salted caramel coconut cake

© Lydia,

Following on from last week's warm spice cake with black pepper in the frosting, I really wanted to make a salt and pepper cake this week, admittedly because I think it sounds cool. I think it'll taste awesome too, think spicy gingerbread topped with salted caramel frosting. Mmmmm. I don't know why I didn't go for that in the end, perhaps because the weather in the UK is finally starting to look like the July it is and a gingerbread/caramel combination is a bit too wintry for right now. In any case I had salted caramel on my mind, and with the allotment bursting with strawberries, something was calling me to combine the two together. In my mind, the sponge could basically go one of two ways to support such a flavour combination without overpowering it, either a plain vanilla sponge (not really my style), or coconut. Coconut it is :)

So here it is, a somewhat cacophonous sounding combination of flavours - coconut cake topped with salted caramel buttercream and balsamic vinegar & pepper-glazed strawberries. The flavours combine exceedingly well, each subtly announcing its presence before bowing out to allow another flavour to come in and say "Hi!". I'm glad it happened, I think it's lovely, and will go very nicely with a good cup of Earl Grey. 

© Lydia,
Lydia's Salted Caramel Coconut Cake
Cake batter
3 eggs
175g (0.8 cups) caster sugar
125g (1 scant cup) plain flour
190g (2 scant cups) shredded coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract

125g (scant 2/3 cup) caster sugar

60ml (1/4 cup, 4 tbsp) water
80ml (1/3 cup) double cream or cream substitute like Elmlea
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g (10oz, 2 1/2 sticks, 1 1/4 cup) unsalted butter - softened (if you haven't the time to let it soften at room temperature, you can cut it up into small cubes and whisk it with a hand held mixer, or beat it in a standing mixer until softened)
300g (1 1/2 cups) icing/confectioner's sugar

Filling & Topping
150g (~1/2 cup) strawberry jam
7 medium strawberries, cut into chunks
2 tsp caster sugar
1/4 tsp balsamic vinegar
4-5 twists black pepper (freshly ground)

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C / Gas 4 - electric oven, slightly higher if using gas).
Line two 8 inch pans (for springform pans, a light brushing with vegetable/sunflower/canola oil and coating of flour will be fine, otherwise line with greaseproof paper).

Place eggs and sugar in a heatproof bowl and whisk over a simmering pan of water (make sure the water level is low enough that it doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl) until thick, creamy and the whisk leaves a trail when lifted out.

Remove from heat, add the vanilla extract and continue whisking for 2-3 more minutes. 

Gently fold in the flour and coconut with a metal spoon, being very careful not to over-blend - otherwise the cakes won't rise well and will turn out quite chewy. Don't worry too much if you do overdo it though, it'll still taste delicious, it'll just give your jaw more of a workout!

Divide the mixture between the two pans, levelling with the spoon. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until firm to the touch.

Cool in tins for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks (upside-down) to finish cooling.

© Lydia,
To make the buttercream, dissolve the caster sugar in the water over a low heat, before turning the heat up and cooking for 2-3 minutes. The caramel will be bubbling, slightly golden in colour, and thickened. 

Slowly pour in the cream while stirring - be careful as it will splatter. Once mixed, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Allow to cool (you can pour the salted caramel sauce onto a plate and place in the fridge or freezer - this will take about 5-10 minutes to cool sufficiently).

Whisk the butter with the icing sugar until light and fluffy, then add the cooled caramel and blend until just combined. I find that if using a standing mixer, it's best to turn the mixer off and add the caramel to the buttercream in one go before continuing to blend, otherwise the caramel gets caught on the paddle and doesn't mix into the buttercream as quickly, which can result in a runny, over-beaten frosting.

© Lydia,

To assemble the cake, spread the jam over one layer of cake, top with a generous dollop of salted caramel buttercream and place the other layer on top. The sponge itself can be quite dry as it's meringue based, so it can afford a really generous filling! For the smoothest finish, cover the cake in a thin layer of buttercream and allow this to set in the fridge for ~30 minutes before covering the cake again in the remaining buttercream. This first layer acts as a "crumb coat" and prevents cake crumbs from "spoiling" the smooth appearance of the finished cake. This is mostly important if you've had to trim the cakes in any way, but if you're not bothered by a super-smooth finish, then you can bypass this step and coat the cake in one, thicker layer of buttercream. 

Combine the strawberries with the sugar, balsamic vinegar and pepper, and spoon over the top of the cake, drizzling with the rest of the balsamic glaze that clings to the bottom of the bowl. You can also sprinkle the top of the cake with some more sea salt to add a pleasantly salty crunch. 

Tuck in!

© Lydia,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Delicious? I think so! Got a suggestion? I'd love to hear it!