The thing about coconut is either you like it or you don’t, there is no midway so to speak. I really like coconut in many forms but not all – Thai & Indonesian curries are my absolute favorite. Since Pondicherry is tropical, coconut is available here in abundance. In the brutal heat of summers there is nothing better than a tender coconut.
This cake is super moist and delicate in flavor. The cake gets a lot of texture from the grated coconut (fresh) that I mixed inside the batter as well as sprinkled on the surface. The batter also gets a lot of rich flavor from the coconut milk. As a variation you could also mix in some fruit in the batter, like strawberries or raspberries.
The icing for this cake is more like a custard – a mixture of ricotta cheese, coconut milk, sugar and one egg. I warmed up the mixture on low heat and cooled it completely so that it would turn into a smooth and thick custard – again very delicate in flavor. After the cake was done, I added a layer of the custard in between and put another layer of crushed pineapple. The fruit and its acid cuts through the sweetness from the coconut and all the sugar. It balances the flavor.
I mostly used fresh coconut in this recipe, as a result the flavor of coconut is not overwhelming. So you can give it a try even if you are not a die hard fan of coconut. However, if you cant get your hands on the fresh coconut (milk and grated), feel free to use the canned milk and packaged grated coconut. The only difference would be that it would make the coconut flavor a lot bolder than when using the fresh stuff and you might have to sacrifice on the delicate flavor a wee bit.
I dusted the cake with some powdered sugar before serving. Since I was using fresh coconut, the powdered sugar sweetened the coconut slightly. Skip this step if using packaged sweetened grated coconut – check on the label whether or or not its already sweet. If you don’t live in a tropical area or live somewhere you cant get fresh coconut easily, my suggestion would be to check out an Asian or Indian store near your house. They usually keep coconuts.
Fresh or packaged, either way – if you like coconut, you will like this cake!
Serving a 9 inch round cake
cooking time 1 hour
Things you will need:
For the cake
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
1 cup grated coconut (unsweetened)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
- Preheat the oven at 350 F. Prepare a 9 inch round baking pan.
- In a bowl add flour, baking powder & soda and mix to combine.
- In a large bowl whisk butter and sugar together till it turns pale and becomes fluffy.
- Adding one egg at a time continue to mix with a whisk or an electric beater. Add all the eggs and mix till its all combined together.
- Add coconut milk and using a wooden spoon mix gently.
- Add grated coconut and continue to mix.
- Finally add the flour mix and vanilla and fold to form a batter.
- Pour in the prepared baking dish and bake for approximately 40 minutes or till a skewer comes out clean upon inserting in the center of the cake.
For the custard icing
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a sauce pan mix everything together and warm on low heat while whisking continuously.
- Remove from heat when the mixture is heated through.
- Cool completely and refrigerate for a few hours.
To assemble the cake
crushed pineapple, drained
- After the cake cools completely, slice it from the center.
- Add a generous layer of the custard icing on the first half of the cake .
- Add a layer of crushed pineapple.
- Cover with the second half of the cake and cover the cake generously with the custard icing.
- Sprinkle the grated coconut to cover the surface completely.
- Cool the cake in the fridge for a few hours before serving.