Is Our Famous Cake Really a New Zealander!

The Lamington was invented in New Zealand, new research proves apparently, ‘beyond doubt’

This watercolour painting shows the coconut covered cake is not really Australian and is only an imitation of the earlier ‘Wellington’!
Lamington
The 19th century watercolour painting by JR Smyth that University of Auckland researchers say shows a ‘Wellington’ cake (circled).
Photograph: University of Auckland

Reported in the Guardian Australian today, is the shocking story that the Lamington, Australia’s famed dessert, was actually invented in New Zealand and originally named a “Wellington”.  New research published by the University of Auckland says that fresh analysis of a collection of 19th-century watercolours by the New Zealand landscape artist JR Smythe, shows that in one portrait, “Summer Pantry” dated 1888, a partially eaten Lamington cake is clearly visible on the counter of a cottage overlooking Wellington Harbour.

As the Guardian further reports, “The first known reference to a Lamington before this, was a recipe published in 1902 in the Queensland Country Life newspaper. Historians had believed the Lamington was named after Lord Lamington who served as governor of Queensland between 1896-1901.”

But experts at the University of Auckland have examined archives which show records of a visit Lord Lamington took to Wellington in 1895, before beginning his tenure as governor of Queensland.

According to a New Zealand Herald of the era in a news report of the visit, “Lamington was “much taken with the local sweets provided him by local bakers A.R. Levin.”

Among those sweets, the article states, was a “Wellington – a double sponge dessert, dressed in shavings of coconut intended to imitate the snow capped mountains of New Zealand.”Lamingtons

Dr Arun Silva of the centre for academic knowledge, excellence and study at the University of Auckland, said the news clipping and Smythe watercolour made it “inconceivable” that the Lamington was an Australian invention.

“What we have here is conclusive evidence that the Lamington cake was in fact a product of New Zealand. The documentation of Lamington’s visit and the pictorial evidence in the watercolour prove it without a doubt.

“I wouldn’t exactly say it was a rewriting of history, more a realisation that our culinary past is much more entangled than we’d previously believed,” Silva said.

Silva, an expert in food history, said the dramatic discovery was likely to blow up further debate around whether it was Australia or New Zealand who invented the Pavlova “out of the sky”.

Source: The Guardian Australia

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