Australia Day… Celebrate Aussie Style

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On January 26th, Australia will celebrate its 222nd birthday.

In terms of world history, Australia is still just a teenager trying to figure out who it wants to be in adulthood. In the 18th century, while America was drafting the Declaration of Independence, Australia had only just been settled by the British Empire  for use (mostly) as a penal colony. Which is why they say that if you come across an Aussie, you should keep an eye on your wallet.

(Okay, I’m kidding about that part.)

So the question remains, how does such a young country celebrate its anniversary?

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the reputation Aussies have for their relaxed and laid-back approach to life, and our anniversary celebrations are usually consistent with this reputation. Being that the holiday occurs during the peak of our summer, Aussies typically gather with family and friends in backyards, parks and beaches for the almighty barbeque. But instead of Paul Hogan’s ‘shrimp on the barbie’ (by the way, we call them prawns over here), we enjoy sausages, lamb chops and steaks (okay, there will probably be a few prawns too), as well as the extremely Aussie traditions of pavlova and lamington cakes.

And of course, no Aussie ‘barbie’ would be complete without beer!

While most of the BakeSpace faithful are braving the cold in the Northern hemisphere, there’s no reason that you can’t join in the Australia Day fun by making a delightful lamington.  Lamingtons can get pretty fancy, but here’s a nice basic recipe for anyone who feels like indulging in chocolate & cake in one hit!

Basic Lamington Recipe

Sponge Cake Ingredients:

6 eggs
150g or 1 1/4c caster sugar
200g/7oz  self-raising flour
30g/1oz butter, melted and cooled
3 tbsp hot water

Chocolate Icing Ingredients:

300g or 1 1/2c pure icing sugar
200g or 7oz dark chocolate, chopped
15g or .5oz unsalted butter
125mL or 4.5 oz milk

375g or 13 oz dessicated coconut, to coat (Desiccated Coconut is sweetened dried coconut shreds.)


Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and lightly grease and line the base of an 18cm x 28cm tin with baking paper.

To make the cake, beat the eggs for about 5 mins with an electric beater until  light and fluffy, then gradually add the sugar and continue to beat till the mixture is thick and the sugar has dissolved.

Sift in the flour and fold in lightly, then add the butter and water and stir gently to combine

Pour into the tin and bake for 30 mins or until lightly golden on top and a skewer comes out clean (be sure not to over bake!)

To make the chocolate icing, put sugar, dark chocolate, butter and milk into a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir till melted and well combined.

Cut the cooled sponge into 16 squares (or however many float your boat) and pour the coconut into a bowl.

Skewer each sponge with a fork and coat with the chocolate (making sure it’s completely covered), then let the excess drip off before tossing through the coconut and placing on baking paper to dry.

Ever been to Australia or have plans to go? Share your thoughts below… we’d love to hear from you!

The eldest of three children, I was born in South Korea and immigrated to Australia with my parents at the age of 4. Having grown up mostly in Australia (with a brief 2 year stay in Korea when I was 14 – 16), I’ve grown up in a strange hybrid existence of Korean and Australian attitudes and mentalities, which very much crosses over into fields such as my cooking – I love my kimbap just as much as I do a good chicken parma or pavlova!