The Lamington is a chocolate and coconut covered sponge cake of which all Australians should be rightly proud. However it is not named after an Australian. Like all good things on God's earth, particularly sweet and buttery things, it has a Scottish connection.
Lamington is a small Scottish village in South Lanarkshire. It is said to be the home of Marion Braidfute, wife of William Wallace. William Wallace was once thought of as a Scottish freedom fighter but was was found in the 1980s actually to be an Australian actor with a bad accent.
So, might Mrs Wallace have been a keen member of the baking section of the Lanarkshire WRI who developed this delicacy to keep her man well fed while he hounded the English out of Scotland's borders? Historians are not convinced. 'You may take our lives but you'll never take our Lamingtons' - it doesn't really carry the ring that would echo down the centuries. Besides, Mrs Wallace's attempts to make the cake would have been severely frustrated by the failure of the 13th Century Scottish supermarket to offer sugar, coconut and chocolate to their customers. Life must have been tough.
|The Rt Hon |
The Lord Lamington
Lord Lamington himself was a ferociously conservative governor at a time that Australia was forming itself into something like its present Federation. He saw reds and republicans under every bed. But he was not exceptional in that stance and as a group the Governors did not endear themselves to the population. But at least he had the cake. So much so that republican politicians in Australia claim that extensive research had identified the Lamington as the solitary positive achievement of any Governor since the First Fleet arrived in 1788.
His Lordship was not particularly fond of the cake he gave his name to and, showing a decidedly Australian turn of phrase for one of his background, is reported to have described the cakes as 'those bloody poofy woolly biscuits.'
|Ranjit - |
a true prince and a princely bat
It is not known whether the Prince shared his host's view of the Lamington. If he did sample the confection while at Governor's House it did him no harm. A fortnight later in the First Test at Sydney he scored his highest Test innings of 175 in England's only victory of the series. They ended up on the wrong end of a 4-1 drubbing. Did the newly popular Lamington play any part in the Australian team's success? FB would not be surprised.