Sometimes it only takes one bite to know if a 55 minute wait has been worth it. If your tastebuds sing, if you are already planning to go back for a second slice before you’ve even finished your first wodge (while it’s still oven warm!). To know a recipe is not just a keeper but one you want to make again. And soon.
I can probably count on one hand the cakes on my repeat list. Because I copy, tear or print out so many new recipes to try, I am usually on a forward-only journey to plough my way through the small forest of paper. Because of this, I don’t do many repeats.
But ones I do make again – Donna Hay’s upside down orange syrup cake. The cream cheese cake topped with jam or fruit, made recently (twice, in a row). Mathew Evans’ lemony lemon cupcakes – torn out of a magazine and signed by Mathew himself! Bread and butter puddings feature regularly in winter months. Nigella’s damp chocolate cake.
Here is another to add to that list. On the first truly cold day of the year, I bid farewell to a heady summer with its best fruits – raspberries – in this berry and coconut cake.
This was a straightforward cake: cream butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla then flour and coconut. I tweaked – I used roughly half white/half wholemeal (instead of all wholemeal). I used sour cream instead of milk, because I had a tub of sour cream in the fridge. And instead of folding the raspberries through the batter, I put half the cake batter down, then scattered across enough raspberries to make a decent layer, then topped with the other half of the batter (which was incredibly stiff, from the coconut I think, so perhaps I’d use less next time).
I was shocked at the amount of sugar – I actually checked I was reading it correctly. I blanched, but closed my eyes and tipped it in anyway. If it was inedible, I reasoned, I’d pass it on to mum’s chooks. Surprisingly, the final cake was not teeth-on-edge sweet, but the top developed a chewy, crackly top, not unlike a good brownie. Bravo then to all that sugar.
And of course, those juicy, pink raspberries, oozing though the moist cake – perfection.
This is a lovely, chewy, coconutty reminder of a beautiful summer. Definitely one to make again – at any time of the year.
Raspberry coconut cake
From ‘French ties: Love, life and recipes’ by Jane Webster (I can’t actually find my copy; please go to the official site - it has such a pretty picture).
I used a 23 centimetre cake tin (not springform). The cake batter is really stiff once you add the coconut – you’ll really have to smear it about firmly with your spoon or spatula with the bottom layer, and use for your fingers to dot the top layer over the berries. Don’t worry if you don’t completely cover the fruit – mine spread as it cooked.