Toasted coconut cake

Toasted coconut cake
  • Serves icon Serves 40
  • Time icon Hands-on time 25 min, oven time 30-35 min, plus cooling

This coconut cake gets its wonderfully nutty flavour from finely ground, toasted desiccated coconut. Serve it in elegant slices for afternoon tea.

This limoncello and poppy seed cake also looks sophisticated when served in slices as part of an afternoon tea or buffet spread. Alternatively, turn your hand to a classic with this classic sponge cake. 


  • 50g unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 450g unsalted butter, softened
  • 440g caster sugar
  • 160g light brown muscovado sugar
  • 550g plain flour
  • 40g cornflour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp fine salt
  • 4 large free-range eggs, plus 2 egg whites, beaten
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp coconut extract
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 360ml semi-skimmed milk

You’ll also need…

  • 4 x 20cm loose-bottomed cake tins, greased and bases lined with non-stick baking paper
  • Stand mixer
  • 1 quantity passion fruit buttercream


  1. Heat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas 3½. Put the desiccated coconut on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 4-6 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool, then whizz in a food processor until finely ground. Cream the butter and sugars and sift the dry ingredients (not the coconut). Add the eggs little by little, then the oil, coconut extract and vanilla.
  2. With the mixer on low speed add half the dry ingredients. Once combined, add the milk followed by the toasted coconut. Then add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Don’t over-mix.
  3. Divide the batter among 4 cake tins, smooth the tops and bake for 30-35 minutes or until risen and a skewer pushed into the middle of each cake comes out clean. If the cakes brown too quickly, turn the oven down by 5°C. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and put on a wire rack to cool.
  4. Top one layer of coconut cake with 1.5cm thick layer of passion fruit buttercream and smooth it flat with the palette knife. Repeat twice, then top with the final coconut cake. Use more buttercream to thinly cover the top and sides of the stacked cake, evenly scraping away a lot of it with a palette knife.


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