The only request from my daughter Evie was that her First Communion cake had to be “white” to match with her white dress and white orchids in her hair. It was a fair enough request which I was happy to comply with as coconut is one of my favourite flavours and it meant I got to buy a box of Raffaellos guilt free. (Of course made sure I bought more that I actually needed!)
However it has to be said that you really do need to like coconut to enjoy this cake. Coconut milk, coconut extract, desiccated coconut, coconut flakes and of course Raffaellos, mixed together with other white ingredients - flour, egg whites, milk, sugar - to create this real showstopper. It looked impeccable and tasted delicious.
On the First Communion day Evie looked angelic and pure as well - funny how looks can be deceiving :)
First Communion Coconut Cake
3 knobs of butter for prepping the cake tins
200ml light coconut milk, whisked
5 large egg whites
1 tbsp coconut extract (or vanilla extract)
275g plain flour
50g desiccated coconut
1 tbsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
175g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra
400g white caster sugar
200g white caster sugar (for dissolving)
4 tablespoons of water
4 large egg whites
75g white caster sugar (to add to egg whites)
350g unsalted butter, softened
125g coconut flakes
3 x 7-inch/20cm cake tins
Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F.
Butter the 3 cake tins and line the bottom of each with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl whisk the wet ingredients (coconut milk, egg whites, milk and coconut extract) together and in a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients (flour, cornflour, desiccated coconut, baking powder and salt) together.
Beat the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients and mix together, then the wet ingredients and beat until smooth.
Divide the mixture between the 3 cake tins and bake for 35-40 minutes.
Turn out and cool on wire racks until cold enough to put the frosting on.
Make the icing:
Mix the 200g of sugar with 4 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan and warm gently until the sugar dissolves. You can agitate it every now and again with a spoon to speed the process along.
Meanwhile put the egg whites in a stand mixer and whisk until firm. Gradually add the 75g of caster sugar and whisk again to stiff peaks.
Turn your attention back to the sugar syrup. Boil the syrup until it reaches a temperature of 120°C/250°F on a sugar thermometer.
Whilst whisking the egg whites on the highest speed setting, slowly pour in the syrup. Keep whisking until the meringue is at room temperature.
Then whisk a spoonful of butter at a time into the meringue until you have a shiny smooth icing.
Use the icing to fill and cover the cake. It may look like there isn’t going to be enough but it goes a long way.
Press the coconut flakes onto the sides and sprinkle on top. Arrange the Raffaellos to the top with your own artistic flair.
BUTTER Abernethy Butter
EGGS Skea Eggs