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Thursday 16 May 2013

Coconut Fantasy Cake

You'll forgive my somewhat ridiculous naming of this cake, I know. You just have to understand that I was quite literally blown away by how beautifully soft, light and yet rich it was. A true coconut fantasy, and quite possibly the best use for Malibu there is. Aside from this.

I always used to think that I hated coconut. But now I am a man obsessed. This is known by my friends, who use it to lure me into trying new things. Recently, for example, Clare told me about her new morning lover, 'the Summer porridge', Bircher muesli. I feigned a polite, yet vague, interest, knowing that porridge is good in any season, and carried on with my life.

But then I received the following text, late one night:

Just about to prepare my Bircher muesli for the morning. It will contain dessicated coconut.
Let's be clear about this. I paid attention. Leaving for work the next day, I didn't have a chance to follow her lead but I literally cannot wait to get home and try this Bircher stuff out. I'm going to experiment with coconut and raspberry first, but also want to try getting some pineapple or dried mango in there. Delicious.

Now, I'm going to bring it back to this cake.

It is a genoise. I won't be apologising for that but I will be saying that I feel like nobody makes these cakes except for me. Which I do understand when professionals tell you that they whip egg whites, crush garlic to a paste and do all those other laborious kitchen tasks by hand. Do me a favour and ignore them. Make this. Then tell me.

The thing with lots of coconut flavoured cakes is that they contain coconut in the batter. That's lovely, sometimes, but it does lead to rather a heavy cake. If you want the kind of crumb that holds together in feathery, cloud-like perfection, then you need a genoise. Pure and simple.

Want to do that by hand? Thought not.

The recipe for the cake is here. I made up a half batch and baked it in a 6' deep sided cake tin, slicing it when cool into two layers and soaking each one with 2 tbsps Malibu. It's not a strong liqueur and as very sweet, so there's no need to thin it down with sugar syrup.

The icing is special. Follow me.

Coconut Buttercream

You will need:

3 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
85g golden syrup
250g butter, cool, but squishable
3 tbsp Malibu
2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. In a large heatproof bowl, put the egg yolks and beat them on high speed with an electric beater for about a minute, or until slightly thickened.
  2. Put the sugar and syrup into a small saucepan and stir until all the sugar is moistened. Then place on a medium heat, stirring constantly until the edges of the mixture start to bubble. Stop stirring and remove the spoon or spatula you were using from the mixture.
  3. Allow the syrup mixture to reach a full rolling boil. This means that you should see large bubbles over the entire surface, including the centre. It shouldn't take long.
  4. Begin rebeating the yolks again, on medium speed, and immediately pour in half of the syrup. Avoid pouring it directly on the beaters, as it will splash against the side of the bowl. Beat for around 30 seconds then add the remaining syrup in the same way. This time beat the egg yolk mixture until the outside of the bowl is cool to the touch. That will take maybe 10 minutes or so.
  5. Add the butter gradually, on medium speed. Once all the butter has been incorporated, add the Malibu and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Use to frost the cake and decorate with grated coconut, which I buy frozen from my Indian supermarket. You could use dessicated if you prefer, or grate a fresh coconut.


  1. Mr P, that sounds splendid. I, too, love a good, light coconut cake. And now you've got me craving one!

  2. I love coconut and genoise is just the best cake, hands down. I even have one of those coconut graters that clamp to the table and grate it right out of the shell. I might b a bit obsessed too...


That's what he said.

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