Coconut cake with lemon cream cheese filling

Coconut cake with lemon cream cheese fillingHere’s a cake I made a few weeks ago in honour of my sister-in-law, who told me a while back that she really likes lemony, coconutty cakes: a coconut cake with a lemon cream cheese filling.

I’ve made a three-layer version of this before, but I wanted something less faffy (and less likely to topple over), so I combined the filling from that recipe with my usual coconut cake sponge recipe to bring it down to two layers.

Coconut cake with lemon cream cheese filling
The filling is really quite something – I bought the lemon curd, but if you’re happy to make it from scratch, then I suspect it’d be even better! The sharpness of the lemon against the unnnngggh-ness (yes, that’s a word) of the full-fat soft cheese is truly delicious!

I only used the zest of one lemon in the sponges and couldn’t really taste it, so I’ve recommended two lemons in my recipe below.

I assembled this on a really hot day and it started to droop a bit after a few hours, so make sure you eat it up very quickly if you also make it for a special summer occasion… which I’m pretty sure won’t be a problem!

Coconut cake with lemon cream cheese filling

Coconut cake with lemon cream cheese filling recipe

Serves 10

For the sponge layers:

  • 175g softened butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 75g dessicated coconut
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream (I used Patak’s coconut cream, which comes in sachets)
  • finely grated zest of two lemons

For the filling:

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 200g soft cheese
  • one-quarter tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 100g good quality lemon curd

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Butter and line the base of two 20 cm/8 inch sandwich tins with greaseproof paper.
  2. Mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and eggs for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Gently stir in the dessicated coconut, coconut cream and lemon zest.
  3. Divide the mixture between the two tins and smooth the tops. Bake for 20-25 minutes until evenly golden and firm.
  4. Loosen the edges and leave the tins to cool for 5 minutes and then transfer on to a wire rack to cool. Peel off the lining paper.
  5. For the filling, beat together the butter and icing sugar, then beat in the soft cheese, vanilla and lemon juice.
  6. Sandwich the cakes with the lemon curd and cream cheese filling. Sift a little icing sugar on top and serve.

 

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Strawberry and coconut flapjacks

Strawberry and coconut flapjacksWe’re well and truly into summer fruits season, which suits me down to the ground because it means I get to gorge on beautiful British strawberries for the next few months! I’m normally perfectly happy to just eat them on their own, but I decided to put them in a bake last week and came up with these strawberry and coconut flapjacks.

Strawberry and coconut flapjacks
I used a recipe I’ve previously used to make blueberry flapjacks, swapping the berries and adding some dessicated coconut. The recipe makes for a fairly chewy flapjacks, as opposed to a sturdier one, but you could leave them in the oven for a bit longer if you prefer them to have a harder texture.

Strawberry and coconut flapjacks
Baking with strawberries is always a bit weird – because they’re quite wet, they have a tendency to go mushy very quickly. Thankfully, they seemed to stay fairly intact in these flapjacks, but you do still need to eat them up within a couple of days before they turn your flapjacks into a sort of cold porridge!

Strawberry and coconut flapjacks
The flapjacks were delicious – the strawberry flavour really came through and made what are otherwise fairly autumnal flapjacks nice and summery!

I think I could have added some more coconut, as the flavour was very subtle, so my recipe below accounts for this and ups the quantity of dessicated coconut from what I used. You may need to add a little more butter/syrup to make sure it holds together sufficiently – see how well the mix holds together in the pan before you transfer it to the tin.

Strawberry and coconut flapjacks

Strawberry and coconut flapjacks recipe

Adapted from this Vegetarian Living recipe

Makes 12 large or 16 small flapjacks

  • 150g butter
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 100g light brown soft sugar
  • grated zest of ½ lemon
  • 275g rolled oats
  • 75g dessicated coconut
  • 125g fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line a shallow 20cm square tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a pan over a low heat, stirring regularly. Add the lemon zest and stir.
  3. Stir in the oats and dessicated coconut.
  4. Gently fold in the strawberries.If the mix looks like it won’t hold together, add a little more melted butter and golden syrup.
  5. Turn the mix into the tin, level the top, and press the mixture evenly and firmly into the corners of the tin with the back of a spoon.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden.
  7. Cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then cut into 12 or 16 pieces while the flapjacks are still warm.
  8. Cool completely before turning the flapjacks out and cutting again with a sharp knife.

Watalappan (Sri Lankan coconut milk custard)

Sri Lankan watalappan with mango and bananaAnother week, another Sri Lankan feast! This time, my husband cooked lots of rice and curry for our friends, and I made a dessert that we had a fair bit of when we were on honeymoon – watalappan, a set custard made with jaggery, coconut milk and lots of spices.

