Possum Magic Lamingtons

26 Jan

Possum Magic would have to be one of, if the most well known Australian children’s book. Written by Mem Fox, Possum Magic was first published in 1983. In 1983, I was in Year 1 (6 years old) and an avid reader. I loved books and still do. Possum Magic was one of my favourites. I can remember our school library having a display during book week with Possum Magic as the central theme.

Possum Magic is a tale of 2 possums who live in the Australian bush – Hush and Grandma Poss. Grandma Poss does magic to make Hush invisible to protect her from harm but one day Hush decides she wants to know what she looks like and asks her to make her visible again. The story details the adventure the possums go on to find the magic “to make Hush seen”.

This is a quote by Mem Fox about why she chose the places and foods that were visited and eaten by Hush and Grandma Poss…

“I chose possums as the main characters for this book because we had possums on our roof and the babies were adorable. I didn’t include Canberra, the national capital, because it wasn’t a state capital. I chose the casino in Hobart because it was famous at the time for being new and for being the first legal casino in Australia. I chose pumpkin scones in Brisbane (for those of you reading this outside Australia, Brisbane is the capital of the state of Queensland) because at that time the wife of the premier of Queensland was Flo Bjelke-Petersen, nationally famous for her pumpkin scones—it was an in-joke for the parents who read the book to their children. The other foods were chosen for their alliterative qualities and because they were typically Australian”. You can read more about Possum Magic by clicking here.

I found one of my copies of Possum Magic the other day. The 21st Birthday Edition. I think I have about 4 copies of this book, including my original copy. Thomas and I found a quiet place to sit down and read it together. I have to say it was a very special time for me – to be able to share one of my favourite children’s books with my little man was a memorable moment.

As we read the story, Thomas asked lots of questions (as he does) about what invisible means and how long it takes to get to Brisbane…. He also wanted to know what Lamingtons were. What can I say, I knew that was our next cooking project right there.

In the spirit of the nostalgia trip I was on, I dug out my Mum’s old Woman’s Weekly cookbook that every housewife from the seventies had and found the recipe for lamingtons. I have to say I found it quite amusing as I was flipping through it – there is a calorie counter and weight table included as an appendix to calculate how many calories you should consume per day according to your weight and height. They give 2 examples to indicate how you should work it out:

1. “You are an active housewife…”

2. “You are a typist, aged 33…”

I can’t imagine these examples being printed in cookbooks these days :-).

I had never made lamingtons before. They were quite time consuming and very messy. Thomas wasn’t very keen on the messy part. He enjoyed measuring out the ingredients and making the cake but was more interested in washing up. Not that I’m complaining about that!


100g butter

3/4 cup castor sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

2 cups self raising flour

pinch of salt

1/2 cup milk


500g icing sugar

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 tablespoon melted butter

1/2 cup warmed milk

Dessicated Coconut


Cream butter, sugar, vanilla together until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, beat well.

Fold in sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk.

Spoon into a greased and lined 7″ or 8″ tin (approx 18cm).

Bake in a moderate oven for 50-60 minutes

Allow cake to cool completely (overnight works best as then cake doesn’t crumble too much) and cut into squares.

Make icing by mixing dry ingredients then adding milk mixture to make a smooth consistency.

Dip cake squares into chocolate icing using a fork to hold then cover with coconut. Place on plate to set.


Did you do any cooking for Australia Day this year? I would love to hear what you made…


2 Responses to “Possum Magic Lamingtons”

  1. Leah McGinley January 26, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    They were yummy! No special Australia Day feast here, we were going to have a sausage sizzle but didn’t even do that!

    • cookwithkids January 26, 2012 at 10:14 am #

      Glad you enjoyed them! The weather was a bit of a dampener on any Australia Day festivities!

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