Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Snowstorm Birthday: Coconut, Ginger & Cherry Cake

I created this gorgeous layer cake for my father's birthday, a variation of the cherry and almond cake I've blogged about before. The addition of glace ginger gives it a particularly festive zinginess, ideal to balance out the gluttonous sweetness of the coconut and glace cherry. A very special and scrumptious cake. Dad loved it, and he certainly wasn't the only one!

Cake base adapted from the cake recipe in Joanna Isle's lovely little book from the 1980s, A Proper Tea buy the book on Amazon  
Topping and other additions my own recipe.

For the base:
115g glace cherries
115g glace ginger
200g self-raising flour
pinch of salt (optional)
200g caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
50g ground almonds
50g dessicated coconut
200g butter
half a tsp almond extract

1. Turn the oven to 160C (140C fan oven). Grease and line a 23 inch baking tin or two 18 inch tins.

2. Halve the glace cherries and glace ginger and roll them in a little extra flour, before putting them to one side. Rolling them in flour may stop them from all sinking to the bottom of the cake when it's baking (although, being an idle cook, I don't worry about that sort of thing).

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until creamed.

4. Add the first beaten egg to the creamed mixture, then sieve in a little of the flour and stir gently before adding the other 2 eggs, and the rest of the flour, salt if using, and almond extract a bit at a time.

5. Throw in the cherries, ginger, coconut and ground almonds. Stir the cake mixture gently by hand with a wooden spoon until the fruit and nuts are well combined.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin or tins and bake for approx 50 minutes, until the tops have browned and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave in the tins for 10 minutes before transferring onto a wire rack or plate.

for the filling:
4-6 tablespoons cherry jam (I used M&S red cherry conserve)

7. When the cakes have cooled, spread cherry jam over the bottom cake, sandwiching the other cake ontop.

for the topping:
100g icing sugar
2 tablespoons water or coconut milk
3 or 4 large handfuls coconut curls or dessicated coconut
1 large handful glace cherries
1 large handful glace ginger

8. Make glace icing by whisking the water and icing sugar together until a firm but runny consistency. Pour the icing over the top cake, letting it drip down the sides. Quickly scatter coconut over the top cake before the icing dries. Add the glace cherries and ginger to decorate, then sprinkle more coconut on top.

9. Leave for half an hour to let the icing and topping settle, before serving the cake with cream, custard or icecream.

This cake was idly baked while listening to The Velvet Underground & Nico's debut album.

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