Once I was working in an artisanal bakery in Spain, one day my boss, Maria prepared a cake with chocolate and coconut. “This is our kókuszkocka!”- I said surprised when she was ready with it than she looked at me with the same surprise on her face. “No, actually it is an Australian cake called lamington”. It was the moment when I realised that somehow this cake dipped into chocolate sauce and rolled into coconut can be traditional in two completely different parts of the world, however in Hungary we use a dough made with honey instead of sponge cake as a base.
Baking something with chocolate and coconut when it is minus 14 Celsius degrees outside seems to be a very logical decision, especially because coconut looks exactly like snow which covers our garden, and thanks to the cold doesn’t melt. The first time after many years I see icicles again, which decorate our door canopy in a precise order and I feel like breaking them and listening to their crackles, as I used to do in my childhood. There is only someone, who doesn’t care about cold. Beeper, our dog is running around the garden with the usual flying ears, licks the snow, plays with a nut and lays down completely relaxed biting a bone as it won’t be minus 14 degrees and snow everywhere.
Last year winter was not as cold as this year, so our little house offers us a new, unexpected adventure this time. Meli, my friend comes to visit us and arrives at the moment when we realise that the washing machine which we put into the summer kitchen, froze during operation, obviously full with water and clothes. When we remove the filter which turns out to be completely iced, the water pours out and freezes immediately on the floor which makes the summer kitchen a perfect skating-rink while we try to repair the machine. Finally we succeed.
You can admit that after this adventure we really needed kókuszkocka. It is not really warm in our inside kitchen neither, so Meli wraps a red blanket around herself, as it were a Hawaiian grass-skirt, and helps me to relax and cool down after the “washing-mashine case”. Laughing heals, so does honey and chocolate which scent fills up the air of the house soon. I only regret that Meli needed to leave to catch the train so she couldn’t taste the cake so I am quite sure that not only light snow but coconut flakes will sprinkle soon again around our house.
Kókuszkocka (Chocolate-coconut square- “Hungarian version of lamington”)
400 g flour
250 g sugar
50 g butter or margarine
4 ek. honey
1/4 tsp soda bicarbonate
150 ml milk
Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Melt the honey in a pan. Mix flour and soda bicarbonate Mix sugar and butter until it gets foamy than add egg and honey. Alternately add milk and flour. Butter a 22x 35 cm baking pan and line the bottom with baking paper. Pour in the dough and bake it until it is flexible and golden brown (approximately 20 minutes depending on the strength of your oven)
For the glaze
200 g sugar
5 tbsp milk
30 g Dutch cocoa powder
250 g butter
4 tbsp rum
200 g desiccated coconut
Mix sugar, milk, cocoa powder and butter in a pan, bring it to boil and stirring continiously cook it for a couple of minutes until it becomes a smooth chocolate sauce. Remove pan from the heat and add rum. Cut the dough into squares, dip each piece into the chocolate sauce and roll them into the coconut.