Sunday, 11 November 2007

Coconut Cake

This was actually posted on 17th November - it's showing 11th November because I created a stock of items on this day as I'm working abroad for a short while and didn't want my site to get stale!

If vanilla didn’t exist, far more of my thoughts and hankerings would be turned over to coconut. I love it in any sweet cooking but abhor it in any savoury. I thought, naively, that the world shared my coconut love. However, on mentioning my plan to make a coconut cake to my colleague Alan (the poet, if you recall) he said “that might be a tougher one to promote”. I’m not ashamed to admit that I reeled – yes, reeled – at such a comment.

Is coconut really so out of favour with the great British public in anything other than some revolting Thai dish?

This cake is lovely and, unashamedly coconut obsessed – there’s coconut in the cake and on the buttercream. The recipe is adapted from a traditional British country cake called “Coconut Pound Cake” in which the recipe calls for some pink food colouring in the cake mix. I’m not a fan of adding colouring unnecessarily to a recipe so haven’t. If it’s important to you to be traditional then go ahead. I don’t think it will make any difference to the taste.

The cake is crumbly but moist and the buttercream has that lovely smoothness to it that tells you you’re eating something tasty but naughty.

I would put this in the category of “cakes that look like you spent much longer making than you really did”. (Incidentally, if you're wondering about the lovely plate the cake is on it's from the Bahamas and the decoration around the edge is of Junkanoo headdresses)

For the cake:
225g unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
115g desiccated coconut
225g self raising flour

For the buttercream:
225g icing sugar
115g unsalted butter, softened
3-4 tablespoons desiccated coconut

1 glace cherry to decorate, optional

How to make:

- Preheat oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/ Gas mark 4 and line either an 18cm round tin with greaseproof paper.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Don’t skimp on this stage as I think it is the foundation of success. Take a tiny piece of the mix and place on your tongue. Press it to the roof of your mouth – if it’s gritty the mix needs more beating. When it’s smooth you can move to the next stage.
- Beat in the eggs, then the coconut, then the flour.
- Spoon into the cake tin and bake for about an hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Mine took about 1 hour 10 minutes but it’s probably worth checking on it after about 45 minutes as ovens vary greatly.
- Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin and then remove from the tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
- For the buttercream, cream the butter and icing sugar together until very smooth and spread onto the top (and sides if you wish) of the cake.
- Immediately after, sprinkle on the desiccated coconut.
- I tend to make the cake the day before I want it, and then make the buttercream on the morning of the day on which the cake will be served.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.


Carolyn said...

mmm I love coconut cake, that certainly looks a nice one - and think white is better than pink

Peabody said...

Reminds me of the one my great grandmother made growning up.