Saturday, October 25, 2014

Lamingtons a.k.a. Čupavci

“Coincidences are spiritual puns.” 

Australian icon 'Lamingtons' are known as 'Čupavci' here in Bosnia. The Bosnian version looks the same, however, the recipe requires additional sugar, milk and butter or oil for the cake. Similarly, the chocolate coating requires unsweetened chocolate, sugar, milk and lots of butter. So, the dessert becomes much richer and that's why a small square of it would be more than enough as an accompaniment to the afternoon tea or coffee. However, for the original Australian Lamingtons, you make a simple and light sponge cake and coat the squares with a much lighter icing which basically uses cocoa powder and icing sugar. These little differences make the Australian version much lighter and softer as a result. And the recipe below is for traditional Australian Lamingtons. 


For the Sponge Cake
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup plain flour
1/3 cup self-raising flour
4 x 60 g eggs
2/3 cup caster sugar

For Coating
2 cups icing sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup softened butter
1 tbls hot water (add extra if needed)
2 cups desiccated or shredded coconut to roll in


for the sponge cake
1. Sift the flour in a medium bowl. Repeat the process three times. 
2. In a separate bowl, crack the eggs and add in the sugar. Mix on high for 6 minutes. The mixture will triple in volume and become smooth and creamy. 
3.  Gradually add the sifted flour into the egg-sugar mixture. Use a spatula and gently fold it through the egg-sugar mixture. Once it's folded through, put in the extra flour and keep repeating the same process until all the flour is gone.
4. Pour the mixture into a rectangular or square baking pan lined with baking paper. 
5. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 25-30 minutes. 
6. Once cooked, leave the cake to cool completely. 

for the chocolate icing
1. In a bowl, add the icing sugar, softened butter, cocoa powder and boiling water.
2. Mix until glossy and smooth using an electric mixer.

for coating

1. Cut up the sponge cake into cubes.

2.Dip the cubes into the chocolate icing.

3. Roll the coated cubes in desiccated or shredded coconut. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Revani: Turkish Semolina Cake Soaked in Syrup

“Philosophy [nature] is written in that great book which ever is before our eyes -- I mean the universe -- but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols in which it is written. The book is written in mathematical language, and the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word of it; without which one wanders in vain through a dark labyrinth.” 

Different versions of 'revani' exist in many cuisines  under several names throughout the eastern Mediterranean, including Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan to name a few. The recipe below is an easy one that anybody can make at home. Feel free to add any flavour other than vanilla - lemon or orange zest, coconut, etc. 


For the cake
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 pinch of salt
115 ml milk 
115 ml vegetable oil
1 cup fine semolina
1 cup flour
1 pouch of baking powder (14 g)
1 tsp vanilla extract
butter to grease the baking pan
shredded coconut to garnish

For the syrup
3 cups sugar
3.5 cups water
juice of 1/2 lemon


1. Prepare the syrup first.

  • Add in a saucepan the sugar, water and lemon juice.
  • Boil for about 5-10 minutes over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup has slightly thickened. 
  • Remove the pan from the stove and set aside to cool down to the room temperature. 

2.  Make the cake.

  • Preheat the oven to 185 degrees.
  • Grease a preferably square or rectangular baking pan with butter and dust it with a little flour all around.   
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar first with a pinch of salt to a  fluffy and foamy light yellow cream. Use a hand blender and mix well for 5-6 minutes. 
  • Add in the milk , oil and the vanilla extract and mix for another 1 minute. 
  • Mix the flour, semolina and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
  • Stir in the flour mixture and mix until you get a smooth batter. Do not over-mix. 
  • Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for about 25 minutes at 180-185 degrees until the top gets golden brown or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

3. Soak the cake in the syrup.

  • Once you remove the pan from the oven, drizzle the cool syrup all over the cake slowly using a large spoon slowly and let it soak in.
  • When you've used up all the syrup, cover the cake with foil and let it cool down to the room temperature. 
  • Garnish with shredded coconut, ground pistachio, walnuts, or almonds before serving.