Lamington Layer Cake

Lamington Layer Cake via http://underthebluegumtree.comDuring the long and fairly drawn-out process of relocating from Johannesburg to Cape Town, I committed what is probably a fairly cardinal sin when you write a food blog. I BOUGHT cake. From the supermarket. Complete with plastic wrapping and everything. *ashamed face*

To be fair to Woolworths, who were the purveyor of said cake, their double chocolate lamingtons are actually really tasty. So much so that they inspired me to bake some myself using this Dan Lepard recipe.

So good were the results of Dan’s lamingtons that, in turn, they spurred me on to make this cake. Tray bakes and the like are all well and good but when it comes to cake, you really can’t beat a big, proper statuesque layer cake.

Honest to goodness, this probably makes the best chocolate sponge I have ever tasted. It’s super moist with a dense yet crumbly crumb and rich with cocoa and chocolate.

In a nod to the original lamington recipe, I filled my cake with a coconut buttercream and used an adaptation of Dan’s chocolate icing to glaze the top, finished with a scattering of coconut. But you could use any filling/topping you like.

This is my entry into this month’s Tea Time Treats challenge (co-hosted by Lavender and Lovage and What Kate Baked) as the theme is layer cakes.

Lamington Layer Cake (adapted and inspired by this Dan Lepard recipe)

  • Lamington Layer Cake via http://underthebluegumtree.com225g caster sugar
  • 35g cocoa
  • 60ml milk
  • 35g unsalted butter, melted
  • 35g dark chocolate, melted
  • 35ml canola or rapeseed oil
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 75ml low-fat natural yoghurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste
  • 135g plain flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder

For the coconut buttercream:

  • 100g butter, at room temperature
  • 240g icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp coconut cream

For the chocolate icing:

  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 65g dark chocolate, melted
  • 150g icing sugar

To finish:

  • 2 tbsp raspberry jam
  • 1 tbsp desiccated coconut

1.  Grease and line the bases of two 20cm cake tins. Preheat the oven to 170C (150C fan).

2.  To make the sponge, mix the sugar and cocoa with the milk. Stir in the melted butter and chocolate then mix in the oil. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the yoghurt and vanilla paste and then mix in the flour and baking powder.

3.  Divide the mixture between the tins and cover each with a domed sheet of greased foil.* Bake for 40 minutes then remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes. Cool in the tins.

4.  To make the coconut buttercream, beat the butter until soft and creamy then gradually add the icing sugar, mixing thoroughly. Stir in the coconut cream and beat until the icing is soft and fluffy.

5.  To make the chocolate icing, stir the cocoa and milk together then add the boiling water. Mix in the melted chocolate and then the icing sugar, stirring until smooth.

6.  Remove the cakes from their tins and spread one with a thin layer of raspberry jam. Top this with the coconut buttercream then place the other cake tier on top. Beat the chocolate icing thoroughly to ensure it is smooth (it will probably have started to set a little at this point) and pour on top of the cake. Spread the icing with a spatula to create an even layer then sprinkle with the desiccated coconut.

*TIP: Cooking the cakes under foil traps the steam inside, helping them rise more evenly. However, it is important that the foil does not touch the cake batter as it rises in the oven. To prevent this from happening, place each sandwich tin containing the batter inside a larger, taller tin such as a springform cake tin and cover the whole lot with foil.


    • The method works so well and keeps the cake really moist. I found it needs that last 10 minutes of baking without the foil though just to dry out the edges a little so the cake comes away easier from the sides of the tin.

  1. This really does look like an exceptional chocolate cake, and really versatile to use with different flavours and fillings. I love the foil tip too, that’s a really good idea.

    • Thanks so much. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be to convert Dan’s recipe into a layer cake and it took 4 goes before I was happy. I only persisted because it really is a fabulous sponge. It will definitely be my go to chocolate cake from now on.

  2. I’ve tried something similar with foil when cooking small sponge puddings in a bain marie in the oven. Never thought of using foil to cover a cake though to keep it moist, usually foil only makes an appearance when the top is browning too fast. Thanks for the tip and the cake looks amazing as well🙂

  3. ohlidia

    I remember traveling in the outback of Australia and having Lamingtons with our tea. I absolutely loved them! I will try this cake and feel the nostalgia of that beautiful country,

  4. Hmm, I wouldn’t beat yourself up about buying cake! Some days you just need cake and they are often the days when you are up against it and haven’t got the time or energy yourself! Your cake does look delicious though!

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