coconut layer cake

I was given a copy of Ottolenghi Test Kitchen - Shelf Love for Christmas last year. Until now I'd only made savoury items from the book, all of which have been delicious, but I thought the time had come to make something sweet.

I looked through the book and decided to make the Coconut Dream Cake but made a few changes. I really dislike the flavour of cardamom in sweet goods and cardamom features heavily in the recipe so I left it out swapping it for vanilla.

I also reduced the quantity of coconut milk in the cake batter otherwise the batter would have turned into soup. The cake also needed a touch more bicarbonate of soda than suggested as it barely rose in the centre. In the end I used my own cream cheese icing recipe because I really like it.

The coconut topping was delicious and I had to hide it away to stop me eating it all before I could decorate the cake.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a double layer 17cm cake. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. 

Coconut layer cake – makes a 17cm cake, inspired by an Ottolenghi recipe from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen - Shelf Love

215g (1 and 1/2 cups) self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
pinch salt
200g (scant 1 cup) caster sugar
114g (4 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature, then cut into 3 cm cubes
100g (3) egg whites at room temperature
80g (1/3 cup) Greek yoghurt at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
125 ml (1/2 cup) full fat coconut milk

75g unsalted butter at room temperature, then cut into 3 cm cubes
75g full fat cream cheese
Pinch salt
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
125g (3/4 cup) icing sugar, sifted

Coconut topping
70 g coconut flakes
1 tbs maple syrup
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180⁰C conventional. Grease and line the base of 2 x 17 cm round springform cake tins with baking paper. You can bake the 2 cakes one at a time if you only have one round tin.

Place the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl and whisk together to combine.

Place the caster sugar and softened butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on a medium-high speed until light and fluffy - approximately 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides with a spatula. Lower the speed to medium and add the egg whites. Mix until just incorporated, and then add the yoghurt and vanilla bean paste. Beat for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides again with a spatula. Add one-third of the flour mixture and one-third of the coconut milk. Alternate these until combined, and the mixture is smooth.

Transfer half of the mixture (about 385g) into one tin and the other half of the mix in the other prepared tin. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake skewer comes out clean. If you only have one round tin, allow the first cake to cool slightly after cooking and release it carefully from the cake tin. Line the tin again and now bake the other cake for 35 minutes. Allow both cakes to cool completely.

Coconut topping
Place the coconut flakes, maple syrup and salt on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Toss to combine. Bake for 8 minutes at 180⁰C conventional. Stir everything again & bake for a further 5 minutes or until golden and crispy. Set aside to cool and it will crisp up further.

Place the butter, cream cheese, salt and vanilla paste in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium-high heat until light and creamy. Add the icing sugar and mix on medium-low speed until combined. If the icing is looking a bit soft, refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Spread a little less than half of the icing on the top of one of the cakes. Gently place the other cake on top. Spread the remaining icing on the top of the cakes using an offset spatula to help you. If it looks a little messy, it is no problem, and it is all part of the charm. Top with the coconut topping, leaving the sides exposed.

You can make the coconut topping up to three days ahead. Store in an airtight container.

You can make the coconut icing up to three days ahead. Store in a container or bowl, well covered, in the fridge. Allow it to soften outside of the fridge before icing the cake.

You can make the cakes a day ahead. Wrap well to store then assemble and ice on the day. Store the iced cake in the refrigerator but don't top the cake with the coconut topping until just before serving.

I shared the cake with my neighbours and workmates and it was declared 'delicious' by one and all. 

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



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