Coffee Ystervarkies


It should come as no surprise that growing up, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. A lot! And one of my favourite things to do on one of those stay-at-home days, is to revisit the classics from my childhood. It occurred to me recently that, while reinventing the lamington by turning it into a savoury biltong treat, I hadn’t made the sweet, chocolatey version my mother used to make in years. Unable to resist a little fiddling with a classic, though, I added coffee to give these ystervarkies a slightly richer, more intense flavour.


For the Cake

230 g (250 ml) butter, at room temperature

250 g (310 ml) sugar

3 large eggs

420 g (750 ml) cake flour

10 ml baking powder

pinch of salt

250 ml milk

For the chocolate coffee sauce

60 ml cocoa

375 ml Nespresso Ispirazione Venezia coffee (3x capsules brewed as Lungo and 1x capsule brewed as Espresso)(If you don’t have Nespresso, a good strong coffee will do the trick as well.)

600 g (750 ml) sugar

15 ml butter

500 g desiccated coconut


For the cake

Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Line the bottom of a square cake tin 22 x 22 cm with baking paper. Spray with non-stick food spray.

Place the butter in the mixing bowl of an electric beater fitted with the flat beater. Add the sugar gradually and beat until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time and beat until well blended.

Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Add the flour and milk to the butter mixture and mix well. Spoon into the prepared tin and put it in the oven. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, testing it with a cake tester in die middle of the cake to make sure the cake is cooked.

Take out of the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes in the tin before turning it out. Let it cool completely before cutting it into the desired portions.

For the chocolate coffee sauce

Place the cocoa, coffee, sugar and butter in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 2 minutes.

Cut the cake level on top and cut off the sides. The reason for this step is to ensure the sauce penetrates the cake.

Cut into the desired portions (usually a member of the cube family). Submerge two or three blocks at a time in the sauce, making sure it is well covered. Take them out and roll them in the coconut. Repeat with the rest.

Keep your ystervarkies in an airtight container.

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