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Sunday, 15 June 2014

Lemon and Raspberry with Coconut Birthday Cake

It was my Grandma's 83rd birthday this weekend and normally its a family get together and BBQ.  This would always be a good excuse for me to bake a couple of desserts.  This year we decided to forgo the normal BBQ and instead go to a local country pub for a simple meal.  I was given the task of baking a birthday cake. 

Since its summer I wanted to bake a cake that was fresh tasting and light.  In the past I would have been tempted to bake a chocolate cake or some sort of heavier style cake.  Lemon and raspberry has always been a favourite of mine and since I hadn't had chance to bake my lemon and raspberry cupcakes yet I thought I would adapt the idea and create a large bday cake.

While researching I came across a recipe for lemon, raspberry and coconut cake.  At first I was unsure if putting coconut on the cake would be wise because it tends to be one of those ingredients that some people don't like.  However, knowing my family well, I just went for it and they all liked it.

The sponge is a simple lemon scented white cake.  I used 00 plain flour as this is supposed to result in a lighter, whiter, crumbed cake.  Without a cake baked using basic plain flour I am unable to comment on whether this one is better or not, but it was light.

The frosting is a simple '7 minute' american style lemon buttercream.  I used seedless  good quality jam. 

If I was to make this cake again, and there is no reason why I wouldn't, I would make sure I added more jam as some layers were not visible when cutting.  Leaving the cake to set before attempting to coat the outsides is a very good idea, you may find that the cake starts to slide apart.  I used a kebab spike to hold the layers together while it set in the fridge.

Make sure you bring this cake to room temp before serving.

Lemon, Raspberry and Coconut Cake
serves roughly 12

For the cake
250g plain 00 flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
300ml whole milk at room temp
4 large egg whites, room temp
300g caster sugar
zest of 1 lemon
113g unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 tsp lemon extract

For the lemon buttercream
200g caster sugar
4 large egg whites, room temp
340g unsalted butter, room temp
60ml fresh lemon juice (if your lucky the zested lemon will produce enough)
1 tsp vanilla extract

100g raspberry jam, seedless
200g desiccated coconut

Preheat oven to 170C.  Grease and line 2 7inch cake tins.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  In a jug mix together the milk and egg whites.  Set both aside.


In a stand mixer, beat the sugar and lemon zest until fragrant.  Add the butter and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the lemon extract.


Reduce the mixer to low and add 1/3 of the flour.  Allow to mix to a thick paste.  Then add 1/2 the milk mixture and leave to mix to a smooth paste.

Repeat with the another 1/3 of the flour.  Allow to mix together.  Then add the rest of the milk mixture.  

Finally finish with the remaining flour and beat for 2 minutes until smooth.  You should have a pale light mixture.

Divide between the two tins and bake for 35 minutes.  Test to see if cooked by lightly pressing the top, you want it to spring back.

Transfer to a cooling rack and leave in tins for 5 minutes.  Then tip out and allow to fully cool.


Once cooled, using a sharp bread knife, slice both cakes in two.

Now to make the frosting.  Place the egg whites and sugar in a clean bowl of a stand mixer.  Place over a pan of simmering water.  


Whisk until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot.  Should take about 3 minutes.

Transfer the bowl to the mixer and whisk on high until you have a thick meringue AND the mix has cooled to room temp.  This can take up to 7 minutes.

With the mixer running on high, slowly add chunks of the butter.  Give a few seconds between each piece for it to mix in.  At this point the mixture will reduce in volume.

Continue until all the butter is added.

Then beat in the vanilla extract and SLOWLY pour in the lemon juice.  Whisk until fully mixed!

To sandwich together, place one cake piece on a serving plate.  Spread with jam.

Take a second piece of cake and spread with lemon.  Place the lemon side onto of the jam.

Spread jam on top again (this is the other side of the piece you just spread buttercream on).  Take another piece of cake and spread with lemon.  Place on top of the jam as before.

Repeat again, and your done.


Leave to set in the fridge for 30 minutes before you attempt to frost the sides.

Remove from the fridge and frost the top, then spread down the sides.

Carefully coat the top and press to the sides with coconut.