15 Most Popular Australian Desserts
Australia has a long list of historical and popular desserts that will satisfy your taste buds’ craving for sugar. Some favorites on this list are uniquely original, and others are English-inspired with an Aussie twist.
Before we continue, it should be mentioned that there has always been a bit of an ownership crisis when it comes to some Australian and New Zealand foods. Strangely, they argue over the origin of many desserts and have different names for the same dish! Food origins can be hard to trace, so please don’t take this list personally if you are a Kiwi.
Desserts in Australia are usually served at parties, barbecues, and during festive celebrations. However, most Aussie bakeries and cake shops sell the following iconic desserts seven days a week.
If you are looking for the most authentic version of any Australian dessert, be sure to visit some small-town bakeries. This is usually where the best homemade desserts can be found.
1. Lamington Sponge Cake with Strawberry Jam and Cream
The Lamington is no ordinary sponge cake. It comes in several variations but is always rolled in chocolate sauce and sprinkled with desiccated coconut. Its most famous version comes with two layers of cake with a lathering of strawberry jam and cream in the middle. You will also come across the simple choc coconut square, the jam only version, and the extravagant cake size.
You can expect to find Lamingtons in bakeries, supermarkets, and cafés all over Australia. Lamingtons are one of the few genuinely original Australian desserts, dating back to at least 1896. You won’t find a Lamington anywhere else in the world.
2. Vanilla Slice
This classic pastry is always best when homemade. The vanilla slice is an Australian bakery staple not often found in restaurants. But you can’t go around eating just any old vanilla slice. Like all pastries these days, they can be found bulk produced, but they are never quite as good.
If you want a truly Australian vanilla slice, you will need to find yourself an Australian country town (not too hard to find) where you will find two things on the main street, a pub and a bakery. The vanilla slice is made with crispy, flakey puff pastry, homemade silky smooth custard using natural vanilla bean extract to flavor and a generous lathering of white vanilla icing.
3. Vegemite Brownie
We know you have seen a brownie before, but have you had one made with vegemite? This is one of those sweet and salty combination desserts that will get your mouth watering. Vegemite brownies are made with melted brown sugar and butter to compliment the flavor of Australia’s favorite condiment, Vegemite!
You won’t come across this creation in just any old bakery. This modern creation is new to Australian tables. Vegemite brownies are now being served in hipster cafés and restaurants around Melbourne and Sydney. They are a great treat to complement your latte and come highly recommended as the latest snack at children’s birthday parties.
Look out for these if you are travelling to Australia!
Australia’s passion for the pavlova is something you have to see to believe. An age-old disagreement over the origin of the “pav” is a topic of great contention between New Zealand and Australia. Both countries lay claim to its creation.
However, research traces the dessert back to the Austro-Hungarian Spanische Windtorte. Whatever the case may be, this dessert is a sweet staple Downunder and in part because it is such a challenge to make!
The taste? This large meringue shell should be crispy on the outside, soft, sweet, and spongey in the middle, always topped with cream, and served with various fruits. Australians almost always pour passionfruit pulp over their pavlova. It is a texture and flavor sensation.
Recipe: Pavlova with Yogurt and Berries
At Christmas time, every supermarket in Australia sells a pre-packaged cheat pavlova base; however, nothing beats a homemade version.
5. Nennish Tarts
This decorative tart was created in the town of Grong Grong, New South Wales, in 1913. The tart has a pastry base and is filled with a gelatin-set cream, mock cream, icing sugar paste or lemon, and sweetened condensed milk mixture with two colors of dried icing on the top of the tart.
You will only find these tarts in Australian bakeries or homemade in an Aussie grandma’s kitchen. They are generally a children’s treat; however, you can catch adults eating them from time to time!
6. Gaytime Trifle
This was inspired by the famous Australian ice cream Golden Gaytime, created by confectionary company Streets in 1959. This trifle is made of three layers of caramel and vanilla gelato, crushed wafer biscuits in melted chocolate, crushed Gloden Gaytime ice cream, and caramel popcorn.
This is a luxurious dessert that will have you asking for seconds!
7. Louise Cake
Australia definitely stole this cake/slice from New Zealand. Nonetheless, it is an Australian favorite and an old fashioned recipe that never fails to please.
