Sunday, 29 December 2013

Coconut Cake

I have always loved the flavour of coconut. I associate coconuts with Halloween and the winter months and think they add an exotic air to what can otherwise be a very dreary time of year. Coconut has a special place in many people’s hearts and has been used in many familiar sweets and biscuits that have been available in Ireland for decades.

Jacob’s Mikado and Coconut Cream biscuits have long been firm favourites in many an Irish household and I distinctly remember packets of them being bought for special occasions when visitors were expected. Coconut is also used in Jacob’s Polo biscuits and although a simple and plain biscuit, it is hard to stop yourself eating your way through an entire packet in one sitting!!

A particular favourite of mine are Caffreys’ Snowballs; dome shaped coconut sprinkled chocolate shells filled with soft sticky marshmallow. I loved them as a child and I still do.

In business for over 70 years Caffreys is an Irish family-run confectionary company, based in Dublin All Irish children are familiar Big Time and Macaroon Bars, Tea Cakes, Snowballs and the company’s other products.

Coconut and chocolate go very well together but I decided that for this cake, I didn’t want to go down the chocolate route. Initially I was going to fill and cover the cake with the coconut buttercream icing, but I quickly decided that some raspberry jam would compliment the taste of the coconut and lend an added fruitiness to the cake.

I wanted to create a cake that was quite frivolous looking but was in reality quite simple to make... I think that I have achieved it with this cake which is essentially a basic Victoria sponge cake with added creamed coconut and a splash of Malibu to heighten the coconut flavour. I decided to colour the sponge with a couple of drops of pink food colouring and I particularly like the effect achieved of the pink contrasting with the white of the coconut icing.


175g butter, softened
175g caster sugar
175g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
3 large eggs
50g unsweetened desiccated coconut
2tblsp creamed coconut
1tblsp Malibu (optional)
1-2 drops of pink food colouring
300g icing sugar
100g butter, softened
3tblsp creamed coconut
1tblsp Malibu (optional)
To finish:
100-125g raspberry jam
3-4tblsp unsweetened desiccated coconut (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4. Butter and base-line three 15cm sandwich tins with non-stick baking parchment.
2. Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and using an electric hand-held mixer, beat the ingredients together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well into the mixture before adding the next.
3. Sieve the flour and baking powder together and thoroughly fold into the butter and egg mixture. Add in the food colouring and mix well to fully incorporate. Gently stir in the desiccated coconut, Malibu and creamed coconut.
4. Divide the mixture evenly between the three sandwich tins and bake in the pre-heated oven for 17-20 minutes until golden and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about five minutes before removing from the tins. Place on wire racks to cool completely. When cool, remove the baking parchment.
To make the buttercream:
5. Using an electric hand-held mixer, beat the icing sugar, butter, Malibu and creamed coconut together until smooth. Spread one side of the first of the sponges with raspberry jam and then top with a thin layer of the buttercream. Place the second sponge on top of this and again spread a thin layer of the raspberry jam and then the buttercream on top. Top with the third sponge. Use the remaining buttercream to evenly cover the top and sides of the cake. If liked, sprinkle some more desiccated coconut over the sides and top of the cake.
Serves 8.