You can keep your custard pies; the lamington is the perfect Kiwi pud for making a point.

Silken sponge, dipped in melted chocolate, and tossed in desiccated coconut ... mmmmm, the lamington is such a fantastic dessert. And like all good desserts, especially those made of 85 per cent whipped cream, it has a very messy landing.

When it's landing on your shoes as you try to shovel it into your mouth, this is most unfortunate. But when its target is someone who needs a bit of their saintly veneer messed up; who seems happy to accept the baubles of power without being able to make the hard decisions; who needs a little gentle coaxing with deliciousness to bring him back to reality, it really can't be beaten.

That's not to say we should all go around throwing things at people we disagree with. And we have to choose our lamingtons wisely. Any that come from my kitchen would be hard enough to knock a man out cold. Mine, and almost any supermarket brand you could care to mention, are off the "dessert of dissent" list. But pillowy-soft and wedged together with lashings of cream? You bet.


After all, the political lamington is just the Australasian cousin of the infamous cream pie, more commonly found on the faces of the mighty in Northern climes. But as befits us, the lamington is less flamboyant, more "heartland Kiwi" than any other cake of complaint, even though it is most certainly an Australian import, having been inadvertently produced by the kitchen of Lord Lamington, the Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901. (Lamington apparently hated lamingtons, referring to them as "those bloody poofy, woolly biscuits.") He may have approved of them as protest fodder, however.

The throwing of sweet treats in anger has a proud history. There is no end of political and business targets across Britain, Europe and North America who have found themselves on the receiving end of custard, fruit or whipped cream pies. Those who wear fur are in danger of courting a soggy tofu pie from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

A custard cream pie was thrown at US conservative pundit Ann Coulter in 2005 by two guys who called themselves "Al Pieda". Another colourful chap, Jonnie Marbles, tried to biff a shaving cream pie at tycoon Rupert Murdoch as he appeared before the Commons committee last year.

The method has long been used as a protest at the rich and famous, and "one way of venting anger at a world that has become maddeningly complex and intrusive," Professor of American History Alexander Bloom told the New York Times in 2000. Such was the fad for "pieing" at that point, British grocer Tescos tested its pies for a range of factors including crust dispersion and aerodynamics, proudly trumpeting the fact they had both cream and creamability.

My, how the protest pie has since fallen from favour. The even less-intrusive lamington barely rates a mention. The youth of today, if Auckland University students are anything to go by, find cake throwing childish, apparently; a distraction from the real issues. And perhaps they are right.

After all, we barely remember the specific beef of the activist who placed a lamington on the head of Act's John Boscawen during the 2009 Mt Albert by-election - while the lamington itself lives on in political infamy.

One can guess at the underlying message being made by the guy who gave mayor Len Brown a sponging recently, but really, what did that cake achieve? Other than to point up a bit of lefty anger, provide a little street theatre - and identify the target, as academic Alexander Bloom might say, as a bit of a clown.