Coconut cake

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Karen Burns-Booth's spectacular coconut cake recipe is everything you'd want from a showstopping bake. Light, creamy and ethereal in its beauty, this cake would make a great centrepiece to any celebration.

First published in 2016
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This is a beautiful big gateau-style cake that I remember with great fondness from when I lived in the USA; large and blousy, covered with cream and coconut, this cake is made with a classic angel food cake base, before being sandwiched together with whipped cream and coconut cream layers.

This is just the type of cake that my American friends and neighbours would make for Easter, or any other spring celebration, as well as for Mother’s Day and birthdays. You need to get hold of coconut flakes or shredded coconut for the decoration; these are large dried pieces of coconut that are sometimes lightly toasted, and are very different to desiccated coconut that will not work with this cake.

Make the cake the day before you plan to serve it, as once the whipped coconut cream is added, it needs to be kept in the fridge and as it is a very big cake, it’s best eaten on the same day, which is never a problem in my house! You can also freeze the basic angel food cake once made, it only takes a few hours to defrost and is then ready to add the coconut cream layers.

It is essential when making an angel food cake that the cake tins are free of fat and there are no egg yolks in the egg whites.

For this recipe, you need two deep 20cm ungreased cake tins, not loose-bottomed.




Angel food cake

  • 225g of self-raising flour
  • 300g of caster sugar, divided into 2 bowls
  • 12 large egg whites, at room temperature (make sure there is absolutely no egg yolk in the whites)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Coconut cream filling and topping


Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5
To make the angel food cake, sift the flour and 150g of the sugar together into a mixing bowl and set aside
Whisk the egg whites in a food mixer with the cream of tartar and salt until stiff peaks form
Add the flour and sugar mixture, remaining sugar and vanilla extract and beat on low until well-mixed. You should have a thick batter that is glossy and white
Pour or spoon the batter into the cake tins and bake for 30–35 minutes until the cakes spring away from the sides of the tins and are a pale golden brown
Gently run a butter knife around the edges of the cake tins to loosen the cakes, then invert them onto a wire cooking rack. Allow to cool before cutting horizontally through the middle of each cake to make 4 sponge layers
To make the coconut cream, beat the cold coconut cream with the whipping cream until stiff peaks form and you have a nice thick mixture
Sandwich the 4 layers together with the coconut cream, then swirl the remaining coconut cream all over the top and sides of the layered cake. Scatter the coconut flakes or shredded coconut all over the outside the cake and cut into slices to serve. Refrigerate any leftover cake for up to 48 hours
First published in 2016

Karen Burns-Booth is a freelance food & travel writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a passion for local, seasonal ingredients.

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