TROPICAL COCONUT CAKE WITH PINEAPPLE FLOWERS
We’re running with a summery seafood theme at our house this year and this tropical cake will provide the perfect light finale to our celebration.
1 fresh pineapple, skin removed, sliced into even 3mm-thick slices
225g butter, softened
2 cups caster sugar
2 large free-range eggs
2½ cups self-raising flour
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup sour cream
6 large egg whites
Whipped coconut cream, to serve (start a day ahead; see step 13 for instructions)
¾ cup caster sugar
110g butter, diced
Finely grated zest ½ lemon
½ cup good-quality (unsweetened) pineapple juice ¼ cup lemon juice
4 large eggs, beaten
CREAM CHEESE BUTTER CREAM 200g butter, softened
250g cream cheese, softened 4 cups icing sugar
2-3 cups toasted shredded coconut
FOR THE PINEAPPLE FLOWERS
1 Preheat oven to 80°C fanbake. Lay pineapple slices on lined trays and bake for about 2 hours (if edges brown too quickly, lower heat). When pineapple has shrunk and is easy to lift off trays, place half (still warm) over small glasses or egg cups to set into concave shapes; leave rest on trays. Leave in a warm place for 1-2 days to dry out fully then use or store airtight in fridge.
FOR THE CURD
2 Place the sugar, butter, zest and juices in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir until the butter has melted.
3 Stir in beaten eggs. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until curd thickens and holds a line when you run a finger across a coated spoon. Pour into a jar and refrigerate when cool.
FOR THE CAKE
4 Preheat oven to 180°C fanbake and grease and line two 25cm cake tins.
5 In a stand mixer beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
6 Add one-third of flour and mix until combined. Mix the coconut milk and vanilla together. 7 Add half the coconut milk to batter and mix thoroughly. Continue to add the flour and coconut milk alternately, mixing until only just combined, until used up. Add sour cream and mix until incorporated.
8 Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the cake batter.
9 Divide evenly between the two prepared tins. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the centre. Set aside to cool.
FOR THE BUTTER CREAM
10 In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until pale and fluffy. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined. Gradually add the icing sugar until combined and smooth. TO ASSEMBLE
11 (The cakes can be made 1-2 days ahead and assembled the day before or on the day; keep refrigerated once iced.) Lay one of the sponges on a serving platter and spread with the pineapple curd. Place the other sponge on top and secure with a couple of bamboo skewers pushed down from the top (snip off skewers flush with top of cake).
12 Spread the butter cream carefully all over the surface. Sprinkle and press the toasted coconut into the butter cream. Arrange the dried pineapple flowers on top.
13 Serve with whipped coconut cream. (Leave a can of coconut milk in fridge overnight. The next day, drain off liquid and scoop hardened coconut cream into large bowl. With a hand-held mixer, whip until light and fluffy, adding 1 Tbsp icing sugar if desired. Chill until ready to serve.)