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Method:

  • Preheat oven to 190C.
  • Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm square cake pan with baking paper.
  • Fill a sink one-third full with water. Place eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.
  • Place bowl in sink and whisk for 2 minutes or until mixture is runny and slightly foamy. Remove from sink.
  • Using an electric mixer, whisk on high speed for 4 minutes or until mixture is pale and triples in volume.
  • Using a sieve, sift just enough flour to cover the top of the egg mixture.
  • Using a large metal spoon, fold in flour in one light motion. Repeat sifting and folding with remaining flour until just combined.
  • Combine vanilla and butter in a bowl, then add a large spoonful of batter and stir to combine.
  • Gently fold the butter mixture into batter until just combined, then spoon into the prepared pan.
  • On a work surface, spin the pan to level, then bake for 25 minutes or until centre springs back when pressed with your fingertip. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Freeze for 20 minutes; this will make the sponge easier to cut.
  • To make icing, stir butter and milk in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water until butter is melted.
  • Sift over sugar and cocoa, then stir until smooth. Turn off heat.
  • Using a large serrated knife, trim sides of sponge, then cut into 16 cubes.
  • Scatter coconut over a tray.
  • Insert a skewer into the crust side of a piece of sponge (don’t go all the way through). Holding skewer over icing, and, holding a spoon in the other hand, spoon icing over the sponge, rotating the skewer to coat evenly.
  • Shake off excess, then slide sponge off the skewer onto the tray of coconut.
  • Scatter coconut over the top and sides of sponge, then transfer to a tray lined with baking paper.
  • Repeat with remaining sponge cubes, icing and coconut. If the icing starts to thicken, stir in a little water to thin.
  • Notes: Dutch cocoa is treated with an alkali, which gives it a darker, redder brown colour than regular cocoa, as well as a more intense chocolate taste. It is available from delis. Alternatively, substitute regular cocoa.