Our customers demand the return of this coconut dream cake whenever we take it off the menu! The secret to the moist and light texture is the coconut soak.
FOR THE VANILLA CAKE BATTER
250g unsalted butter, softened
250g caster sugar
6 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
340g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
120ml buttermilk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
FOR THE LIGHT AS A FEATHER BUTTERCREAM
9 egg whites
390g caster sugar
645g unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
210g coconut cream block
FOR THE COCONUT GANACHE
400ml full-fat coconut milk
50g cup cornflour
200g white chocolate, broken into pieces
FOR THE COCONUT SOAK
100g caster sugar
400ml coconut milk
200g dried coconut shavings
YOU WILL NEED
3 x 20-cm cake pans, greased and lined with greaseproof baking parchment
piping/pastry bag with a large plain 2.5-cm tip
cake stand or cake board
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C (350°F) Gas 4. First, prepare the vanilla cake batter. Put the softened butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla paste in a mixing bowl. Sift in the flour and the baking powder and mix with a handheld electric whisk (or use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment), starting at a slow speed and then progressing to medium, for about 1 minute until well combined, scraping down the bowl a couple of times.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the buttermilk and bicarbonate of soda/baking soda together until foamy and quickly add to the cake batter. Mix at a medium-high speed until combined; do not overmix or the sponge will be tough.
3. Divide the cake batter into the pans specified in the recipe and bake in the preheated oven for 25–30 minutes for three pans or 35–40 minutes for two pans until golden and springy to the touch. When cool, trim the sponges to flat, even layers. Cut each sponge in half horizontally so that you have six thin layers.
4. Prepare the light as a feather buttercream. Stir together the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Place over a pan of gently simmering water (making sure that the base of the bowl does not touch the water). Heat gently, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. You can check this by rubbing some between your fingertips – it should not be grainy.
5. Remove the bowl from the pan and use a hand-held electric whisk (or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment) to whisk for about 10–15 minutes until cool with stiff peaks. Add the softened butter and whisk for a further 5–7 minutes until light cream in colour. Stir in the vanilla paste. It should have the consistency of medium-soft whipped cream, and be very easy to pipe and spread.
6. Melt the coconut cream block in the microwave in 20-second bursts. Cool slightly and then mix into the buttercream slowly until well combined. Transfer to the piping/pastry bag with the 2.5-cm tip and set aside.
7. Prepare the coconut ganache. Combine the coconut milk and cornflour in a saucepan and mix really well, so that no lumps remain. Place the pan over a medium-low heat and stir continuously for about 5–10 minutes as the mixture gently bubbles and thickens, like a white sauce.
8. Pour the hot, thick coconut mixture over the white chocolate in a bowl and mix to melt the chocolate and combine into a smooth ganache. Leave to cool, then transfer to an airtight container in the fridge. Once cooled, the ganache should be nice and spreadable, but if it is too hard, then microwave in 20-second bursts until spreadable.
9. Prepare the coconut soak. Stir together the sugar and coconut milk in a saucepan. Heat gently until warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved. Use the soak warm.
10. Line the sides of one of the pans that you baked the sponges in with a double layer of greaseproof baking parchment, about 15cm high. Put the first sponge in the pan and drizzle over 65ml of the warm coconut soak. Pipe about 100g buttercream on top smooth out into an even layer. Spread over a fifth of the ganache. Repeat the steps with the other sponges, coconut soak, buttercream and ganache until you get to the top layer. Drizzle coconut soak over and then smooth over 2 tablespoons of buttercream. Freeze the cake for 40 minutes or refrigerate for 1 hour.
11. Remove the pan and paper and transfer the cake to a board or cake stand with a blob of buttercream underneath. Pipe adjoining rings of buttercream around the sides of the cake to cover. Use the cake scraper to smooth around the sides of the cake, cleaning the scraper as you go. Use an offset spatula to scrape any overspill onto the top of the cake.
12. Finally, decorate the cake by pressing coconut shavings or chips all over the cake. It is now ready to serve!
TIP If your buttercream splits, freeze it until frozen solid. Melt a quarter in the microwave until liquid, then whisk back into the frozen buttercream until it comes back together.
Recipe from Afternoon Tea at the Cutter & Squidge Bakery by Annabel Lui & Emily Lui, £16.99, Ryland Peters & Small