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Saturday, 12 July 2014

Lime and Coconut Cake

I was given a coconut last week...I know, not the sort of thing that gets given as a present often.  Along with the nut was a post-it setting me a challenge to cook something with it.  I flicked through a couple of my cookbooks - thai curry? ice cream? I wasn't sure.  Then I came across 'Fresh Lime and Coconut Cake' in Delia Smith's Cake book.  

I remember watching her make it on her 'Summer Collection' TV series.  

In the recipe she uses desiccated coconut and soaks it in lime juice for an hour to soften.  I thought I would give it a go with fresh coconut and it works!

My first challenge was cracking open the nut.  I wasn't too bothered about saving the water inside (I tried it once in Thailand and didn't really like it).  So I just took the nut outside and gave it a good whack with a rolling pin.  SMACK! It broke perfectly in two.  I was half expecting a crumbled mess on the floor but a perfect split I got.  Then it was just a task of running a sharp knife around the white of the coconut to loosen and remove it.  I cut off any bits of shell still attached.  A quick whizz in the processor and I had tiny pieces of fresh coconut ready to make the cake with.  

This cake uses the 'all in one' method that Delia seems to like in almost all her cake recipes.  Personally I enjoy the process of making a cake and simply putting it all in a bowl and mixing does not cut it for me.  There is something about creaming the butter and sugar for ages, adding the egg a bit at a time, the risk of splitting and all rest that goes with it.  However, this recipe did give me an excuse to use my handheld mixer again!

This cake does not rise that much, its rather flat.  However its very moist and looks fresh and inviting.    The icing is simply lime juice and icing sugar mixed with some coconut milk powder.  

I brought the milk powder from Tesco, but I am sure you can get it cheaper from smaller Chinese supermarkets.  In the brief to the recipe Delia does suggest that nothing else worked and the coconut milk powder is very much required - I would advise getting some if your going to make this recipe, don't try and sub for something else.

Fresh Lime and Coconut Cake
by Delia Smith

For the cake
2 small limes
50g desiccated coconut (or fresh coconut like I did)
115g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
115g caster sugar
115g spreadable butter (I used lurpak spreadable)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tbsp coconut milk powder

For the icing and filling
zest and juice 1 small lime
150g to 175g icing sugar, sifted
3 tbsp coconut milk powder
1 extra lime

IF USING DESICCATED COCONUT - zest the limes, squeeze juice over the coconut and add the zest. Mix and leave for an hour, then continue with the cake.

FRESH COCONUT - zest the limes and juice over the fresh coconut.  You can then continue with the cake straight away.



Preheat the oven to 170C.  Grease and line two 18cm tins.

Sift the flour and baking powder in to a large bowl.  Add the butter, sugar, eggs and coconut powder.

Using an electric hand whisk (or wooden spoon) mix for a minute until smooth.

Add the soaked coconut mixture and mix again for 30 seconds.


Transfer to tins and bake for 25 minutes.  Check for doneness by lightly pressing the tops, if they spring back the cake is ready.


Turn on to a cooling rack and leave to cool.

Make the icing by mixing the sifted icing sugar (150g) and lime juice together.  Add the coconut milk powder and mix again.  


Zest the extra lime and then remove all the skin (using a sharp knife).  Cut out the little lime segments and add to the icing.  If you think its too runny add the reminding icing sugar (up to 25g)

Pour over the cake and sandwich together.  Pour reminder over the top and allow it to drip.