Coconut is one of my favourite flavours, but I don’t bake as much as I’d like with it. I’ve had this recipe for lemon coconut cake in my folder since last Easter, and when it was decided that there would be a huge Easter bake sale at work this week for a mega fundraising effort, I knew I was probably going to make this cake.
I don’t make many layer cakes, mostly because I’m not properly equipped for them – you usually need several shallow cake tins of the same size, and I always seem to have one fewer than needed (for my favourite Victoria sponge recipe, I always bake one big cake and slice it in half). For this three-layer cake, then, I had to be a little inventive. I ended up using my deep cake tin to bake two-thirds of the mixture for longer than stated and for cutting in half later, and a shallower tin of the same size for the rest. I probably should have measured the mix in a jug or something, because each layer turned out a slightly different size!
No matter. While the cake looks like one big glorious mess (I really need the cake decorating class I signed up to recently!) it tastes divine. A word of warning: this is not a cake to try if you’re a bit scared of calories. The cake itself contains a hefty amount of sugar and butter, while the cream cheese icing is pretty much just pure fat. But it’s well worth it. The combination of the tangy lemon curd, super rich icing and light coconut sponge is wonderful. I would personally prefer a bit more coconut flavour, but my mum (who is notoriously hard to please) said it was perfect!
The recipe says you can decorate it if you like. I just sprinkled some dessicated coconut over it, but it would look lovely with a bit of the curd mixed into the top layer of icing to make it Easter yellow and mini eggs or edible flowers scattered over. I’m not sure how well the cake will hold up on the bus-train-walk faffery that is my journey to work tomorrow – the slices are pretty tall and might fall over in my tupperware box! If you were to make this and need to transport it somewhere, it’s probably best to do so with the cake in one piece and slice it up at your destination.
From Asda Magazine, April 2011
- 225ml milk
- 5 tbsp lemon juice
- 350g caster sugar
- finely grated zest of two large unwaxed lemons
- 100g dessicated coconut
- 300g plain flour
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 225g butter
- 4 large eggs
For the filling:
- 100g unsalted butter
- 100g icing sugar
- 300g soft cheese
- one-quarter tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 150g good quality lemon curd
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line three 20cm shallow cake tins.
2. Put the milk and 1 tbsp lemon juice in a jug and leave to stand for at least 5 minutes.
3. Put the rest of the juice in a pan with 75g of the caster sugar and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and coconut. Set aside.
4. Sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Set aside.
5. Cream together the butter and the rest of the sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
6. Fold in the flour, milk and coconut mix. Transfer to the tins, level the tops and bake for 25 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Cool on a wire rack.
7. For the filling, cream the butter and icing sugar, then beat in the soft cheese, vanilla and lemon juice.
8. Sandwich the cakes with the lemon curd and two-thirds of the filling. Spread the rest on the top of the cake and decorate, if desired.