This is a great dinner party recipe, as it can be made in advance and left in the fridge until required. I used this recipe by Peter Kuruvita, who has also written a brilliant Sri Lankan cookbook that we use and that apparently is considered something of a bible by chefs in Sri Lanka!

I followed the recipe exactly, but I served it with toasted fresh coconut, in-season Indian mango and sliced Keralan bananas, which were the closest thing we could find to the bananas we ate a lot of in Sri Lanka. I also drizzled the plate with golden syrup as recommended by Kuruvita as a substitute for palm syrup.

The only tricky thing was baking the custards – they seemed to take longer than stated, but I reckon that’s just my oven rather than the recipe being at fault. They did eventually cook after I turned the heat up slightly.

The resulting dessert was rather wonderful – the sweet, spiced coconut custard combined with juicy mango and flavoursome bananas offered a perfect balance of flavours. It’s a great recipe to use if you’re planning a Sri Lankan or Indian feast and want an easy dessert that will impress!

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Coconut and cardamom cake with mango cream cheese filling

Coconut and cardamom cake with mango cream cheese icing I’ve been thinking about making this coconut and cardamom cake with mango cream cheese icing for a while. It’s basically my trusty mango and coconut cake with some cardamom added to the cake mix, but that one extra ingredient really does transform the cake into something else entirely! It’s Indian mango season at the moment, which meant that I could use the most delicious mango in this recipe.

Coconut and cardamom cake with mango cream cheese icing
Funnily enough, just when I decided to make it, I also ended up acquiring the new recipe book from GBBO’s Chetna Makan, who, as is well documented on this blog, is one of my favourite GBBO contestants EVER. There’s a mango, coconut and cardamom cake early on in The Cardamom Trail, which must mean that we’re kindred spirits, right?! However, Chetna’s cake is much more impressive-looking than mine, although I suspect that they taste very similar!

Coconut and cardamom cake with mango cream cheese icing
Anyway, back to my cake. It was all very straightforward to make. I did end up with runny cream cheese icing again, but that meant I had an excellent excuse to use only as much as would fill the cake without it running over the sides and, er, safely disposing of the rest. In my stomach. I think I might try making the icing with mascarpone next time to see if it comes out any thicker!

Coconut and cardamom cake with mango cream cheese icing

Coconut and cardamom cake with mango cream cheese filling recipe

Serves 10

For the sponge layers:

  • 175g/6oz softened butter
  • 175g/6oz caster sugar
  • 175g/6oz self raising flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 75g/2oz dessicated coconut
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream (I used Patak’s coconut cream, which comes in sachets)
  • 0.5 tsp ground cardamom (equivalent to the seeds of about 6-7 green cardamom pods)

For the filling:

  • 100g soft cheese (or try mascarpone!)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 50g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 0.5 medium, ripe mango
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Butter and line the base of two 20 cm/8 inch sandwich tins with greaseproof paper.
  2. Mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and eggs for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Gently stir in the dessicated coconut, coconut cream and cardamom.
  3. Divide the mixture between the two tins and smooth the tops. Bake for 20-25 minutes until evenly golden and firm.
  4. Loosen the edges and leave the tins to cool for 5 minutes and then transfer on to a wire rack to cool. Peel off the lining paper.
  5. Peel the mango, slice it away from the stone and chop into smaller chunks. Mash it to a pulp (you can use a food processor for a fine texture or a potato masher/fork for a chunkier one).
  6. Beat together the other filling ingredients and then stir in the mango.
  7. Spread one of the sponge layers with the filling and place the other on top. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Ginger and coconut flapjacks

Ginger and coconut flapjacksI made these ginger and coconut flapjacks on a bit of a whim, when I knew I wanted to bake *something*, but couldn’t be bothered with anything complex. With ginger and coconut being two of my favourite flavours, I thought I couldn’t go wrong with this recipe!

Flapjacks are incredibly easy to make, and these were no exception. I used this recipe from the Domestic Gothess, and followed it pretty much exactly. I didn’t have any stem ginger, so I swapped it for roughly 35-40g of chopped crystallised ginger.

Ginger and coconut flapjacks
The only slight problem came in the baking (I really need to get a new oven!). They took AGES to bake, and I think the recipe calls for a bit too much butter, because I could actually see it bubbling away in the tray – not something I’ve experienced with other flapjack recipes!

The mixture did harden upon cooling (thankfully), but there was a lot of liquid butter still in the bottom of the tray, and it kept oozing out of the flapjacks as they cooled – it was a bit like resting meat to prevent the juices from spoiling the plate!

Nevertheless, the flapjacks were delicious. They were very gingery and the coconut was in the background a bit – I think next time I would drastically reduce the amount of butter and add a little coconut cream to let the coconut compete a bit more with the ginger.

