12 classic Australian food you must try before you die

Ask a room full of people what they like in dessert and you’re bound to hear some common responses: Cake! chocolate! or “Anything coconut!” Well, Lamingtons—Australia’s national cake—combines the best of all favorites into one unique flavor sensation: light, fluffy squares of vanilla-flavored sponge cake covered in a thick layer of chocolate cream then rolled in crunchy, nutty slivers of desiccated coconut.

With a flavor profile like that, it’s no wonder this popular dessert is adored by Australians of all ages and backgrounds. Well, with one exception. In a truly ironic twist, the man for whom the cakes were made and named—Lord Charles Lamington—is said to have hated them, calling them “those bloody woolly biscuits.”

Lord Lamington served as Governor of Queensland, an Australian state covering the northeastern corner of the continent, from 1896 to 1901. As a leading story detailing Lamington’s history, one of the Lord’s chefs accidentally dropped a piece of sponge cake. They were prepared in a bowl of chocolate icing. To cover the mistake, the chef topped the now chocolate covered brownie with desiccated coconut…and the rest is history. Lamington was born!

Today, Lamingtons are so popular that they are not only made daily in countless bakeries across the country, but have also inspired the creation of Lamington-flavored ice cream, Lamington cakes, and even Lamington-flavored beer.