Gluten Free Lamington Loaf Cake

This gluten free lamington loaf cake is the very definition of comfort food: easy to prepare, packed with flavour and so ridiculously delicious you’ll be back for seconds. The coconut sponge is perfectly soft, moist and buttery, with a strawberry jam layer in the middle. The chocolate icing and a layer of desiccated coconut bring together what is essentially a giant, super-charged lamington.

Lamington loaf cake on a piece of parchment paper, with a piece already cut.

Friends, I am obsessed with this lamington cake. It’s incredibly fun to make (seriously, I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun making and decorating a cake) and the flavour is just out of this world.

This lamington loaf cake is basically like one giant, super-charged lamington, only far easier and much less fussy to make. I’m a big fan of lamingtons, but make them only very rarely – because, let’s be honest, making them (dipping them in the chocolate icing and then rolling them in desiccated coconut) always takes forever and makes such a mess.

In addition to being far easier to make, this loaf cake is also much more coconut-forward: instead of featuring desiccated coconut only in the “decorations”, I’ve also added a whopping one (heaping) cup of desiccated coconut into the cake batter. The result is a wonderfully intense coconut flavour and a perfectly moist, buttery, delicate sponge that stays that way for days (not that the cake ever lasts that long).

Side-on view of the lamington loaf cake with three pieces already cut.

The components of the lamington loaf cake

Before we look at how you can (easily and with minimal fuss) make this wonderful loaf cake, here’s an overview of the individual components:

  1. First, there’s the aforementioned (soft, moist, buttery, coconut-packed) coconut sponge. It’s baked like you would a typical loaf cake, cooled and then cut in half. (Note that I say “in half”, but I somehow managed to horribly misjudge the middle of my loaf. I like to think that the offset layer of jam makes it look quirky…)
  2. Then, there’s the layer of strawberry jam. Just like with lamingtons, this gives the cake an added tart sweetness and makes it extra moist, especially after the moisture in the jam has had a bit of time to redistribute throughout the cake.
  3. The chocolate icing is incredibly easy to make – you just need to combine dark chocolate, cocoa powder, icing/powdered sugar, a bit of butter and milk in a saucepan and cook it all together with stirring until melted and smooth and glossy. The flavour is AMAZING and works perfectly with the coconut sponge.
  4. Finally, there’s the coating of desiccated coconut, which brings an additional layer of flavour and texture to this amazing lamington cake.

Now, each of these components on its own is already amazing. But put them together… and you’ve got yourself a marvellous flavour explosion.

The cross-section of the lamington loaf cake, showing the delicate sponge and layer of jam in the middle.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making this wonderful cake – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

Assembling the lamington loaf cake

Let’s assume that you’ve made and cooled the coconut loaf cake already (it’s incredibly easy to make, promise), and that you have all the other elements (strawberry jam, chocolate icing, desiccated coconut) prepared and ready to go. Here’s how you assemble all the elements together:

  1. Cut the cooled loaf cake in half. (Don’t stress if you misjudge the middle of the cake slightly.)
  2. Spoon the strawberry jam onto the bottom half of the loaf cake,
  3. and spread it out into an even layer.
  4. Place the top half of the loaf cake on top of the jam layer, pressing down gently to “stick” the two halves together.
  5. Use a large pastry brush to spread the chocolate icing onto the loaf cake. Using a brush to ice a cake might be rather unconventional, but it works perfectly – and it’s definitely much easier  to do than pouring the icing on top and then somehow awkwardly trying to use an offset spatula to also cover the sides. Trust me, just use a pastry brush.
  6. Make sure that the whole cake is covered in the chocolate icing, including the top and all four sides. If you’ve managed to get a lot of chocolate icing onto the plate/platter that the cake sits on, you can wipe it away at this point.
  7. Sprinkle the desiccated coconut on top of the chocolate icing while the icing is still wet/sticky to the touch.
  8. Then, cover the sides of the cake with desiccated coconut. This is easiest done by holding a handful of desiccated coconut in your hand,
  9. and pressing it against the side of the cake. Make sure that the whole cake is evenly coated in coconut.
  10. Use another clean pastry brush to remove any excess desiccated coconut from around the cake. Then, chill the cake in the fridge for 15-20 minutes so that the chocolate icing sets. And then: slice, serve and enjoy what just might be the best loaf cake you’ve even made.

The first 6 steps of the 10-step process of making the gluten free lamington loaf cake.

The second 4 steps of the 10-step process of making the gluten free lamington loaf cake.

Lamington loaf cake on a piece of parchment paper, with a piece already cut.

I’ll keep this one short and sweet, friends – there’s really not many things that can go wrong with this amazing gluten free loaf cake. It’s not a super elegant or refined cake. Instead, it’s the very definition of comfort food – rustic and a bit rough around the edges, packed with flavour, and so ridiculously delicious you’ll be back for seconds (and possibly thirds).

I really hope you’ll love this one. I’ve just polished off the last piece, and I’m already planning to make more. Yes, it’s that good and once you try it… you’ll be making it again and again.

