“Why another recipe for chocolate cake?”, you might ask.
For nearly a decade now, I thought I had found THE chocolate cake recipe, namely Nigella Lawson’s Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake, which has been my faithful go-to chocolate cake recipe for every occasion from birthday parties to moments where I simply felt that chocolate cake was the answer (like on Friday nights when I like to be slumped on the sofa watching back-to-back episodes of the Good Wife).
But I think this Chocolate Coconut Cake might be my new favourite cake …
This recipe comes from Scandinavian Baking by Trine Hahnemann, a book which evokes both comfort at the mere sight of the cover and comfort from within, courtesy of a comprehensive selection of Scandinavian recipes for cakes, pastries and breads.
What I love about this cake is how tender and chocolatey it is, probably owing to the cream content in the batter, and how simple and understated it is to both make and look at.
Although there is coconut in the batter, you can’t really taste the coconut in the cake itself. But the coconut sprinkled on top of the chocolate icing (which is simply melted chocolate with a knob of butter) brings life to this plain cake, reminiscent of the cosiness of fresh snow on a cold winter’s day. But anyone who is a fan of Bounty bars would not need any persuasion on the comforting combination of milk chocolate and coconut.
The original recipe calls for a 28 cm cake tin, which would produce a rather huge cake, but nonetheless fitting for celebrations such as birthdays or large afternoon tea parties. My largest round cake tin is 24 cm and I still ended up with a rather large and high cake, but it was so delicious that neither my husband nor I complained about having to help ourselves to multiple servings over several days.
If you want a simple, no-fuss chocolate cake with a tender crumb and full of chocolate flavour, this is the cake to try.
- For the cake
- 200 g (7 oz) unsalted butter
- 150 g (5.3 oz) dark chocolate
- 4 eggs, separated
- 200 g (7 oz) caster sugar
- 100 g (3.5 oz) plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 100 g (3.5 oz) dessicated coconut
- 200 ml (6.5 fl oz) double cream (heavy whipping cream)
- For the icing
- 200 g (7 oz) dark chocolate
- ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
- 50 g (2 oz) dessicated coconut
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Line the base of a 24 cm cake tin with baking paper and lightly grease the sides.
- Melt the butter and dark chocolate in a bain marie (or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water) and set aside to cool slightly.
- Beat the egg yolks with the caster sugar until light and fluffy, and stir through the chocolate mixture.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the plain flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and dessicated coconut.
- Fold the flour mixture into the batter alternatively with the double cream (heavy whipping cream).
- In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until they are stiff and gently fold them into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for about 50 to 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Leave the cake to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
- Make the icing by the dark chocolate and then whisk through the butter.
- Spread the icing over the cake and let it run down the sides, and sprinkle over the dessicated coconut.
As is the case for any cake where chocolate is the key flavour, you should use the best-quality chocolate you can afford. This cake works best with chocolate with at least 60% cocoa solids, and the darkest, richest cocoa powder you can find.
My cake sunk a little in the middle upon cooling (maybe because I left it too close to an open window), but it just meant that some of the icing pooled in the centre.
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If you have made this dish, I would love to hear how it turned out! Please leave a comment below and share your photos on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #eatlittlebird