Last year I was asked by a dear friend of mine, a beautiful baker and cake decorator, to make her a coconut cake. She was fighting for her life at the time. I believed that if I put enough love and mindfulness into the cooking of this cake it would save her. Sadly it did not. But it did make her happy. And now when I bake this cake, I think of Jules – so I guess while it didn’t keep her here with us, it is one thing that keeps her in my mind and heart. Bake it with love.
PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES
COOKING TIME: 45 MINUTES
2 cups caster sugar
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1?4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
125 g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 tablespoon coconut extract
380 g butter, at room temperature 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1?4 cup coconut extract
6 cups icing sugar mixture
1 cup apricot jam
4 cups toasted coconut flakes (see note)
1 cup moist coconut flakes (see note)
16 strawberries, hulled
1 Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease two 20 cm cake tins and line them with baking paper.
2 Using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat the
eggs for 4–5 minutes or until pale and creamy. With the mixer still running, gradually add the caster sugar and continue to beat for 3–4 minutes. The mixture is ready when it forms a ribbon. (When the paddle or spoon is lifted out of the mixture, it should leave a trail, like a ribbon, across the surface for a moment before it sinks in.)
3 Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Fold through the egg mixture.
4 In the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stovetop, heat the milk and butter until just melted. Add the vanilla and the coconut extract and gently fold the mixture through the batter. Pour half the batter into each tin.
5 Place the tins side by side on the centre shelf of the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until risen, golden brown, and starting to come away from the sides of the tins. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
6 To make the coconut buttercream, cream the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until lighter in colour. Add the vanilla
and coconut extract and mix for a moment to combine. Sift the icing sugar mixture into the bowl and combine on a low speed. When
the mixture is all wet, increase the speed and beat until light and fluffy. Place about 1?2 a cup of the icing in a piping bag with a 1 cm star- shaped nozzle.
7 To assemble the cake, cut the 2 cakes horizontally in half to create 4 layers. Warm the jam in a microwave-safe jug in the microwave for 40 seconds on high. Starting with the bottom
layer, spread the top with warm apricot jam and a 1 cm thick layer of coconut buttercream. Place the next 2 layers on top, each time adding a layer of jam and buttercream. Put the top layer on and spread a generous layer of buttercream over it. Use the remaining buttercream to evenly coat the sides of the cake. Carefully press toasted coconut flakes around the sides of the cake. Use the piping bag to pipe 16 small swirls of buttercream around the top of the cake. Sprinkle the moist coconut flakes over the top of the cake, avoiding the swirls. Place a strawberry on top of each swirl.
NOTE: Toasted coconut flakes and moist coconut flakes are available in the cake-making section of the supermarket.
Recipe and images taken from Homemade Takeaway by Julie Goodwin ($39.99), published by Hachette Australia. Buy the book here.
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