coconut cake

My mother is the best source of recipes. In fact, she should be running this blog. She out bakes anyone I know. Including me. Now that my boys aren’t at home with me, I probably only bake once a month and even then it only gets eaten if I take it to work.

I tried this cake for the first time last year when she made it for my birthday. I loved it so much I have made it for my birthday again this year. It’s slightly dense and moist, not light and fluffy but it is divine and will keep well for up to a week without drying out. The flavour reminds me of summer even when it is dreary and cold outside.

Summer in a cake. I like it!

If the quantities in the photos look larger than the ingredients suggest, it is because I made a double batch – some for the dozen cupcakes featured in this blog post today, and two round cake layers to be assembled in a week or so for my birthday cake. Stay tuned for photos of that.

The cast of characters for this episode are:


125g butter
1/2 tsp coconut essence
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 1/4 cups (300g) sour cream
80 mls milk

Start by preheating your oven to 150 C and grease and line your cake tin(s). This is my least favourite part of the whole baking process but don’t wait until you have already mixed the ingredients before preparing the tins. You really want to get the mixture straight in the tins and into the oven rather than leaving it sitting while you prepare the tins.

Trust me. I know these things.


Or if you are making cupcakes, simply place liners in the cupcake tin.


Cream the butter, coconut essence and sugar until light and fluffy.


This is what light and fluffy looks like. See? Light … and fluffy!

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.


With the eggs added the mixture should now look glossy.

Place half the coconut and flour, and half the sour cream and milk in the mixer and slowly mix.


Then add remaining flour, coconut, sour cream and milk and mix until well combined.

Fill cupcake liners only until 1/2 or 3/4 full and bake for 15 minutes-20 minutes. Many cupcake recipes recommend a higher temperature and quicker baking time however I usually find this results in a volcano shaped cupcake. I recommend baking at this lower temperature for longer as the cupcake will bake nice and flat. Perfect for decorating.


If baking a cake with this mixture, use an 8 inch square or 10 inch round tin. Ensure the mixture is spread evenly in the tin to ensure it bakes flat.


Because I was making two layers, I weighed each layer in the tin to ensure they were roughly the same weight. Baking time for the two layers was about 35 minutes, but if making one thicker cake, bake for approximately 40 minutes then test for done-ness with a skewer and adjust baking time if necessary.

Fill cupcakes (optional) and then pipe frosting on top. I filled my cupcakes with passionfruit filling and piped buttercream frosting on top, but they would also taste great with a cream cheese frosting.


High tea anyone?

cream cheese frosting

Cream cheese frosting

250 grams Cream Cheese

100 grams butter

2 cups Icing Sugar (Confectioners sugar, powdered sugar)

In a mixer, blend together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Add the Icing sugar gradually and continue mixing until well blended.

This frosting is great on a variety of cakes. Add vanilla essence or paste for a vanilla flavour on cupcakes. Or for a zingy frosting for carrot cake, try adding a squeeze of lemon juice and a tsp of grated lemon zest. You could also add a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cocoa to the icing sugar before sifting for a chocolate frosting.


buttercream frosting

Buttercream frosting

230 grams (2 cups) Icing sugar (confectioners sugar, powdered sugar)
120 grams (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk or cream
Food colouring

With an electric mixer, cream butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla.

With mixer on low speed gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the side of the bowl.

Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little milk or sugar if required. Tint with a few drops of desired food colouring.

Spread in thick layer onto cupcakes, or use a piping bag. Embelish to your hearts desire.


vanilla cupcakes

vanilla cupcakes

115 grams (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
130 grams (2/3 cup) white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or essence
200 grams (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
60 mls (1/4 cup) milk (I use buttermilk)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350F).  Line tray of 12 muffin cups with cupcake liners.

Cream the butter and sugar in mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla essence and beat well.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. With the mixer on low speed add the milk to the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Add the sifted flour mixture to the wet ingredients in three lots. Scrape down sides of bowl.

Evenly fill the cupcake liners with the batter and bake for 18-20 minutes until nicely browned or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Leave to cool on rack and frost with favorite frosting.