This recipe is from the team at NZ House & Garden magazine.

Combining two favourite desserts in one, this layer cake is a play on the much-loved lamington, crossed with the cherries, cream and chocolate of a black forest gateau.


Prep: 30 minutes plus 30 minutes to chill | Cook: 18-20 minutes | Serves: 12


Sponge Cakes

125g butter, softened

225g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

375g self-raising flour

1 cup full-fat milk, at room temperature

Chocolate Ganache

250ml cream

400g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

To decorate

4 cups fine desiccated coconut

200ml cream, whipped

250ml mascarpone

150g cherry jam

Fresh cherries, if available


Sponge cakes: Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan-bake). Grease 3 x 20cm springform cake tins. Put butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until well combined. Add the flour in three batches, alternating with the milk in two batches, beating gently to combine. Divide the batter evenly between the cake tins and smooth the surfaces.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops spring back when pressed. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 15 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cover and set aside.

Chocolate ganache: Put the cream in a small pot and bring just to the boil then remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Leave for a minute, to melt, then stir until smooth. Transfer to a wide, shallow dish and set aside until it cools and thickens slightly.

To decorate: Put the coconut in a wide, shallow dish. Gently dip one of the cake layers into the ganache to evenly coat, then press into the coconut. Place the cake on a plate and chill for 30 minutes to set. Repeat with the remaining cakes.

Combine the whipped cream and mascarpone.

Place one cake on a cake stand or plate. Dollop half the cream on top and spread it over the cake. Dollop jam over the cream. Add the second cake and top with remaining cream and jam. Gently place the third cake on top. Decorate the top, as desired – fresh cherries would be perfect, if available.