• Pandan lamingtons (China Squirrel)Source: China Squirrel

Who doesn't love a lamington? Here’s a colourful variation on the great Aussie classic. For best success, the cake should be day old so it absorbs the icing better; make it the day before you need it.  (You can even use a store-bought one for ease).  






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (37 votes)


  • 150 g (1 cup) plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 30 g (¼ cup) cornflour
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 150 g (¾ cup) caster sugar
  • 25 g softened butter, chopped
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) boiling water
  • 1 tbsp clear pandan extract
  • 315 g (3 ½ cups) desiccated coconut, toasted (see Note)

 For the pandan custard (optional)

  • 5 pandan leaves, finely chopped
  • 100 ml milk
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 35 g caster sugar
  • ¾ tbsp cornflour

 For the icing

  • 12 pandan leaves, finely chopped
  • 180 ml (¾ cup) water
  • 500 g (4 cups) icing sugar mixture, sifted
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • green food colouring, optional

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time overnight

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Lightly grease and flour a 16 x 26 cm (base measurement) lamington pan and line the base with baking paper. Sift the flour, baking powder and cornflour three times and set aside. Using electric beaters, whisk the eggs and sugar for 8 minutes or until very thick and pale and the mixture leaves a trail when the whisk is lifted. Transfer the mixture to a large, wide bowl.

Meanwhile, combine the butter and boiling water in a small bowl. Sift the flour mixture evenly over the egg mixture then, using a large metal spoon, fold it in, taking care not to deflate the egg mixture too much. Quickly fold in the hot butter mixture and pandan extract then pour the mixture into the prepared tin, smoothing the surface even.

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and pulling away from the sides of the tin. Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap then stand overnight.

Using a large, serrated knife, trim the edges of the cake even then cut it into 12 even-sized pieces.

For the pandan custard (see Note), combine the pandan leaves and milk in a food processor or blender. Process until the pandan leaves are chopped to a fine mulch and the milk is green. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Heat the liquid in a saucepan over medium until nearly simmering.

Combine the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisking the milk constantly, slowly add the egg mixture to the pan then cook, whisking, for 2 minutes or until it boils and becomes very thick. Transfer to a bowl, cover the surface to prevent a skin forming then cool.

For the icing, combine the pandan leaves and water in a food processor or blender and process until the leaves are chopped to a fine mulch and the liquid is green. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.  Discard the solids. Place the liquid in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.

Place the icing sugar in a bowl, add 125 ml (½ cup) of the pandan liquid and the butter and stir until a smooth icing forms. It should have a creamy, coating consistency - add a little of any remaining pandan liquid or some hot water if it is too thick and a little more icing sugar if it becomes too thin. Tint it a darker green with a little food colouring if desired.

Place the coconut in a large bowl. Using a serrated knife, cut each piece of cake in half horizontally, spread one half with a scant tablespoon of the custard then sandwich with the remaining half. You may not use all the custard. ( ALOT of custard is left.. not sure this is a good thing.. perhaps reduce ingredients by ½ or give ideas of how to use?) Working with one piece of sandwiched cake at a time, place each piece in the icing, base side down. Use a spoon to coat it all over with the icing. Carefully lift it up, allowing excess icing to run off, then transfer to the coconut in the bowl. Gently turn to coat, pressing the coconut into the surface of the cake so it is covered.

Place on a tray then refrigerate and stand for 30 minutes or until the icing has set, then serve.

These are best iced within three hours of serving.



• Spread the coconut onto a baking sheet and toast in your oven or grill until it just starts to brown, roughly 10 minutes at 160°C.

• The quantity of custard here is more than you'll need to fill the lamingtons but it's tricky to make in smaller quantities. The silver lining? Left over custard that's PERFECT with grilled (or just sliced) banana. These also work perfectly well without the custard and if you want to use untoasted coconut, that’s also completely fine. 


Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel. 


This recipe is part of our 10 ways with pandan column. View previous 10 ways with… columns and recipes