A few weeks ago, while passing some pre-flight time in the Qantas Club, I had (I believe) my first Iced Vovo biscuit. It was followed quite rapidly by my second to fourth Iced Vovo biscuits. Living in Australia and New Zealand, I’ve been aware of these biccies for many years. If you live elsewhere in the world, you probably haven’t met them before. A Vovo is a plain vanilla biscuit with two stripes of slightly soft pink icing and a stripe of raspberry jam, all sprinkled with dessicated coconut. They’re made by the Australian biscuit magnate, Arnotts.
Immediately, it was clear to me what needed to happen next. “Iced Vovo” cake. A bit of internet searching revealed a few recipes, mostly ones that looked slightly ick. Time to improvise.
First: my best buttercake as a base. Its yellow, tender and finely crumbed, and is the perfect partner for fun frosting.
Second: marshmallow buttercream. Melted pink marshmallows are beaten into butter and icing sugar…. mmmm. The buttercream sets into a soft, marshmallowy frosting that tastes exactly like the original biscuits.
Third, my favourite, Gin, Vanilla and Raspberry Jam.
Most of the “Iced Vovo” cakes out there are frosted to look like a big single cookie. Cute, but a bit impractical to serve. You want every bite to have both frosting and jam. Solution: more stripes.
“Iced Vovo” Cake
Makes a 20x25cm cake
115g butter, softened
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup self raising flour
2 tbsp cornflour
1/4 cup milk
Pink Marshmallow Buttercream, to decorate
1/3 cup raspberry jam (if you have time, make some of my super easy, super awesome Gin, Vanilla and Raspberry Jam), to decorate
2-3 tbsp fine dessicated coconut, to decorate
Line the bottom and sides of a 20×25 cm cake pan with baking paper.
Beat the butter and sugar together until the mixture is light and creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add the vanilla and salt and mix well. Sift the flour and cornflour over the mixture and add milk. Mix to combine, then beat the mixture until it is light and creamy.
Spread the cake mixture into the prepared pan, and bake at 175°C for approximately 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake on a wire rack. When the cake is cold, trim the cake to remove most if the rounded top.
To frost the cake, you can either spread two wide stripes of Pink Marshmallow Buttercream down the long sides of the cake, and fill the centre with jam, or you can load the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a 7mm round nozzle. Pipe a 1-1.5 cm wide stripe down each long edge of the cake, one down the centre line, and two more stripes in between the ones you’ve already made – five stripes in total. Flatten the stripes lightly with a palette knife. Load the raspberry jam into a small disposable piping bag with no nozzle (or a small snap-lock bag), snip the tip to make an opening about 6mm wide and pipe the jam in between the stripes of buttercream. Gently spread the jam into the crevices with a small knife. Sprinkle lightly but evenly with the coconut.
Pink Marshmallow Buttercream
75g icing sugar
75g pink marshmallows
a touch of dark pink colouring, if desired
Beat the butter and icing sugar together until light and creamy. Place the marshmallows in a microwave proof bowl and microwave on high for 20 seconds or until the marshmallows puff up and soften. Add the marshmallows to the butter mixture and beat on high-speed to incorporate completely. Tint with pink colouring if desired. If the buttercream is overly runny, refrigerate for 15 minutes then beat again.