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Bennelong’s cherry jam lamington recipe

Peter Gilmore's lamington is the cherry on the cake of the Bennelong menu and now you can make it at home

No Australian dessert is more iconic than the lamington – the spongey coconut delight that has improved Australian pantries for a century. Multi-hatted chef Peter Gilmore's Bennelong cherry jam lamington, though, is in a league of its own. A deconstructed delight, it has elegantly reimagined the classic dish as a lush ice cream cake surrounded by delectable coconut flakes.

And now, you can recreate Gilmore's pièce de résistance at home. Do you dare to try your hand at the luscious cherry jam lamington?

A black-pink dessert surround by white petals.
Image: Nikki To

Cherry Jam Lamington

By Peter Gilmore
Serves 4

Lamington sponge

  • 4 eggs
  • 112g caster sugar
  • 112g plain flour (sifted)
  • Canola oil spray
  • Cherry ice-cream
  • 350g morello cherry juice
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g egg yolk
  • 150g pure cream

Cherry jam

  • 275g morello cherry jam
  • 110g preserved wild cherries
  • Coconut cream base
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 1kg milk
  • 1kg pure cream
  • 1kg coconut milk powder

Frozen coconut shavings

  • 550g coconut cream base
  • 275g double cream
  • Whipped coconut cream
  • 500g coconut cream base
  • 250g double cream

Chocolate glaze

  • 250g sugar
  • 250g water
  • 100ml cream
  • 100g cocoa powder
  • 50g 66% caraibe chocolate
  • 3 gelatine leaves (titanium)

Soft ganache

  • 200g 64% manjari chocolate
  • 200g 70% amedei chocolate
  • 425g pure cream
  • 75g unsalted butter (room temperature)


Preheat oven to 160°C. Turn on ice cream machine to chill.

For the lamington sponge

Lightly spray a ¼ sized gastro tray with canola oil spray, then line with baking paper.

Place eggs and sugar into a stand up mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and whisk until light and fluffy. Fold in sifted flour then pour out mixture into the lined gastro tray.

Place the tin into the oven and bake until lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Once lightly golden, remove from oven and set aside on bench, still in the gastro tray, and rest for 20 minutes.

Once rested, turn out sponge cake onto a cooling rack and set aside on bench to cool completely until required.

For the cherry ice-cream

Strain juice through a fine sieve and measure out 150g of the strained juice into a medium sized saucepan. Bring to the boil. Measure out remaining 200g of the strained juice into a separate bowl and set aside until required.

Meanwhile, place egg yolks and sugar into a medium sized bowl and whisk together until pale and creamy. Whisk boiling strained juice into the egg and sugar mixture, and place over a pot of boiling water. Whisk until mixture reaches 80-85°C, then place straight over and ice bath and whisk until mixture cools to at least 8°C.

Once temperature has come down to 8°C, whisk in cream and remaining 200ml of strained cherry juice. Pass through a fine chinois and transfer to the ice cream machine. Churn until set.

Once set, transfer ice cream mixture to a 1/6 gastro tray and cover with a square of go-between. Place in freezer until required.

For the cherry jam

Strain cherries and remove stones. Set the pitted cherries aside in a bowl and discard liquid. Place cherry jam into a small saucepan over low heat and gently bring it to the boil. Once boiling, add pitted wild cherries and simmer, gently stirring for one minute.

Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once cooled, transfer to clean bowl and set aside in the fridge until required.

For the coconut cream base

Place milk, cream, and sugar into a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring gently.

Place coconut milk powder into a bowl. Once milk and cream mixture is boiling, pour onto coconut powder and whisk well until smooth. Pass mixture through a chinois into a clear bowl, and set over an ice bath to cool down to 3°C.

Measure out 500g of coconut cream base into a clean bowl for the whipped coconut cream and set aside in the fridge until required.

Measure out 550g of coconut cream base into a separate bowl for the Frozen Shavings and set aside in the fridge until required.

For the frozen shavings

Line a ½ sized gastronome tray with baking paper.

