For the life of me, I cannot recall what triggered my need for a coconut cake this weekend but all I know is that the need was deep! The cake I was craving was simple – no fancy buttercream – just a good slab of sponge. Unlike Bono, I found what I was looking for.
When I perused the quantities in this recipe and then the recommended cake tin size I assumed that the cake maybe wouldn’t rise as much as the ingredients suggested; maybe the inclusion of the coconut cream would somehow prohibit the cake rising. Wrong! Look at the height of this cake – I love it! If you wanted a more normally proportioned cake I would suggest going up a tin size.
I’ve never used solidified coconut milk in a cake before and found it a fascinating ingredient. It looked pretty unappealing – like a block of Trex or Cookeen but smelled divine. As soon as it starts to warm i.e. even room temperature, it softens and you get a sense of the creaminess of the coconut. I grated it in a mini chopper as I think handling it too much might result in a mushy mess. The coconut milk was in the Indian, Thai, and Caribbean products aisle of my supermarket – it comes in a cardboard box shaped exactly like a block of butter.
Coconut cakes usually use desiccated coconut which adds flavour and texture to the sponge. The coconut milk added an extra layer of flavour – a rich creaminess, somehow making the sponge fuller flavoured in a way that made my mouth water.
The glace icing was delicious and benefits from the addition of a tiny amount of butter. The original recipe used water but I decided on a touch of decadence and used Malibu!
The recipe also provided measurements in cups, so for the benefit of my readers across the Pond I include them in the recipe below.
I’m now off on travels for work – I will try to visit as many of your lovely blogs as usual, but it might not be until next weekend!
For the cake:
440g (3 ½ cups) plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
250g (2 sticks) unsalted butter
315g (1 ¼ cups) caster sugar
60g (1/2 cup) desiccated coconut
35g (1/3 cup) solidified coconut milk, grated
185ml (3/4 cup) milk
For the glace icing:
15g (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Malibu, or water if you prefer
250g (1 ½ cups) icing sugar
Additional water, if required
To decorate: I used crystallised coconut from my local sweet shop but shredded coconut would be just as nice
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/fan oven 160˚C/350˚F/Gas mark 4.
Line a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper making sure the paper comes up 3-4cm above the height of the tin. If you want a flatter cake, consider using a 23cm round springform tin.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. You can do this in a food processor, if you prefer.
Stir in the sugar and both types of coconut.
Gradually beat the eggs and milk into the batter.
Transfer the batter (it will be thick but pourable) into the prepared tin and level the surface.
Bake for approximately 1 ½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. I checked mine after 1 hour 10 minutes but it needed the full 1 ½ hours.
Place the tin on a wire rack and, when the tin is cool enough to handle, remove the cake and leave on the wire rack to cool completely. You can make the cake a day in advance and store in an airtight container.
Now make the glace icing: place the Malibu (or water) and butter into a dish and microwave for 10 seconds or so, until the butter is soft enough to stir into the liquid.
Place the icing sugar in a bowl and gradually whisk in the butter and rum.
You may need to add additional water to reach the right consistency; ideally this will be thick, glossy but spoonable and spreadable.
Spoon the icing onto the top of the cake and spread gently. Work quickly as it will set. I spread it just over the sides but you can spread it all over if you wish.
Decorate with either shredded or crystallised coconut.
Leave to set for 10 minutes before serving.
Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.