Sunday, 25 September 2011

Macmillan Cancer Support Coconut Cake

You may have seen adverts or mentions for the “World’s Biggest Coffee Morning” on Friday 30th September
; now in its 21st year this event encourages people to take some time out with their nearest and dearest, enjoy a cup of coffee (or tea!) and perhaps a slice of lovely cake whilst raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

This year, even if you can’t hold or attend an event you can do your bit by buying Macmillan’s Little Book of Treats from any M&S Cafe – the book is amazing; it’s only £3 and has 31 recipes in it...and I honestly want to make ALL of them! And if that isn’t for you, you can simply buy any from a range of nine products in an M&S Cafe and they will donate 10p to Macmillan for each purchase.

So, faced with a book where I wanted to make all 31 recipes what did I pick? I followed my heart and went with one of my true loves – coconut! The moist coconut cake recipe is lovely and I made minimal tweaks to it.

The cake has an interesting method in that you soak the desiccated coconut in the milk for a few hours to plump it up before adding to the cake batter. Not only does this soften the coconut, but it also infuses the milk a bit too. I will definitely be using that tip again.

Textures are important in this cake; the soft, moist sponge is one of the lightest I’ve ever made – you’d almost swear it was made with only the white from the egg (it isn’t). The white icing was thinner than I’m used to and set with an almost crisp, shell-like quality. I loved it – cake perfection!

I really rate this tip I picked up from watching Ina Garten
– stand the cake on 4 squares of paper or foil before pouring on runny icing. These protect the plate from having a puddle of icing – simply remove i.e. pull out when the icing is set! Here are the three stages:

If you’re hosting a coffee morning on 30th September you won’t go far wrong with this cake. I could eat it forever if there was a continual supply of cups of tea!


For the cake:

100g desiccated coconut
150ml milk
110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g caster sugar
2 eggs
250g self raising flour

For the icing:

25g desiccated coconut – or you can use sweet tobacco (it’s just a name – it isn’t tobacco), available from sweet shops – it’s toasted shredded coconut tossed in cocoa powder
200g icing sugar
75ml water or lemon juice – I used water


2-4 hours before you wish to start baking, soak the coconut in milk.

Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan oven 150°C/340°F/gas mark 3.

Line a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper.

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. It won’t go creamy as it normally would because the amount of butter has been reduced to accommodate the milk.

Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Gently stir in the flour, coconut and milk.

Spoon into the prepared tin and level the surface.

Bake for approximately 1 - 1 hour 15 mins or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out cleanly. Check it after an hour and cover the top with foil if it’s browning too much.

Leave to cool, in the tin, on a wire rack. When the cake is cool enough to handle de-tin it and leave to cool completely on the wire rack.

Now make the icing: sprinkle the desiccated coconut into a dry frying pan and toast gently. It will burn quickly so don’t leave it unattended. I used sweet tobacco from a sweet shop (it doesn’t contain tobacco)

Tip onto a plate and leave to cool.

Place the icing sugar in a bowl and gradually beat in the water/lemon juice – you may not need it all. Beat until you have a glossy, thick, lump free icing. You want a consistency that will ooze but not run...if that makes sense!

Stand the cake on 4 squares of paper or foil – this will collect any icing and stop it pooling on the plate. Simply remove when the icing is set.

Drizzle the icing over the cake and allow it to ooze down the sides a little.

Sprinkle the toasted coconut on top.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Caroline said...

Wow, looks fabulously light - I'm very impressed with the outcome of a cake with such simple ingredients.

A very worthy cause indeed, I must look for the book.

Gloria Baker said...

This cake sounds a nd look delicious!!! gloria

Jean said...

This looks beautiful and so simple. Lovely photos, too. I adore coconut ~ have never heard of tobacco dust so will have to seek that out.

I am going to a friends Macmillan coffee morning so I am tempted to take this cake as well as the brownies I promised!

Soo said...

