25 April 2013

Nigella Challenge: Coconut Cake

This has gone down as a cake to remember. Its a very delicate cake, and takes indulgence to a whole new level. Its one of the most popular of the Nigella Challenge so far among my taste-testers!

And despite all that build-up, it's relatively simple.

Nigella recommends using Malibu rather than a coconut flavouring as it gives a less chemical taste. Can't argue with that!
  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract/essence
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 25g cornflour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 50g dessicated coconut, soaked in 150ml boiling water
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line 2 x 21cm tins (square or round).

You can make the cake by blitzing all the ingredients in a food processor, or in the traditional way as follows:
Cream butter and sugar, until pale and creamy. Add vanilla. Add eggs one-at-a-time, adding a spoonful of flour after each to prevent curdling. Gently fold in flours and baking powder. Fold in coconut.

Pour into tins and bake 25-35 minutes until ready - a cake tester should come out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Leave to cool completely on a rack.

For the buttercream filling:
  • 25g dessicated coconut
  • 75g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp Malibu
Toast coconut in a dry frying pan, tossing every so often, until fragrant and golden. Let cool.

Cream butter and icing sugar. Beat in Malibu and coconut. Set aside.

For the icing:
  • 2-4 tbsp Malibu (depending on your own tastes)
  • 125g instant royal icing
Make up to packet instructions, replacing the water with Malibu.

Coles didn't have any instant royal icing when I was there (though it does exist! 'Queen' makes it), and so I made mine from scratch. You can find the recipe here. It's a smooth, pure white icing usually used for Christmas cakes, wedding cakes and gingerbread houses.

To construct the cake, place first half on a serving plate and spread with buttercream. Top with second half. Pour icing directly into the middle of the cake so that it spreads and drips down the sides a little. 

Leave to set before serving.