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Lamingtons and Basic Butter Cake

Little butter cakes covered in rich chocolate icing and rolled in grated coconut

Basic Butter Cake

Follow this basic butter cake recipe and try a few variations such as the grated rind of an orange or lemon, sultanas or other dried fruit, chopped nuts and spices.


4 oz butter or margarine
3/4 cup (4 1/2 oz) castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs
2 cups (8 oz) self raising flour
pinch salt
1/2 cup milk


Brush two 8 inch sandwich tins with melted butter. Set oven temperature to moderate (350 degrees F/180 degrees C)

Cream shortening (butter or margarine) and sugar with vanilla until mixture is white, light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the lightly beaten eggs. If using an electric mixer add eggs one at a time and beat well after each.

Sift flour and salt three times and then fold into creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. When mixture is smooth pour into prepared tins. (Beating at this stage will cause tunnels through the cake).

Lightly smooth top and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a fine skewer will come out clean. Cool on wire racks. Fill and ice as liked.

Note: If making the cake in a deep 8 inch round or square tin you will need to bake it for 45-50 minutes.

Variations on the Basic Butter Cake

Lemon Cake
Add the grated rind of 1 lemon and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Omit vanilla.

Sultana Cake
Add 4-6 oz sultanas and 1 teaspoon allspice.

Seed Cake
Add 1 tablespoon caraway seeds to mixture and sprinkle extra teaspoon of seeds on top before baking.

Spice Cake
Sift 1 teaspoon allspice with the flour. Add 4 oz chopped dates or walnuts to the mixture.

Chocolate Cake
Add 2 oz unsweetened cocoa powder dissolved in a little milk.


The Cake

Make basic butter cake mixture following instructions above and spread into a greased 11×7 inch lamington tin and bake for 30-35 minutes in a moderate oven (350 degrees F/160 degrees C) until cooked. Cool on a wire rack then cut into small rectangles (size should be 1/2 single serving).

Dip each in thin chocolate icing and immediately roll in desiccated coconut.
Leave on rack to set.

Cook lamington mixture the day before required. The cakes will then not crumble when iced.

Thin Chocolate Icing


1 lb. icing sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 teaspoon butter
Few drops of vanilla
Desiccated coconut for rolling cakes in after icing


Sift sugar and cocoa powder into a basin. Add 4 tblsp boiling water, 1/2 teaspoon butter and a few drops of vanilla and stir until smooth and shiny. If icing sets stand bowl in hot water until icing thins down.