Ginger and coconut flapjacks
They went down well at work, at least, which is always a good sign!

Coconut, cardamom and lime drizzle cake

Coconut, cardamom and lime drizzle cakeI’m going to go so far as to say that I think this coconut, cardamom and lime drizzle cake is one of my best ever baking inventions.

I’ve been on a bit of a ‘winging it’ kick recently, what with the muffins that nearly didn’t have any sugar in them and last week’s lovely lemony scones. But this recipe beats those two into a cocked hat!

I sound like I’m tooting my own horn, but I’m not: the idea for the flavour combination is mine, but the base cake recipe is an adaptation of a Chetna Makan recipe that I made a while ago. So well done to both of us!

Coconut, cardamom and lime drizzle cake
The lime is present in the cake mix (the zest) and the drizzle (the juice), while there’s both dessicated coconut and coconut cream in the cake itself. The cardamom could have been overwhelming, but it’s not! The flavour of this cake is very much reminiscent of the barfi I made for Diwali last year, except with the tang of lime cutting through the sweetness.

The texture of the cake is excellent – incredibly light, airy and moist. I’m eating a piece of this cake as I type, and it’s still really fresh-tasting even 3 days after baking it! I took this cake into the office, where it got a great reception. I’m very thankful that I thought to save myself some pieces at home.

I don’t think think there’s much else that I can say except… make it now!

Coconut, cardamom and lime drizzle cake

Coconut, cardamom and lime drizzle cake recipe

Adapted from this recipe.

Cuts into 15 pieces, or 12 big ones

  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 50g desiccated coconut, plus extra for decorating
  • 50g sachet of coconut cream (I used Patak’s)
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 50g caster sugar (for the drizzle)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C. Grease a rectangular baking dish (mine was 11″ x 7″ x 1.5″) and line it with baking parchment.
  2. Put the sachet of coconut cream in a small bowl and pour hot water over it. This will soften the cream and make it easier to mix into the cake batter.
  3. Beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and lime zest, using an electric whisk or stand mixer, until light.
  4. Release the seeds from the cardamom pods and grind in a mortar and pestle or by crushing the seeds with the back of a wooden spoon on a chopping board (I tend to find that spice grinders don’t work well with tiny quantities of cardamom seeds).
  5. Fold the cardamom, desiccated coconut and coconut cream into the flour mix.
  6. Spoon the mix into the prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden on top. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean.
  7. Make the drizzle by mixing the lime juice with the 50g of caster sugar.
  8. Poke holes into the cake using a skewer (don’t go all the way to the bottom, though!) and pour the drizzle all over the top, while the cake is still warm. The drizzle will sink into the holes and create a crunchy top when set.
  9. Sprinkle over some more dessicated coconut to decorate, if you like.
  10. Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then release it and cut into squares or rectangles.

Triple chocolate and coconut cookies

Triple chocolate and coconut cookiesI had a real craving for chocolate last weekend, but I didn’t want to expend too much effort on baking something wonderful, so I trawled through my saved recipes on Pinterest before I found a simple-looking recipe for double chocolate and coconut cookies that I immediately revised so they would become triple chocolate and coconut cookies (and why not?!).

Triple chocolate and coconut cookies
This is a great little recipe if, like me, you’re one of the few people you know who would *never* leave the Bounty chocolates in a box of Celebrations to the end (I tend to save that fate for the Milky Ways). I guess these are technically quadruple chocolate cookies, because there’s milk, white and dark chocolate AND cocoa, but ‘triple’ rolls off the tongue a bit more easily.

I followed the original recipe fairly closely, but have listed my own take below if you want to go as chocolaty as possible. You could always focus on one of the types of chocolate if you like, but having all three in there does make the cookies a bit more decadent!

Triple chocolate and coconut cookies
Triple chocolate and coconut cookies recipe

Makes 26 cookies

  • 75g butter, softened
  • 160g light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 150g chocolate, roughly chopped (I used 50g each of dark, white and milk, but use any combination you like)
  • 50g dessicated coconut

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to gas 4/180C. Line 1 or 2 baking trays with baking parchment.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar until well combined.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat again.
  4. Sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder, then fold through gently until combined.
  5. Stir in the milk, followed by the chocolate and coconut. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Transfer spoonfuls of the mixture to the baking tray(s), spacing them well apart as they’ll spread in the oven.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on the size of your spoonfuls (mine were somewhere between teaspoon and tablespoon size, and were baked in 15 minutes).
  8. Cool on the tray for a few minutes before carefully transferring the cookies to a cooling rack (they’ll still be soft, but will harden as they become completely cool).