Cakes, Desserts, and Biscuits

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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While “lollies” means confectionery, “sweets” refers to the sweet course served at the end of meals. Traditionally, this meant tinned fruit and ice cream or jelly and custard, and while plum pudding dominates Christmas, trifle and Pavlova are enduring wedding favorites. Pavlova, ANZAC biscuits, fairy bread (birthday fare), and Peach Melba are culinary icons, even if Australians and New Zealanders disagree over who owns what. See pavlova. Named for Queensland Governor Lord Lamington (in office from 1896 to 1901), lamingtons are cubes of day-old sponge cake coated in thin chocolate icing and dipped in coconut. They were created around the time of Federation (1901), when coconut was not widely used in European cooking. Biscuits (“bikkies,” not cookies) such as Iced Vovos, Tim Tams, and Milk Arrowroot, made by Arnott’s Biscuits (established in 1888), are traditional companions of the mid-morning “cuppa.”