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Loco for coconut

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Coconut rum cake
I wasn't kidding when I said in the October edition of Don't Call Me Chef that I have never met a coconut dish I didn't like. Give me the meat, the water, the milk or combine them with other ingredients in a sweet cake or savoury serving and I will not say no to it.

We had coconut trees everywhere around my childhood home. I didn't know anyone who could climb a coconut tree, but we got the fruit down easily enough with a long pole with a bent metal hook tied on to the end. Wielding a parang (machete), and under close supervision from my father, mother or one of the older guys, I was taught how to cut through the husk of a young coconut and get the top off the inner shell. Tipping the whole fruit up to drink the water straight from it required some skill.

After that, the hole in the shell would have to be widened so that you could dig out the soft flesh. And the scoop would be a shard from the shell.

After being inspired by the Don't Call Me Chef pumpkin-coconut-soy challenge, I thought I would make a cake ­­– then decided to leave out the pumpkin and soy, and instead pile on the coconut in three forms: cream, fresh meat and shredded. I recently acquired a bottle of dark rum and used it to flavour the cake. A coconut rum like Malibu would of course have fit the theme better.

This isn't a large cake. I made two layers in loaf pans and it probably would have been prettier if I had sliced each cake in two to make four layers in all with frosting in between. But it really didn't matter in the end because it was polished off quite quickly! Coconut, aaah...

A slab of joy
Serves 8-10. Cake is best made a day before it is frosted so that the rum is well absorbed. You can  leave out the real rum and use ½ teaspoon imitation rum essence instead. Add it together with the vanilla extract.

1 cup caster (superfine) sugar
125g butter
2 eggs
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1¾ teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅔ cup coconut cream (preferably fresh)
2-3 tablespoons dark rum
1 quantity frosting (recipe follows)
Flesh from 1 young coconut, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons sweet shredded coconut
  • Preheat oven to 175°C. Grease and base-line two loaf pans. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together, and mix into the creamed mixture until blended. Stir in vanilla extract and coconut milk until batter is smooth. Divide batter between the prepared pans.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes until top is golden and springs back to the touch. 
  • Place on wire rack to cool for five minutes, then remove cakes from pan and peel off base paper. While cakes are still warm, poke holes in the crumb with a toothpick or thin skewer; spoon on the rum so that it is absorbed into the cake. Cover with foil. Or, if possible, place cakes in an air-tight container and leave overnight (at room temperature).
  • When ready to assemble, place one cake, flat side up, on a serving plate and spread with half the frosting. Spread with fresh young coconut slices. Place the other cake on top and spread with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle with shredded coconut, pressing gently to adhere.
60g butter, softened
1-1½ cup icing sugar
1 tablespoon coconut cream
  • Beat butter and coconut cream together until creamy; beat in icing sugar gradually until mixture is a soft spreadable consistency.


    1. I love coconut in baking too, have always wondered how do one prepare coconut flakes? You managed to cut yours so finely! Looks delicious!

    2. Hi Jeannie. Oh, I just bought the dried sweetened coconut flakes for the top of the cake. I don't have the patience to cut them that finely! You could substitute with dessicated coconut, but I think the shredded type is much prettier, and tastier, because of the different texture.

    3. I am also a coconut person. I love anything with coconut in it! Bread, tart, pie, cookie (even kuih bangkit that has coconut milk) name it, I like it. Its the fragrant & texture of the coconut that makes me like it.

    4. I agree, J.C. Coconut is irresistible!

    5. Hi Jane,
      We can get coconut anytime in my country and we use coconut for so many local cuisine. Coconut cake is one of my hubby's favorite but I have not made any so far. However with your recipe, I must do it. The cake so mouth -watering that I imagine how delicious it is.

    6. I hope you do try it, Quay Po!


    Your views are welcome and appreciated. Have a nice day!