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Thursday 5 May 2011

Pretty Much Perfect Coconut-Raspberry Cake


Mauritius... Merely a happy memory. A vanilla- and coconut-scented paradise island, with sandy beaches as white as the freshly laundered shirts hanging on my washing line, that are even as I type being pelted with the best Spring rain South Wales can muster.

Still. I wouldn't have it any other way. For just this very morning - just! - I decided to take a risk and throw my lovely (but grubby) dry clean only (oh whatever) white trousers in to the washer with the multiple short-sleeved white shirts of this here flight attendant. And do you know what? They came out fine. Better than fine. Pristine even. So today, even the bad weather making me wish I were still in Mauritius isn't going to put me in a bad mood. I have just discovered I can save myself an absolute fortune in dry cleaning bills. I think that's what's known as a turn out for the books.

Today's glass, readers, is half full.

Oh, and have a look at this too. Happiness indeed. Thank you Channel 4. Mo konten twa. You didn't know I spoke Creole, did you?

(I don't.)

Fortunately, you don't need to speak Creole to make something this yummy...

I think it's absolutely one of the worst things in life (scabies and natural disasters notwithstanding) to taste something beyond perfection when travelling and know that you'll never be able to recreate it yourself when you get home. I still dream about the banana leaf curries I ate in Ipoh, Malaysia, and the fancy restaurant fare we splurged on in Sydney. I didn't think Mauritius was going to be that kind of a holiday. Yes, the seafood was beyond amazing, but give me some fresh fish and a barbecue in the Summer and what we make in our back garden will do just as well. We ate freshly prepared roti and daal in the market in Mah├ębourg, and they were wonderful, but I make a pretty mean roti myself, so I'm not going to be losing sleep there either.

No. What Mauritius did to me is unforgivable, and it happened over dinner. The chefs in my hotel made a coconut cake that was so light, fluffy and heady with the scent of freshly cracked coconuts that I almost had to be forcibly removed from it. Topped with a marshmallow-soft icing and strands of freshly sugared coconut, seriously, I could have eaten the whole cake.

This marks a new chapter in my life. In the past, coconut has never really been my favourite flavour. But now I am a new man. A man who eats both halves of the Bounty by himself (sharing is not caring in this case).

I knew that I would have to attempt to recreate this holiday wonder cake in my Cardiff kitchen, and considered my options carefully. Life is often cruel, as anyone who has ever dealt with a fresh coconut will know: why is it so hard to get to the precious white stuff inside? I decided that my coconut wherewithal would have to come from a tin of coconut milk instead of the actual nuts. The last time I got friendly with a coconut was too much of a work out for my liking, and in addition, the kitchen is no place for a hammer.

So I went back to my beloved Rose's Heavenly Cakes, and had a look at what The Beranbaum had to offer. She had a lot; I added some extra coconut milk to one of her stars, and the result is this coconut flavoured layer cake, filled with raspberry mascarpone cream. In the unseasonally hot Spring we've been having (until today!), I decided a completely covered in frosting type cake would be a bad idea, and besides, some Spanish raspberries seduced me in the Co-Op. Nobody is saying no to those crimson little sluts.

It's not what I set out for it to be. But it's pretty much perfect anyway.

Pretty Much Perfect Coconut-Raspberry Cake

You will need:

400g plain flour
400g caster sugar
5 tsp baking powder
225g unsalted butter, softened
5 egg whites
400ml coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

250g mascarpone
1 small punnet raspberries (about 150g)
3 tbsp icing sugar, or to taste

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line two 24cm cake tins.
  2. Put the flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Mix together well to distribute the baking powder using a wire whisk. Add the butter, cubed, and two thirds of the coconut milk. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the ingredients just together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to beat on high speed for 2 minutes.
  3. In another bowl, mix the egg whites, remaining coconut milk and vanilla together; add this mixture in batches to the flour mix, beating well after each addition.
  4. Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for around 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean.
  5. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes and then unmould onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
  6. Mix the filling ingredients together roughly. Check to see if it is sweet enough - you may want more sugar, or some vanilla. Use to sandwich the two sponges together. Serve in fat wedges.


  1. Ooh this looks utterly fab! Really springlike.

    Hope you had a great time in Mauritius. (And I've been to Ipoh too - you don't meet many people who have!)

  2. Reading your post I too feel as though I have just spent two weeks in the Bounty-advert that is Mauritius. Never been mind, but definitely want to go now. That'll be two flights, next available, to Mauritius please.

    That delicious sounding cake of yours I can practically taste solely upon reading your description. Yummm-my.

  3. I was sucker for the coconut ice cream when I went to Mauritius! The filling on your cake looks amazing!

  4. oh wow!! your images always draw me in, and this was no exception! sounds and looks amazing...i know what you mean about re-creating from travels...it is hard...but looks like you pretty much pulled it off. love the idea of using mascarpone as well! :)

  5. Congratulations.
    Congratulations on your blog, I think it is beautiful and works are exquisite. I'm here to follow you.
    We invite you to visit my blog, I hope you like my work and follow me. A hug from Spain.

  6. THANK GOD you're back! I thought you might have crashed over Mauritius!

    The coconut cake looks very yummy btw.....

    Kate R

  7. Just when I was thinking you weren't coming back at all ... Welcome back to the Blogosphere, Mr P! Your cake looks wonderful. I agree, it did not need piles of frosting. I just made (and wrote about) my favorite strawberry jam and plan to use some in a cake soon.

  8. I just discovered your blog this morning while googling for a bizcocho recipe - can't believe it's taken me this long to discover it! I love all your recipes and photos. The bizcocho is in my oven right now, looking forward to trying out lots more :)

  9. looks divine... and I need another fab cake for the boys at the tearoom... welcome home x

  10. Mmm, what a piece of cake that is. I don't think one slice would be enough for me. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link your cake up. http://sweet-as-sugar-cookies.blogspot.com/2011/05/sweets-for-saturday-16.html

  11. I love coconut and raspberries, so this sounds like a perfect cake to me. It looks beautiful, and will make me dream of Mauritius (or mascarpone) tonight.

  12. What a beautiful cake - looks light and moist and totally delicious. I love the combination of coconut and raspberries, although I might be tempted to sneak a little bit of chocolate in there, Bounty style, if i make it!

  13. i love all that is coconut!!

  14. Sounds like a seriously delicious flavour combination. Yum.

  15. I have a stack of egg whites cryogenically frozen, so this cake would be pretty much perfect to use up a few of them - and easier than macarons.

  16. Thank you for this fabulous recipe. I was intrigued by the use of coconut milk, and so had to try it. The result was, well, delicious.

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  18. This cake was delicious, thanks for sharing the recipe!


    1. I'm right off to check the link out now!


That's what he said.

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