Today is Australia Day, hence a public holiday in this fair land. Previous posts on this day can be found HERE, HERE, and HERE. Naturally I am intending to have family fun, so I am sure you will forgive me for a short post.
I want to return to an ingredient much beloved of a previous generation of Aussies, but which is now, sadly, in the nutritional naughty corner. It is Copha. Copha is a product along the same lines as Crisco, although it is made from coconut oil (fully hydrogenated of course) rather than cottonseed or soy oil. As I indicated in a previous story, Copha is indispensible for the making of Chocolate Crackles, which are an indispensible offering at children’s parties in Australia. Chocolate Crackles provide part of the entertainment at children’s parties too, on account of the fact that they are not cooked but ‘set’ – a very temporary situation until they are removed from the refrigerator, when they rapidly melt and facilitate chocolately face and finger painting and general mess.
The manufacturers of Copha kept the adults in mind with a recipe for a ‘cake’ appropriate for dinner parties ,which was quite the vogue for a while. A promotional article in The Melbourne newspaper The Argus even suggested it as an alternative to Christmas cake and mince pies in a December 1935.
“Now we want variety - something utterly different. We know - Copha Chocolate Biscuit Cake! There's an idea – it’s so easy to make, and it's one of the most popular cakes we know. With good reason, too, Copha cakes are always so delicious.”
COPHA CHOCOLATE BISCUIT CAKE
(Made in 5 Minutes).
5oz. Pure Essence of Copha (melted)
½ lb. icing sugar
1 heaped dessert-spoon of Cocoa
Essence of Vanilla to flavour
½ lb Coffee, Malt, or any suitable biscuits. These should be softened by exposure.
Mix together the sifted sugar, cocoa, egg, and vanilla. Then stir in the hot (not boiling) Copha.
Line cake tin with grease-proof paper; place alternate layers of the mixture and the biscuits until the tin is filled, beginning and finishing with the mixture. Stand in cold place until set.