Will definitely be buying the book - a good cause and a great excuse to make coconut cake. (Not, I realise, anyone needs an excuse to make cake.)

Kezia said...

I'm not generally a fan of coconut, but this looks so good I might have to give it a try!
I'll also look out for the book as well, often little recipe books don't really have anything interesting in them but if you thought it was so good then it probably is!

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

We're holding a coffee morning next week to raise funds! The only problem is that we have to provide wrapped treats as we're selling them to the public in the hospital...but I'm definitely hotfooting it to M&S to buy me a copy of that book to help an excellent excellent charity

Irishbaker said...

Love cocunut cake,and this one looks delicious !:)

Rachael said...

This looks lovely! Im doing a bake sale for Macmillan on 1st October and will have to try this!

Miz Ratti said...

That looks amazing, I must get the book!

Victory Rolls & Mixing Bowls said...

im not usually a coconut fan but this lokos lovely you can see how fluffy it is!


Sunshine - said...

I am not big on coconut, but this cake looks awesome. It is for a wonderful cause. Yaaaay...

cocoa and coconut said...

This looks like a really delicious cake. I love your presentation.

Good work for supporting this cause.

Katie said...

That looks a lovely cake. Great tip on soaking the coconut, I'm going to have to try that!

Cakelaw said...

What a fab cake. I have never heard of soaking coconut in milk before - it is an interesting technique.

Nickki said...

Wow that does look really light and fluffy! I love coconut cakes so I've bookmarked this recipe to try :-)

Unknown said...

What a great cause to support...I love coconut and cake and this one looks so light and soft it should be called sinfully soft or deliciously decadent:)

Brownieville Girl said...

Think I could eat it forever too!!

Love the idea of soaking the coconut.

Anonymous said...

As a Caped Crusader, I expect you could drop this beauty off on my doorstep.
Please don't. I'm going to replicate your masterpiece while you deliver the next great recipe.

Maggie said...

Packet coconut seems to get harder and harder these days and this is a great tip to soften it.
My kind of cake, and the milk has had a lovely whitening effect and given you a tender crumb too.
I will look out for this baking book CC, especially after looking at your magnificent cake.

Kezia said...

I've just made this cake and its delicious! Even the people in my family who don't like coconut loved this!

t said...

That cake looks so good!

Hazel - Chicken in a Cherry Sauce said...

What a wonderful tip on soaking the coconut in milk! I will definitely use that next time I make a coconut cake. Looks wonderful!

Lucy said...

Thank you for sharing about the Macmillan cookery book - I shall definitely look out for it. This coconut cake sounds delicious - love the idea of the coconut infused milk!

LaMagicaZucca said...

Beautiful blog!
I love your recipes and presentation of dishes.
I have added to your followers.
If you want, come and visit me, you're welcome

Tammy said...

Oh how delicious! I could go for a slice!!
Anything with coconut in it, I will eat!


Anonymous said...

I missed the MacMillan coffee morning but will definitely be buying the book - helping a good cause AND incredible could you go wrong! This coconut cake looks delicious - really light and moist. Great post.

Alison's Bakery said...

OMG - I've been an avid reader of your blog for ages and had come on this morning to thank you for the recipe for Ginger Squares and to say I've just started reading Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe and imagine my surprise when I see my recipe from The Little Book of Treats featured on your fab blog. I'm sat here recovering from a shoulder replacement op, no baking for me for a while :-( and you've made my day....thank you xx

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Alison

I'm chuffed that you saw my blog post - it's an awesome cake and the tip about soaking the coconut in milk is a revelation.

Hope you recover from your op and get back to baking soon

Happy baking

Cakelaw said...

Thkis cake looks so gloriously light and fluffy - perfect for teatime.

Michael Dan said...

The photos of your cakes looks delicious, it reminds me of the cakes my Nana would bake. Anything for a cake with Desiccated coconut, surely I will crave for it!