Coconut cream cake

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Kick start the summer with a mouthwatering tropical coconut cream cake. Nisha shows how this can pass off for a celebration cake. Or if you’re looking for a treat for tea time, then adapt them into pretty cupcakes with piped frosting.

When it comes to cakes, I love a simple vanilla cake with none of the jazz and over powering flavours. I also love vanilla cakes because they are so versatile. You can fill them with jam or cream or top them with fruits or soak them with syrup, the options are endless. I have these cake-craving days and its usually the plain ol’ vanilla cake that makes its way through on such days. Then there are the days I’m craving cake, but I’m also in the mood for some elaborate baking. And its on one such day that I decided to go all out and bake a coconut cream cake.

For us South Indians, coconut is part of our staple diet. We use it in a lot of curries and stir fries and most of us have a pack of frozen coconut stashed away in our freezer. Although I’m a big fan of coconut in curries and such, I’m not too fond of them in a sweet dish. So, apprehensive that I was with the final outcome of the coconut cake, I decided to give it a go, especially after I tried this really nice coconut loaf cake in a cafe in Holborn. And since I’m a sucker for tall, elegant looking cakes, it had to be one that made an impression. I decided to halve one of my favourite blogger, Tartelette’s recipe and set off baking.

I was done with the cake in about 2 hours and was pleasantly surprised by how tasty it was. It had the coconuty flavour coming through, but not in an overpowering sort of way, which was perfect for me. The moist sponge cake and the cream frosting together was a perfect match. It can easily pass off for a celebration cake, or if its for tea time, then adapt them into cupcakes and pipe out some frosting. The cake is fab without the frosting as well, if you prefer it that way. The next time I may add a dash or two of coconut rum to take it to the next level :)

Here’s kick starting summer with a tropical coconut cream cake.




For the cake

  • 160g of plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 85g of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 140g of sugar
  • 3 large eggs, seperated
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120ml of buttermilk
  • 60ml of coconut milk

For the coconut cream frosting

  • 190ml of double cream, cold
  • 25g of icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120ml of coconut cream, or replace with 1/4 cup coconut milk powder

To decorate


Sift together the plain flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl and keep aside. Separate about 2 tbsp of sugar from the lot and keep aside. If you are making your own buttermilk, add 1/2 tbsp vinegar to a bowl and pour in 1/2 a cup of milk. Let it stand for about 5, after which you can stir and use as required in the recipe
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4
Line three 6 inch cake pans with baking paper. Cream together the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment, till light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. If you don’t have an electric mixer, then a sturdy spatula would do. You may have to work it a bit longer though
Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Tip in the vanilla extract. Mix together the buttermilk and coconut milk in a measuring cup and keep ready. Turn down the mixer speed to lowest and add the flour and buttermilk mix one after the other, starting and ending with the flour
Into a clean bowl pour in the egg whites and whisk them (with the whisk attachment) until nice and frothy. Add the 2 tbsp of sugar you had kept aside to the egg whites and continue whisking till they turn glossy and stiff peaks begin to form. Make sure you don’t over do it, or else the meringue would become dry. Gently fold the egg whites into the flour mix, making sure you you don’t deflate the egg whites. Continue to fold them into the batter till no traces of egg white is visible
Pour the batter into prepared pans and bake in the centre rack of the preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or till a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and after about 10 minutes remove from container and leave aside to cool completely
When ready to frost, tip in the double cream, icing sugar and coconut powder into a clean bowl. Whisk the mix using a wire whisk or a whisk attachment till soft peaks form. Add vanilla extract and continue to whisk till stiff peaks form. If you over do the whisking, the cream can split and there is no way to rectify this. So be very careful
To assemble, mix together the desiccated coconut and icing sugar. Place the first cake on a serving plate and spread about 3 to 4 tbsp of frosting over it, using a spatula. It need not be perfectly spread out, but make sure you try and get them right to the sides. Sprinkle some of the desiccated coconut over the cream and top with the next cake, followed by frosting. Be generous with the frosting on top of the final cake. Even it out as much as possible, sprinkle desiccated coconut and garnish with a few berries
Please note: The cake needs to be stored in the refrigerator. The cakes can be made a day or 2 ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Cling wrap them once they have completely cooled and store. You may also want to moisten the cakes if making them ahead. You could soak the cake with some coconut rum, or a simple syrup of equal parts of sugar and water will do the trick as well

Nisha is a freelance writer, avid food blogger and wannabe food photographer.

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