Baby Chocolate and Coconut Cakes

, from Issue #23. October, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Baby Chocolate and Coconut Cakes

This version of the classic lamington uses a dense chocolate cake instead of the usual sponge. Freezing the cake and keeping the icing warm makes assembling a simple and stress-free process. Also, try and keep your fingers free of icing to ensure the coconut on the cakes looks fresh.


1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup water
75 grams butter
1/3 cup Dutch cocoa, sifted
150 grams good dark chocolate, chopped
250 grams caster sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 free-range egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1⁄4 cups self-raising flour

1⁄2 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
4 cups icing sugar, sifted
1⁄2 cup cocoa, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1⁄2 cups long thread coconut, lightly toasted

To serve
red fruit jam


Grease a 20 cm square cake tin and fully line the base and sides with baking paper.

Cake: Preheat the oven to 150°C. Put the oil, water, butter and cocoa in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate and sugar until melted. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Whisk in the milk, egg and vanilla extract, then the flour, making sure there are no lumps. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 45 minutes or until firm and an inserted skewer comes out clean. If the cake has risen in the centre, place a piece of baking paper over the top then a chopping board to weight it down to give a flat surface. Cool.

The cake is best made one day ahead before cutting.

Cake: Cut the cake into 3 cm squares. Put the pieces of cake, spaced slightly apart, on a baking paper lined tray and place in the freezer for at least one hour.

Icing: Put the milk and butter in a saucepan and heat until the butter has melted. Put the icing sugar and cocoa in a heat-proof bowl and whisk in the hot milk and vanilla extract until smooth. Place over a saucepan of simmering water. This keeps the icing at a soft consistency for dipping. Put the toasted coconut into a bowl.

To assemble: Take 3 pieces of cake out of the freezer at a time. Gently press all sides of the cake with the flat side of a knife to give a smooth surface. Push one piece at a time onto a thin wooden skewer. Dip it into the chocolate, turning to coat on all sides. Don’t dip the base, as the cake won’t sit flat if there is coconut on it. Let the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Then, holding the cake over the bowl of coconut, use your fingers to drop the coconut onto all sides to coat. Press the top of the cake into the coconut. If you roll the cakes in the coconut, it will lie flat and not have the lovely spiky effect. Gently push off the skewer onto a baking paper lined tray then lift the cakes to sit upright. Sprinkle the tops with a little more coconut. Set aside until set. Store for 3-4 days in an airtight container.

To serve: Just before serving place a small spoonful of mascarpone on each cake then a dollop of jam. Makes 36 x 3cm cakes