea time snacks.
How to make Cherry Filled Lamingtons
Are you wondering how you fill these sponge cakes and get them so perfectly coated. It’s not as hard as it may appear. Here are some of my tips.
- First is baking your cake sponge. It has to have the right consistency to be able to cut cleanly into squares as if it’s too crumbly it’ll fall into pieces when you come to cut it, disastrous! An even safer bet is to make the cake the day before and refrigerate the sponge tightly wrapped in cling film.
- Once the cake sponge has cooled completely, cut the edges off the cake, then cut the sponge in half horizontally. Use a serrated knife to do this with a gentle sawing action.
- Next spoon cherry jam onto the bottom half of the sponge cake. Spread right to the edges. Sandwich with the remaining sponge and cut into squares.
- Make the chocolate icing in a large bowl. Using two forks, dip the sponge square into the chocolate icing turning it over on all sides until fully coated. TIP Don’t over soak in the mixture otherwise the sponge will go soggy.
- Then immediately roll in the plate of coconut to coat completely. Now set to one side for twenty minutes or so for the chocolate to set ... or eat straight away!
Other filling options
Ok so you could go for a plain Lamington which as mentioned earlier is the more traditional type. However, if you don’t fancy filling them with cherry jam then try these alternatives.
- Whipped cream and strawberry jam
- Dulche de leche
- Chocolate ganache
How to store Lamingtons
I find that Lamingtons can keep quite well because of the chocolate coating around the sponge.
If making them for a gathering, get ahead and make the sponge a couple of days in advance and store in an airtight container.
Once filled, store in the fridge. 30 minutes before serving, remove from the fridge to thaw to room temperature
Unfilled Lamingtons freeze for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe, air tight container. Thaw at room temperature and fill before serving.
For more afternoon tea options check out some of my recipes:
Chocolate Cherry Brownies. Recipe found here.
Browned Butter White Chocolate Blondies. Recipe found here.
Chocolate Raspberry Crumble Bars. Recipe found here.
Cherry Filled Lamingtons
- 250 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 330 g caster sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 375 g plain flour (all-purpose), sifted
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
- 240 ml whole milk
- 350 g fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
- 220 g caster sugar
- 1 lemon, juiced and zest
- For the icing
- 35 g cocoa powder
- 180 ml water, boiling
- 60 g unsalted butter, melted
- 100 g desiccated coconut
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease with butter and line the base and side of a 21cm (8-inch) square baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium for 5 minutes until pale and creamy.
- Add the vanilla extract and then the eggs one at a tome beating between each addition until combined. If they start to curdle, add a tablespoon or two of flour and the mixture will come back together again. Scrap down the base and sides of the bowl.
- Sift the baking powder into the flour and then alternating, add the milk and flour to the butter mixture, mixing well between each addition.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan and place in the oven. Bake for 25-35 mins until a skewer comes out clean. The cake should spring back when lightly touched in the centre. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin on a wire rack covered with a tea towel.
- Whilst the cake is cooking, start on the cherry jam. Put two saucers in the freezer for testing the cherry jam later on. Tip the cherries, sugar and lemon juice into a large, heavy-based saucepan and simmer uncovered over a medium-high heat for 35-50 mins, stirring frequently until thick and glossy.
- After simmering the fruit for about 35 minutes, add a small spoonful of jam to the saucer, then return it to the freezer for another couple minutes. When it’s cooked just right, the jam should wrinkle a little bit when nudged with your finger. If it doesn’t, cook for another ten minutes and try again. This recipe makes more jam than needed for the lamingtons. Spoon ¾ cup of jam into a bowl and set aside for the lamingtons. Spoon the remaining jam into sterilised jars and seal.
- To make the icing, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and stir until smooth.
- Once the cake and jam are cool then cut the edges off the cake and cut the cake slab into half horizontally. Spoon cherry jam in an even layer onto the bottom sponge layer of the sponge and spread all the way to the edges. Then place the top sponge layer onto the jam and sandwich together pressing gently. Place the cake onto a baking paper lined tray and refrigerate for 15 minutes or until firm.
- Remove the cake from the fridge and cut into squares. Using two forks to hold a square, dip the cake into the chocolate icing to coat all sides and then roll in the desiccated coconut and place on a plate.. Set aside for 20 mins for the icing to set or dig right in straight away.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.