A few weeks ago I was invited to a dinner where someone brought coconut squares for dessert. I wanted to do a happy dance around the table – but I resisted, don’t worry 🙂 – because I haven’t had those since my youth. Way back then the local youth centre organised an annual get-together for the community, and people donated cakes. My godmother helped out at the cake stall, and she knew she had to hold back a coconut square for me, or else…
It was a Greek lady who used to donate the coconut squares, but at the dinner I went to I learned that my colleague’s recipe was a Yugoslavian one (she deliberately used the word Yugoslavian because she herself is Serbian but said the recipe was really something typical for the whole of ex-Yugoslavia, not just one area). I really didn’t mind at all where exactly the recipe came from as long as she was willing to share it with me!
I decided to make this recipe today because all of yesterday I cleared my kitchen of everything that wasn’t in a cupboard (imagine what my hall looked like!) and did some serious spring cleaning and some more decluttering while I was at it. It was such a great sight to come into the kitchen this morning that I decided to bake.
Now, I already mentioned that I love these little coconut delights but if you asked me what exactly it was that made them special to me… it’s hard to say. They’re quite sweet, which is not usually my thing, but also there’s coconut! What better reason!? I guess all in all it’s the combination of more or less plain sponge cake, chocolate, and coconut.
The original recipe requires 1 tbsp rum but I didn’t add alcohol.
A word of warning, though: if you’re counting calories you better just look at the pictures instead of making this recipe because there is so much butter and sugar in these coconut squares that they probably equal your week’s worth of calories. Unless you manage to eat these in moderation, maybe only one piece. I dare you…
3 eggs, separated
220 g sugar
180 ml sunflower oil
300 g flour
100 ml milk
ca. 17 g baking powder or cream of tartar
250 g unsalted butter
100 – 150 g milk chocolate courverture
200 ml milk
200 ml sugar
1 tbsp rum [optional]
300 g unsweetened coconut flakes
For the biscuit, beat egg whites until stiff, then slowly add sugar. Next add the oil, 6 tbsp flour, and baking power or cream of tartar. Add egg yolks one by one, then add milk and the remaining flour.
Line a high-rimmed baking tray [approx. 25 x 35 cm] with baking paper and pour the batter into it. Distribute evenly, then bake on middle shelf at 180°C/350°F (non-fan) for 20 – 30 minutes. [The recipe said 30 minutes, but my cake was done in 20. Best to check colour after 20 mins and use a wooden skewer to check inside.]
While the cake cools, prepare the chocolate cream by heating butter, chocolate, sugar, milk and rum (if using). Heat enough to let a few bubbles build, then reduce heat to medium so the liquid thickens just a little bit. Switch off heat but leave pot on stove top [If you have an induction oven, you might need to leave it on the lowest setting.]
Cut cake into finger food sized squares. Pour coconut flakes onto a flat plate or cutting board. Dunk each cake square into the chocolate cream so it’s coated on all sides [Don’t leave the squares in there, though, as they will soak up the chocolate and you won’t have enough left!] then immediately roll it in the coconut flakes. Place on a cooling rack.