Sunday, 2 August 2009

Vanilla and coconut cake with sweet tobacco

Not sure how many of you will know the joys of sweet tobacco so the first thing I should explain is that it is not tobacco. A cake topped with tobacco would be quite revolting! Sweet tobacco is shredded coconut, lightly toasted then tossed in cocoa powder. Here it is:

Most Brits over 30 years old will have spent a large chunk of their pocket money in sweet shops where you bought “quarters” i.e. 4 ounces of your favourites – Tom Thumb pips, kola kubes, gummi bears, and – if you were flush – Cadbury’s chocolate √©clairs...ah....happy times. I wonder what today’s children buy in our metric world? 100g doesn’t quite conjure up the same romance!

On our recent day trip to Canterbury, the CCBF (Caked Crusader’s Boyfriend) and I found, purely by chance, an old fashioned sweetshop called Sugarboy and it sold sweet tobacco. Thus the idea for this cake was born. I also realised that, if there is ever a competition for eating sweet tobacco, I will be entering the CCBF pronto and placing hefty bets on him winning!

The sponge part of this cake is a Delia Smith recipe. She calls it an “all in one” cake advocating putting all the ingredients in the bowl at the same time and whisking until the batter is light and well combined. I know this would probably work but I just couldn't bring myself to carry out such an act of barbarism so my method below sets out a slower approach with each ingredient added separately.

The coconut Swiss meringue buttercream (SMBC) is simply my standard SMBC recipe but with coconut extract added instead of the more usual vanilla. It is a lovely combination of flavour and texture.


For the cake:
175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
175g golden caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
175g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

For the Swiss meringue buttercream:

4 egg whites
250g caster sugar
250g unsalted butter
1 teaspoon coconut extract (less is more, it’s quite pungent)

To decorate: Sweet tobacco, or any shredded or toasted coconut

How to make:

- Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan oven 150°C/325°F/Gas mark 3.

- Line the bottoms of two 20cm loose bottomed sandwich tins with baking paper.

- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Do not skimp on this stage as it’s the key to a lovely sponge.

- Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little of the flour if it starts to curdle.

- Beat in the vanilla extract.

- Beat in the flour and baking powder.

- If the batter is too stiff i.e. not dropping consistency, add a dash of milk – I didn’t need to.

- Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared tins. Level the surfaces.

- Bake for approx 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Mine took 35 minutes.

- Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tins before removing from the tins and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.

- The sponges can be made the day before and stored in airtight containers.

- Now make the swiss meringue buttercream. Place the egg whites and sugar in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir pretty much constantly to prevent the egg from cooking.

- After 5-10 minutes, when the sugar has dissolved (when you cannot see any crystals on the back of the spoon), remove the bowl from the pan of simmering water and whisk until the meringue has puffed up and the mix is cool.

- Add the butter and coconut extract to the meringue and whisk until the butter has been completely incorporated into the meringue. At first it will look a disaster – it will collapse and look curdled but don’t worry! Stop when the mixture is smooth, light and fluffy.

- Place one sponge on the serving plate and top with a third of the buttercream.

- Place the second sponge on top and press down gently to ensure the buttercream has levelled out.

- Use the remaining buttercream to cover the top and sides.

- Decorate as required – I used sweet tobacco

- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.

- Eat.


Garzazul said...


A_and_N said...

I love the idea of this cake!

trasha said...

Oh you need to get past your fear of mixing all togther b/c it makes a cracking kind of cake ;-)

Anonymous said...

Now that is a mighty looking cake! I'll take some of that sweet tobacco anyday! Oh gosh, my favorite candy bars when I was young was Crunch bars and flakes! Yum!

Margaret said...

I haven't seen sweet tobacco for years. I love coconut cake and just want a slice of yours - now!

Indigo said...

I'm glad you explained 'sweet tobacco' - I had a 'WHAT!?!?' moment when I read the subject title of this post, haha. Could have been interesting!

As it is, this just looks like a Really Good Cake, heh.

Christelle said...

Ah ah ah you really intrigued me and scared me with your sweet tobacco, !! I love your cake, just as i like them, I'll have to try it, the cream looks so good, humm!

Jane said...

I'm one of the many who've never heard of sweet tobacco, but what a delightful concept--coconut and cocoa! I must try it. Just discovered your site today and I really like it!

Will be back,

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

You had me worried there for a moment! But now I understand re the 'tobacco'. Scrummy-looking cake.

armouris said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

You can buy Sweet Tobacco here:

I found that website today and ordered some to use when I make the cake!