Citizens, a few days ago, Christmas was just celebrated in Serbia, where the Serbian Orthodox Church still celebrates the holiday using the Julian calendrical system. This is the calendar that was used before the Gregorian system used today by most other Christian countries.
Two of my dearest friends are Lazar Stojković and his wife Đurđica, who recently introduced me to the fantastic Serbian dessert of Čupavci during a celebratory Serbian Christmas dinner.
Known as a Lamington in Australia where the dessert originated, it is now very popular throughout all of the countries that used to make up Yugoslavia (Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Macedonia), amongst other European countries.
A Lamington consists of squares or rectangles of sponge cake coated first in a layer of chocolate sauce, then in dried coconut.
In the former Yugoslav countries, this dessert is called “čupavac” (usually referred to in plural: “čupavci”), which means “a hairy one” (pl. “hairy ones”).
Đurđica’s recipe truly impressed me – with her kind permission, I will now introduce her version of this recipe for your indulgent sweet tooth. 🙂
Battle on – The Generalissimo
Egg yolk, 1
Whole egg, 1
Baking powder, about one and a half to two tablespoons)
Sugar, 250 g (I have used less, about 100-150; exact dosage depends on how sweet one wants it to be – 250 can be too sweet)
Flour, 300 g (I used an all-purpose flour, as that was the only one I know here)
Milk, 2 dl (I bought a regular whole milk; 2 deciliter is approximately equal to one glass of water)
Butter, 50 g (I used an unsalted one)
Mix butter, sugar, and eggs using a mixer for couple of minutes. What I did this time is, I left butter and all the ingredients at room temperature for a while (about 2 or 3 hours while I was making something else); butter got so soft that you could easily mix it with sugar and eggs, but it did not melt into the liquid form.
I then added sugar and mixed those two with a spoon, combined them, then added eggs and then I mixed all three using a mixer. I added milk afterwards and slowly mixed because it sprayed around.
When I finished it, at the end I added flour and baking powder. (I combine flour and baking powder together before putting into this liquid.) My recommendation is to avoid mixing flour into the previously mentioned ingredients using a mixer – just use a spoon or something convenient like that. For some reason, the cake turns out better that way.
Put the cake into a medium- or big-sized metal pan (oiled, so you take the biscuit out easily), bake it at 180-200°C (356-392°F) for 20-30 minutes until you see golden/golden brown top.
Milk, 15 spoons
Shredded coconut, about 300gr
Sugar, 250 g (again, I put less)
Butter, 200 g
When the cake is done and gets cold enough that it can be touched, cut it into pieces.
Melt all the glaze ingredients: melt butter and chocolate, add milk and then sugar, until it starts to boil. Take a spoon or fork and put a piece of cake in the glaze, soak it with chocolate (not too much, but it’s a personal preference) and then put it into the shredded coconut.
My advice is to place the coconut shreds in a small bowl, put a cake in the middle, and then slowly shake the bowl so the cake moves and gets coconut; otherwise, you will have too much chocolate and coconut on your fingers. It is a messy process until you learn to handle it better after a couple of tries.
I usually put the cake in a box to keep it fresh if it is not eaten on the first day, as it can easily dry out after two or three days.