Recipes · Sweet Saturday

Sweet Saturday; Chaps Coconut Birthday Cake


I’m trying to come up with inspiration about what to bake for Le Marie for his forthcoming birthday. I cam across these pictures of an old coconut birthday  cake which is manly enough for a man. No frills, no fuss – it goes against my normal style. Eventually I came up with this simple design – I hope you like it. For the moustache I just searched Google to come up with a suitable design, printed it out and cut it up to make a template.

You will also need an icing smoother, a polythene rolling pin, two round cookies cutters of two sizes (to make the monicle), a piping bag with a thin nozzle or a store bought designer icing tube and 2 x 20cm cake tins, pizza wheel and ruler.

Ingredients and Method

For the cake

225g unsalted butter, 225g caster sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 4 eggs, 200g self raising flour, 25g cornflour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 50g desiccated coconut soaked in 150ml water.

For the icing

100g desiccated coconut, 150g unsalted butter, 300g icing sugar, 2 tbsp Malibu, 1kg pack of white fondant icing and black food dye.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C Fan. Grease and line the baking tins with parchment.
  2. Boil the water and soak the coconut in it.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar.
  4. Add an one egg and a spoonful of flour to the mixture and mix well before repeating this process for all of the eggs.
  5. Stir in the vanilla essence then add the remainder of the flour, cornflour and baking powder.
  6. Add the coconut and water to the bowl and mix well again.
  7. Divide the mixture evenly between cake pans and bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the cake is coming away from the tin and bounces back when you press it firmly.
  8. Leave the cakes to cool in their tins before removing them to cool completely on a rack.
  9. Whilst the cakes are cooling take a little of the coconut at a time and dry fry until lightly toasted. Don’t wait until all of the coconut is brown though as it will quickly burn, so be careful.
  10. Cream the butter and icing sugar in a bowl and once finished mix in the Malibu well.
  11. Once the cake is completely cool take one third of the coconut icing mixture and spread it on one cake then sandwich that two together. Take the remainder of the mixture and cover the top and sides.
  12. Then take the white icing and roll it out on some greaseproof paper to a size that will cover the cake. Once big enough move it to where the cake is still on the greaseproof paper. Place it on the cake icing side down. Gently peel the greaseproof paper away and then smooth the icing over the cake. Where there is too much icing cut a triangular shape to make it fit better and smooth into place. Use the pizza wheel to remove the excess from the base and the icing smoother to finish it.

For the ribbon around the bottom of the cake you can use a normal ribbon if you don’t feel confident. Just measure a ribbon around the base of the cake – enough for a small overlap- and fix it into place with some piped icing. If you’re brave enough though you can give the iced version a try as below.

  1. Take the remainder of the icing and knead in the black colouring until it’s all black.
  2. Take a length of greaseproof paper that will fit the circumference of the cake with about 5 cm to spare. Estimate the depth of the ribbon according to any un-slightly marks that you can’t smooth away and add a further 5cm to this depth then cut the length of the paper with to this depth – it will make the icing’s transference easier later.
  3. Roll the icing out along the length of the greaseproof paper. Do this by be raking off a piece of icing at a time and then rolling length ways before adding a little more on each side and rolling again. Do this until you have a long thin length that’s at least 2 inches thick along it’s length.
  4. Sprinkle the icing with a little icing sugar along it’s length (it can be removed from the black with water later) and then identify a clear line along the bottom without gaps or tears in it. Fold your greaseproof paper along this line in order to creat a clear, bottom line for cutting. You need to fold hard enough for the line to be clear, but not too hard so that it sticks to itself.
  5. Undo the fold and you should have a clear straight crease along the edge of the icing. Use a pizza cutter to cut a line along the edge and remove the excess icing. Alternatively you could use a ruler to make a line, but I find this harder to ensure it’s straight when you need more than 30 cms.
  6. Then repeat the same process above with the appropriate depth.
  7. Run a thin line of piped icing in the middle of where you estimate the iced ribbon will be to adhere it to the cake.
  8. To move the iced ribbon to the cake dust it’s length with some icing sugar and using the greaseproof imagepaper turn the icing over so the smoother side is facing upwards. Dust it with some more icing sugar and, starting from one end with your rolling pin, start to roll the icing ribbon so it wraps around it like a wheel. Obviously make sure that the wrap is light enough for the layers not to stick. Then move it to the cake and unwind it whilst sticking the ribbon to the cake. You may need an extra pair of hands to do this; I didn’t have one, hence my sourcing this picture for a visual! Make sure there’s a little over lap on the end by trimming any excess with a pair of scissors and sticking it together with some more piped icing.
  9. Then cut out the moustache shape and place it onto the remainder, rolled icing. Using the scissors cut round the moustache shape template; you can alternatively use a sharp knife to do this if you prefer. Smooth the edges by running your wet finger along it and stick it to the cake surface with some royal icing.
  10. Use the two round cutters to cut a circle for the monicle – one to remove the centre – and apply that to the cake in the same way.

The cake is lovely and light but I couldn’t help thinking that it would be better with a little chocolate melted into the coconut, butter icing. Bountyliscious!


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