Happy baking,

Signature of the author, Kat.

Three slice of laminton loaf cake on white dessert plates.

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Gluten Free Lamington Loaf Cake

This gluten free lamington loaf cake is the very definition of comfort food: easy to prepare, packed with flavour and so ridiculously delicious you’ll be back for seconds. The coconut sponge is perfectly soft, moist and buttery, with a strawberry jam layer in the middle. The chocolate icing and a layer of desiccated coconut bring together what is essentially a giant, super-charged lamington. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten Free
Prep Time 1 hour
Bake/Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients

For coconut loaf cake:

  • 125 g (1 stick + 1 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
  • 150 g (¾ cup) caster/superfine or granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 3 UK medium/US large eggs, room temperature
  • 150 g (1 ¼ cups) plain gluten free flour blend (I used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour, which doesn't contain xanthan gum. You can also mix your own blend from 50% white rice flour, 30% potato starch and 20% maize flour by weight.)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp xanthan gum (Omit if your GF flour blend already contains xanthan gum.)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 90 g (1 cup + 2 tbsp) unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 120 mL (½ cup) whole milk, room temperature

For chocolate icing:

  • 100 g (3.5 oz) dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa solids), chopped
  • 60 g (½ cup) icing/powdered sugar
  • 50 mL (3 ½ tbsp) whole milk
  • 5 g (2 tsp) Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 5 g (1 tsp) unsalted butter

You will also need:

  • 100 g (⅓ cup) strawberry jam
  • 80 g (1 cup) unsweetened desiccated coconut

Instructions

For coconut loaf cake:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line a 2lb/900g loaf tin (9x5x3 inches/23x13x7.5cm) with baking/greaseproof paper.

  2. In a large bowl, using a balloon whisk, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy. You can also use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer fitted with the double beaters.

  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

    Tip: It's very important that your eggs are at room temperature and that you add them one at a time. This way, you'll maintain the emulsion of the butter and guarantee a silky smooth, fluffy cake batter – which will ultimately result in a melt-in-the-mouth cake crumb. If you forgot to take your eggs out of the fridge, place them in warm water for 10-15 minutes before using them.

  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the gluten free flour blend, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt. Add the desiccated coconut and mix well until combined.

  5. Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, alternately add the dry ingredients (in three batches) and milk (in two batches) to the butter-sugar mixture, whisking well after each addition, until you get a smooth, fluffy cake batter with no flour clumps.

    Tip: This alternating way of adding dry and wet ingredients helps maintain the emulsion of the butter in the cake batter, ensuring that your batter remains smooth and that the final baked cake has the perfect crumb. When alternating dry and wet ingredients, make sure to always end with the dry.

  6. Transfer the cake batter into the lined loaf tin and smooth out the top.

  7. Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for about 45 minutes or until well risen and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. If the top of the cake starts browning too quickly, cover with aluminium foil (shiny side up) and continue baking until done.

  8. Allow to cool in the loaf tin for about 10 minutes, then remove from the tin onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

For chocolate icing:

  1. In a saucepan, combine all the chocolate icing ingredients and cook over medium heat with frequent stirring until the chocolate and butter have melted and the the ingredients are well combined. The final icing should be smooth and glossy.

  2. Set aside to cool until warm.

    Tip: You don't want the chocolate icing to cool too much, as it will become too thick to easily spread on top of the cake. If your icing does cool and thicken too much, re-heat it briefly in the microwave.

Assembling the lamington loaf cake:

  1. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the cooled loaf cake horizontally in half.

  2. Spread the strawberry jam in an even layer onto the bottom half of the loaf cake.

  3. Place the top half of the loaf cake on top of the jam layer, pressing down gently to “stick” the two halves together.

  4. Use a large pastry brush to spread the chocolate icing evenly onto the loaf cake. Make sure that the whole cake is covered in the chocolate icing, including the top and all four sides. (If you’ve managed to get a lot of chocolate icing onto the plate/platter that the cake sits on, you can wipe it away at this point.)

    Tip: Using a pastry brush to ice a cake might be rather unconventional, but it works perfectly – and it’s definitely much easier to do than pouring the icing on top of the cake and then somehow awkwardly trying to use an offset spatula to also cover the sides. Trust me, just use a pastry brush.

  5. Sprinkle the desiccated coconut on top of the chocolate icing while the icing is still wet/sticky to the touch. Then, cover the sides of the cake with desiccated coconut. Make sure that the whole cake is evenly coated in coconut. Use another clean pastry brush to remove any excess desiccated coconut from around the cake on the plate/platter.

    Tip: Covering the sides of the cake with coconut is easiest done by holding a handful of desiccated coconut in your hand, and pressing it against the side of the cake (see post for photos).

  6. Chill the cake in the fridge for 15-20 minutes so that the chocolate icing sets, then slice and serve.

Storage:

  1. The lamington loaf cake keeps well in a closed container in a cool dry place for 3-4 days.

Looking for more delicious GLUTEN FREE loaf cake (and bread) recipes?
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