A Special Australian Sponge Cake & A Trip
3 cups (340g) cake flour, (not self-rising), plus additional for dusting pans
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) (225g) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus additional for greasing pans
1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup (240ml) milk
chocolate icing ingredients
1 cup (240ml) milk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) (60g) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
8 cups (960g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 cup (90g) cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup (240ml) jam (we use our homemade strawberry peach jam, but use whichever flavor you’d like)
1 pound (455g) dessicated coconut (or shredded sweetened coconut if you can’t get dessicated coconut)
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly butter two 9″x13″ baking pans, line the pans bottoms with parchment paper, then butter the parchment. Dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess flour.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt for 30 seconds. Set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer fit with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes (don’t shortcut the time – the beating of air into the butter is important to the cake texture).
Beat in the vanilla and then the eggs, one egg at a time until incorporated. Fold the part of the flour mixture into the batter, then the milk, and then fold in the remaining flour into the batter until just incorporated.
Divide the batter between the two baking pans, spreading even, and then bake for about 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean in the middle of the cakes. Cool slightly in the pans, then lift out of the pans and finish cooling completely on wire racks.
After the cakes have cooled completely, spread the jam over the top of one of the cakes. Place the other cake on top, and then using a serrated knife, trim the edges of the cake and then cut into 24 two-inch squares (or whatever size you prefer).
Make the icing; in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter and milk, heating until butter is melted. Remove from heat then stir in the vanilla extract, confectioners’ sugar, and cocoa powder. Stir until combined. Pour the icing into a metal bowl and then place over the top of a saucepan filled with at least 2-inches of gently simmering water.
Put the coconut in a bowl and set aside. Dip a cake square into the bowl of chocolate icing, using forks to turn the square, coating all sides. Allow excess icing to drip off, then place the square in the bowl of coconut. Using clean forks, turn the square to coat all sides with coconut (we find it easiest to place it in the bowl of coconut, sprinkle a bunch of coconut on the top, then start turning in coconut to get all sides coated). Place the square on a wire rack and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes to set. Repeat with all of the remaining squares.