The Louise cake is always baked in a pan and served in square slices. It consists of a layer of shortcake crust, raspberry jam, and crispy coconut meringue. It is best served with a side of raspberries with tea or coffee. Delicious.
8. Yo Yo Biscuits
Created in South Australia, the yo yo biscuit can be found sitting in a large jar next to the cash register of almost every café in Australia. This sweet plump biscuit is a trendy Australian treat made from butter, milk, eggs, and honey.
Originally invented by Menz Company, today, these biscuits are produced by a company named Arnott’s; however, homemade yo yos is what you will find in cafés. They are often oversized with a cream filling and come in many variations.
9. Coconut Ice
This is a Christmas specialty in Australia and is always homemade. This festively colored confection comprises grated desiccated coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and sugar, forming a solid, soft candy. It typically has a chewy, soft, and mildly grainy texture; some versions are semi-hard.
10. Australia Boston Bun
While eating a Boston bun, there is one golden rule: you must have butter! Boston buns are unique because they are made with finely mashed potato that creates an extra soft dough scattered with raisins or sultanas. All Boston buns are lathered in the creamiest white butter icing and coated with desiccated coconut.
Every bakery in Australia sells Boston buns; they are usually next to the finger buns and donuts! If you are visiting friends in Australia, be sure to bring one along for tea; this is a very Aussie tradition.
11. Chocolate Ripple Cake
It is safe to say that this straightforward cake was created by a desperate mother who had run out of ingredients. It can be assumed this took place somewhere in the 1930s, when Australia’s chocolate ripple biscuits began to be sold on supermarket shelves. Chocolate ripple biscuits are sold Australia-wide, and although great on their own, their primary purpose seems to be this cake!
The chocolate ripple cake has several variations, but the original and most common is a neat roll of sweetened cream with layers of chocolate ripple biscuits inside. Some recipes use sherry and other alcohol to moisten the biscuits, but all versions are surprisingly tasty.
Commonly served at Christmas time or for children’s birthday parties, this one is definitely always homemade!
12. Weis Bar
The Weis bar goes back to 1957, when a corner-store owner, Les Weis, created a slab of ice cream known as the Fruito Bar. Fast forward to 2022, and the mango and cream flavored Weis Bar is still their top seller in Australia. Frozen fruit and cream have never gone out of fashion for Australians, with homemade and store sold versions of the Weis Bar being found in homes all summer long.
If you want to try one, just pop into any Australian corner store, and the Weis will be sitting in the ice cream freezer.
13. Hot Jam Doughnut
Australia’s favorite street food is the hot jam donut. They are sold at most outdoor markets and were made famous by the Queen Victoria Markets in Melbourne. When ordered, these donuts are cooked fresh on the spot inside a parked food van or truck. Long lines of office workers and shoppers can be seen for hours ordering bags of these donuts on the street.
A traditional hot jam donut is made with a yeast dough filled with strawberry jam which is dropped in the fryer. They are crispy on the outside and pillowy on the inside when cooked. The douts are rolled in white sugar and served in paper bags while hot. Perfection!
14. Peppermint Slice
These are an Australian party special that are usually homemade and highly addictive! You can get these in bakeries. However, they seem to be less common in big cities.
The peppermint slice base is a coconut-butter flavor that is crumbly in texture. The slice’s center is a melt-in-the- mouth sensation of sweet peppermint icing sugar and Copha. The top layer is always a thick, firm dark or milk chocolate. The slice is usually square and served at room temperature or slightly chilled when prepared.
These Aussie slices are often sold in Australian school canteens or readily available at school fetes.
15. Chocolate Crackles
An Australian childhood without chocolate crackles is no childhood at all!
You will find these at every children’s birthday party from 0 to 13 years old. They are made from a classic Kellogg’s breakfast cereal called Rice Bubbles. The packaging still comes with the recipe on the back, which is how chocolate crackles were introduced to the nation.
Mixed Rice Bubbles with melted cocoa, Copha, and icing sugar are all it takes to make this humble party treat. It is a crispy, chocolaty treat set in the fridge for an hour or so and fed to children for hours as they run around the backyard playing party games. Awesome.