lamington gelato cakes

I'd planned to make a lamington swiss roll for Australia Day but following 2 failed attempts I put that idea on the backburner. Then I saw a photo of a lamington gelato cake on Instagram which came from Piccolino Gelateria. It consisted of a layer of sponge cake topped with strawberry jam, followed by a layer of vanilla gelato finished with a coating of chocolate and a dusting of shredded coconut. With one failed swiss roll still in the freezer and a freshly made batch of berry jam in the fridge I was halfway there.

2 weeks ago I bought an ice cream maker as a Christmas gift to myself, so now that I can make gelato it was decided - I was going to make my own version of the lamington gelato cake in honour of Australia Day.

I wasn't sure how well the sponge cake would hold up after being in the freeze for a while, so I brushed the cake with some vanilla syrup before topping the cake layer with berry jam.

For the gelato, I made a batch of milk gelato also known as fior di latte gelato. Fior di latte consists of only 3 ingredients so you can't skimp on quality here so I bought some organic milk and organic cream with which to make the gelato. It was absolutely delicious.

I made these ice cream cakes on a 34°C day in my non air conditioned flat which was a challenge. I also made them in a single day, something I wouldn't attempt in the future as there is a lot of time spent waiting for the gelato to firm before you can move on to the next step. Next time I'd make the gelato the night before. The chocolate coating was also a bit too thick - it was the only component that set but it set too quickly! I'm not sure what I can do to rectify that though.

Piccolino Gelateria is in Melbourne and I live in Sydney so I have no idea how closely my attempt matches their version but I was quite pleased with how they looked and especially pleased with the fior di latte gelato.

Here's the recipe for you which makes six 8 cm cakes. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. I use unsalted butter; all eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional gas oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Lamington Gelato Cakes – inspired by the Piccolino Gelateria Lamington Ice Cream Cake. You’ll need to start this recipe the day before serving.

1 bought sponge cake, sliced horizontally into 1 cm thick slices or a 3 egg sponge cake baked in a swiss roll tin 
⅓ cup raspberry or strawberry jam
1 batch vanilla syrup (recipe below)
1 batch of fior di latte gelato (recipe below)
1 batch of chocolate topping (recipe below)
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Vanilla syrup
¼ cup caster sugar
¼ cup water
½ vanilla bean, sliced lengthways, seeds removed

In a small pan, combine the sugar, water, vanilla bean and seeds and stir over a low heat until dissolved. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and gently simmer for 5 minutes or until the syrup has thickened. Take off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before fishing out the vanilla pod. Don’t throw it out – when dry, place it into your caster sugar.

Gelato al fior di latte adapted from this Emiko Davies recipe
550ml full-cream milk
125g caster sugar
200ml cream, chilled

Combine 1 cup of the milk and the sugar in a saucepan over a low–medium heat. It should not boil, but just reach the point where tiny bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Take the pan off the heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Cover and allow to cool to room temperature. Add the remaining milk and the cream and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions until frozen and creamy but firm. If you want you can make the gelato in advance but you’ll need to let it soften a little so you can scoop it into the ramekins.

To make the cakes, line the base of six 8cm ramekins with baking paper. Cut the sponge cake into six 8cm rounds and place one sponge round in the base of each ramekin. Generously douse each cake with some of the cooled vanilla syrup. Once the syrup has been absorbed, spoon a few teaspoons of jam over each cake, smoothing with an offset spatula. Place the ramekins in the freezer to firm the cake before filling each ramekin with approximately ½ cup of the fior di latte gelato. Return the ramekins to the freezer and freeze for 3-4 hours or until firm. While the gelato is freezing, make the chocolate topping.

Chocolate Topping

300g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
60mls vegetable oil


Place the chocolate and oil in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (the bowl shouldn't touch the water) and stir until melted. Allow to cool completely. 

When the gelato is firm, run the sides of ramekins quickly under hot water and unmould onto a cold saucer covered with baking paper. Remove the lining paper then invert the cake so the sponge cake is now the base and return to the freezer for another hour to harden before coating with the chocolate topping. 

Place the frozen cakes onto a wire rack placed over a tray to catch any drips. Gently pour over the topping then sprinkle each cake with some of the shredded coconut. Loosen the cakes from the tray and return to the freezer until serving time. It’s a good idea to place the lamington cakes in the fridge for about 15 minutes before serving.

I hope you're all enjoying the Australia Day public holiday. See you all again soon with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



  1. I absolutely love this post. It is perfect for our very hot Australia Day, and summer.
    I am fortunate to have an ice cream maker but have only made egg-based, custard ice creams. I am intrigued by the fior di latte gelato. I cannot imagine how three ingredients, without even a drop of vanilla, can create such a delicious gelato. Can you describe what it is like and why so delicious?
    I can manage the other components, and my first thought would have been to simply buy some high-quality ice cream....but I do want to try the gelato.
    Thanks again for a wonderful post.

  2. Hi Angela, buying vanilla ice cream would have been the most sensible option and I think it would work well. I can barely tolerate cream so I can't eat regular ice cream. The milk gelato is really delicate and light but I don't think it was right for the lamington cakes as it was swamped by the dark chocolate coating. Maybe vanilla flavouring would have helped. I was just trying to recreate the Piccolino version based on the description on their website. The fior di latte gelato by itself is worth a try. You could always make a small batch to try it out. J


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