Add double cream to the coconut cream base and place into a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk until soft peaks form. Pour 820g of the mixture into prepared gastronome tray and level off with an offset metal palet knife. Place into the blast freezer until firm.

Once firm, turn out frozen coconut block from tray and cut into 4 even sized blocks. Wrap blocks individually in baking paper and set aside in freezer until required.

For the whipped coconut cream

Add double cream to reserved coconut cream base and place into a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk until just stiff peak stage. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside in fridge until required.

For the chocolate glaze

Start by placing gelatine in a bowl of iced water to soften.

Half fill a small saucepan with water and bring to the boil.

Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer. Place chocolate into a medium heatproof bowl and place over the saucepan of simmering water until melted completely. Keep warm until required.

Meanwhile, bring sugar, cream, water, and cocoa powder to the boil. Whisk well and simmer for 1 minute. Strain liquid, add melted chocolate and gelatine. Once incorporated, strain again and keep at room temperature.

For the soft ganache

Combine chopped Amedei and Manjari chocolate in a medium sized bowl.

Bring cream to the boil, then immediately pour over the chocolate. Stir until smooth and set aside until the ganache reaches 36°C.

Once the the chocolate mixture has reached temperature, add butter a little at a time, blending well after each addition with a stick blender. Continue adding butter until ganache is fully emulsified and shiny, being careful not to incorporate too much air after each addition. Transfer into a piping bag and set aside on a cool bench until required.

To assemble: 

To finish the frozen shavings, first sit a mandolin flat across an insulated steel bowl of liquid nitrogen. Take a frozen coconut block out of the freezer and shave the longest side using even pressure. Ensure the shavings are thin and submerged in the liquid nitrogen.

To produce the lamington mixture, trim crusts off the lamington sponge. Tear the fluffy inside into small morsels. Pick 8 pieces and place in a small bowl. Take one heaped tablespoon of cherry jam and dot over the morsels of sponge cake in the bowl ensuring the jam is evenly distributed. Pipe 8 small mounds of soft ganache, roughly the same quantity as jam, and distribute evenly inside the bowl. Add 2 ½ heaped tablespoons of the whipped coconut cream to the bowl and gently fold ingredients together to roughly combine all ingredients. The mix should be a single mass, but each ingredient should still be clearly identifiable in the mixture. Do not over mix.

Place square mould into serving bowl, and fill half way with lamington mixture.

Using a 35ml ice-cream scoop, scoop a ball of cherry ice-cream out and drop into liquid nitrogen for 20 seconds. Remove from nitrogen and but the ball of cherry ice cream into the square mould. Fill the square mould with remaining lamington mixture, completely encasing ice-cream. Level off the surface with an offset palette knife until very smooth.

Blowtorch the four sides of the mould just enough to loosen, and lift mould away from the bowl.

Check that the glaze is 21°C. Cover the surface of lamington mix with just enough glaze to evenly coat and cover the top surface and edges.

Using a slotted spoon, carefully scoop the frozen coconut shavings from the bowl of liquid nitrogen and arrange evenly around the lamington square. Use to caution to assure none of the shavings touch or spill over onto chocolate glaze. Serve immediately.

Bennelong’s #lockdownlamington challenge

This competition to celebrate National Lamington Day is now closed. 

How to enter:

Dream up the most delicious lamington you can think of and jump into the kitchen to bring it to life. You can take inspiration from Peter Gilmore’s famous Cherry Jam Lamington (see recipe above), an old family recipe, or even make up your own. 

Capture your creation with a front on, top down and cross section photo of your lamington. Post to Instagram, along with a description of your dessert, and tag @bennelong_sydney and #lockdownlamingtons by 5pm, Sunday 25 July. 

The winner:

The winning Lockdown Lamington maker will enjoy dinner for two at Bennelong, including Lamington dessert and wine pairing when Bennelong reopens!

Lockdown Lamington entries will be judged by Peter Gilmore himself, and picked based on presentation and creativity.

Entries close 5pm, Sunday 25 July. Winner will be announced on Monday 26 July. Terms and conditions apply. 

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