CO­CONUT AND CHOCO­LATE WOOD­LAND CAKE

Better Homes and Gardens (Australia) - - Christmas Baking -

Prepa­ra­tion time 50 mins plus 45 mins chill­ing Cook­ing time 45 mins Serves 12

Ex­tra vir­gin olive oil, light in flavour,

to grease, plus ex­tra 250ml

2 cups caster sugar

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons 6 free-range eggs

3 tsp bak­ing pow­der

2½ cups plain flour

250ml milk

½ cup des­ic­cated co­conut

Felt mush­rooms, acorns, rein­deer, mini or­na­men­tal trees and rab­bit fig­urines, to dec­o­rate (not for eat­ing) Crum­bled pis­ta­chios, choco­late bis­cuits and gin­ger nut bis­cuits, to gar­nish

CHOCO­LATE BARK

25g dark choco­late melts,

melted

225g white choco­late melts, melted (cooled to room tem­per­a­ture, not hot)

CHOCO­LATE CO­CONUT FROST­ING

250g but­ter, chopped, soft­ened 2 cups ic­ing sugar mix­ture,

firmly packed

2 tsp co­conut essence

200g dark choco­late melts, melted

STEP 1 Pre­heat oven to 170°C fan-forced (190°C con­ven­tional). Grease two 20cm round cake tins with olive oil. Line base and sides with bak­ing pa­per.

STEP 2 Put ex­tra oil in a large mix­ing bowl. Add sugar and zest and stir with a whisk un­til com­bined.

STEP 3 Add eggs and beat with a whisk un­til com­bined and smooth.

STEP 4 Sift in bak­ing pow­der and 1 cup of the flour and mix again. Pour in milk, whisk again, fol­lowed by co­conut and re­main­ing flour, whisk­ing again un­til a smooth bat­ter forms. STEP 5 Pour evenly be­tween pre­pared tins. Bake for 45 min­utes or un­til cooked when tested with a skewer. Set aside in tins for 15 min­utes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool com­pletely.

STEP 6 Mean­while, to make choco­late bark, mark a 40 x 25cm rec­tan­gle on a large sheet of bak­ing pa­per. Turn the pa­per over and use it to line an oven tray. Driz­zle dark choco­late back and forth within the rec­tan­gle. Freeze for 15 min­utes or un­til choco­late is solid. Pour white choco­late over the top and very quickly spread to cover the dark choco­late and the en­tire rec­tan­gle. Re­frig­er­ate for 30 min­utes.

STEP 7 Mean­while, to make frost­ing, put but­ter, ic­ing sugar and co­conut essence in a large bowl. Beat with elec­tric hand beat­ers un­til soft and fluffy. With mo­tor run­ning, grad­u­ally add melted choco­late in a slow steady stream. Con­tinue to beat un­til smooth.

STEP 8 Slice domed tops off each cake us­ing a ser­rated knife.

STEP 9 Put one cake on a serv­ing plate, cut side up. Spread with

1 cup of the frost­ing. Sand­wich with re­main­ing cake, cut side down. Spread re­main­ing frost­ing over the top and side of the cake to cover com­pletely.

STEP 10 Care­fully break choco­late bark into long thin pieces and ar­range around the side of the cake, slightly over­lap­ping.

STEP 11 Dec­o­rate the top of the cake with felt mush­rooms, acorns, rein­deer, trees and rab­bits. Gar­nish with crum­bled pis­ta­chios and bis­cuits. Serve.

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