A fresh coconut cake

I was on the verge of writing about a great new jerk place I’ve discovered in Peckham but when it came down to business, I just couldn’t do it to you. She’s writing about jerk, again?! May as well re-name the blog Jerk Stories and be done with it.

So I’ve spared you. For now.

What do you want? What does anyone want instead of some juicy jerk and a hummin’ curry goat I asked myself. Probably a pretty little cake or something.

Here you go then; here’s your cake. The only real woman-power involved is dealing with your coconut. It’s easiest to break them open with a hammer but I don’t have one so I just smashed it against the wall a couple of times. Once you’ve cracked it, the best way to remove the insides is to use one of those nifty winding corkscrew de-flesher wotsits but you probably don’t have one (me neither), so carefully slip some kind of implement (I used a combination of butter knife, skewer and thin-lipped spoon) between husk and flesh; large pieces will ping out across your kitchen. You can then retrieve them and go about the business of grating. It’s a faff. I recommend investing in the proper equipment. Whatever happens though, don’t use desiccated coconut; it’s gross.

This recipe was sent to me by a friend. It’s light, so you can eat a gargantuan slice without feeling sick, which is brilliant or dangerous, depending on your attitude towards healthy eating. I ate too much, then packed the rest off to work with Chris. We take it in turns to feed the fruits of my labour to our colleagues, thus garnering favour in both camps. This earns me extra cups of tea throughout my working day and means I can gatecrash Chris’ work events every now and then, (“just happened to be passing…”) where the beer is always free flowing and the people are nice. Nothing keeps things sweet like a slice of cake. Except perhaps a leg of jerk chicken.

A fresh coconut cake
(This is my friend’s recipe. She has asked me to say that she is not entirely happy with the icing, so there you go, I’ve said it).

This fills 2 x 20cm loose-bottomed cake tins

For the cake
175g self-raising flour
75g fresh coconut, grated
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs
175g butter, softened
175g golden caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the icing
100g softened butter
100g icing sugar
200g softened cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
50g coconut, grated, plus extra to garnish

Preheat the oven to 170C
Grease and line the two tins with greaseproof paper

Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Add the eggs, butter, vanilla and sugar and beat for a couple of minutes on low speed until well combined. You can do this without an electric mixer, using a wooden spoon. Add the coconut, stir it in and divide the mixture evenly between the two tins. Cook in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes or so, until evenly golden and a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tins and then turn out onto a wire cooling rack. I find the easiest way is to position your cake tins on top of a can or jar then let the sides drop down leaving the cake and base of the tin resting on top.

When ready to make the icing, beat the cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and vanilla and mix well then add the coconut and mix again. When the cake is cool, spread one third of the icing between the two layers and sandwich them together. Spread the remaining two thirds over the top and around the sides and then garnish with extra grated coconut as desired.

Category: Cakes | Tags: , , , , , , 18 comments »

18 Responses to “A fresh coconut cake”

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  2. catty

    oh WOW. Coconut is one of my favourite things and this just has me drooling. It looks AMAZING, Helen, and good on you for using a real fresh coconut!! :)

  3. shayma

    lovely. so cheering to see you used *real* coconut, i cant stand dessicated coconut. the cake looks beautiful. x shayma

  4. ginandcrumpets

    Ah, scraping out the inside of the coconut. One of those tasks that you think: “How bad can it be?” and then two hours later you’re sprawled on the floor, your entire cutlery draw spread around you, all bent out of shape, and still most of the coconut remains in the shell. They are fiendish beasties.

    Icing looks/sounds good to me – cream cheese icing, how could anyone be unhappy with it?

  5. Dr Mandragora

    This recipe looks rather interesting and I think I am going to try it this weekend.

    Just a quick comment, though. If you bake the coconut(s) for an hour at 350F, not only will they crack open very easily, but the white flesh separates from the brown shell with no trouble at all. In fact, you won’t even need a knife; your fingers will be able to do the trick remarkably well. Hope that helps!

    Dr M

  6. Hamburger Recipe

    awesome! looks like so delicious! I wanna take it testy! :)

  7. Sharmila

    This looks lovely. Good old coconut. My mum has one of the spinny grater things – it was one of my favourite bits of kitchen equipment when I was little – probably because it looked a bit like a weapon.

    You could always use my mums method of cracking coconuts on your front step? It always worked for her.

  8. Lizzie

    I hear your pain on the coconut. I whacked mine with the back of a knife repeatedly until I went quite bonkers and it finally popped open. I’m STILL finding bits of coconut all over my kitchen.

    That cake looks proper ace.

  9. gastrogeek

    Ahem. As a proud owner of said spinny coconut extracting device, I can confirm that they are in fact A LOT of fun to use and retail at a mere 5 squids from Taj Stores on Brick Lane. The Bangla grocer called “ASS” just next door to Tayyabs undoubtedly sells them too. Just remember to pick one up next time you get that tandoori paneer booty call. Love the recipe!

  10. Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen

    It looks really delicious, Helen! And you can tell your friend the icing looks good too!

  11. Miss Orchid

    This cake looks divine! I was fortunate enough to be on holiday recently in a place where they are able to grow coconuts. I saw some of the locals cutting them down and then tackling them with a machete. Was very scary but you could tell they knew what they were doing (unlike that awful woman on The Restaurant series 3 (?) who tackled the coconut with a cleaver from a great height!)

    Thanks for the recipe.

  12. Maralyn Jones

    I will be trying this receipe but instead of using some coconut for icing i would love to use some cream for it.

  13. Laura

    Oh man, now I really want a piece of cake. Maybe I’ll make one of these tonight for the dinner party I’m hosting.

  14. Margaret

    Looks gorgeous! Absolute wow!

  15. Tales from the Tiny Kitchen

    Flamin’ heck, this cake looks absolutely lush. I think I would have to eat the whole thing on my own with a spoon. Would you ever condone the use of dried coconut strips, or is that too much like dessicated coconut?

  16. Georgia

    I made this yesterday for some friends, and they all adored it :) If your not happy with the icing, I used 150g of cream cheese and 200g of coconut white chocolate melted together. It was reaaally delicious!

  17. Krista

    I thought I commented on this previously but I guess not. I’ve actually been thinking about this cake ever since I read about it! Love love love coconut. The kitchen in my new place is HUGE and I’m so excited to bake in it. Cook, maybe. Bake, for sure. (Open invite to visit anytime!)

  18. bea

    Here’s a tip from Gastronomy Domine on opening coconuts! http://www.gastronomydomine.com/?p=1224


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