• Chessboard tea cakes (Lamingtons and coconut ice)

    Serves: 12
    Cooking Time: 45 minutes + extra for setting


    • Lamingtons

    • 1 day-old sponge loaf cake
    • 480g (4 cups) icing sugar
    • 80ml (1/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 125ml (½ cup) milk
    • 30ml (2 tbsp) butter
    • 240g (3 cups) desiccated coconut
    • Coconut ice

    • 450g sugar
    • 150ml milk
    • 150g desiccated coconut



    For the lamingtons, chill the sponge cake for at least 30 minutes in the fridge or freezer, then cut into squares.


    Combine the sugar and cocoa in a large mixing bowl.


    Heat the milk and butter in a saucepan until the butter has melted. Add to the cocoa mixture and mix to a fluid but not runny consistency.


    To assemble, make a production line of sponge squares, chocolate icing mixture in a bowl, coconut in a shallow container, and a wire cooling rack with paper underneath.


    Using a fork, dip the sponge squares one at a time into the icing, then roll in the coconut to coat well and place on the rack to dry.


    Once the squares are dry, place in an airtight container and leave to set for a few hours, preferably overnight, before serving.


    For the coconut ice, combine the sugar and milk in a saucepan and stir continuously with a wooden spoon over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Cover and boil for 3 minutes.


    Remove the lid and continue boiling until the mixture reaches soft-ball stage, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut until well combined. Quickly pour the mixture into an 18cm square baking tin that you have greased and lined.


    Leave to set slightly, then cut into squares with an oiled knife.


    Leave to set completely and store in an airtight container.


    Cook's tip: Soft-ball stage occurs when you drop a little syrup into hot water and it forms a soft ball, which you can then pick up in your fingers.