Coconut & Cherry Layer CakeJanuary 20, 2016
We’re calling it: 2016 is the year of the non-boring, non-traditional birthday cake. First up, coconut and cherry layer cake.
I have several conditions that must be met in order for a cake to be birthday appropriate. This is because I am the eldest of 4 and a big bossy boots, and actually it’s your party and you can eat cake if you want to, but I digress.
The point of having these keys to the cake is that birthdays are special. They should feel like your favourite movie. The thought of it should fill you with excitement, they should be populated with your favourite characters. It should feel like you.
When I make a birthday cake for someone, I want it to be the brilliant third act in their movie of a day. Sure, a chocolate packet cake isn’t horrible (although the ingredient list may make your head spin), but it’s not the kind of day maker we’re looking for here.
A good birthday cake should be somewhat original. A bold, memorable flavour and a sense of presentation are also key. Lucky for you, this coconut and cherry layer cake has all of these things in spades.
Kirsch or Kirschwasser is a clear brandy made from morello cherries. It’s not sweet like a cherry liqueur, so it just provides a slightly bitter, very cherry tasting depth of flavour (by the way, you should be eating more bitter foods). It makes a delicious, uniquely flavoured cake that is sweetened with a gorgeous fluffy buttercream and coconut icing. Fresh cherries on top round out the theatrical presentation – just look at that baby! A cake fit for a loved one’s birthday indeed.
Coconut & Cherry Layer Cake
For the cake
- 200g butter
- 200g caster sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 large free-range eggs, lightly beaten
- 200g self-raising flour
- 60g desiccated coconut mixed with 3 tbsp hot water
For the buttercream
- 100g coconut oil* at room temperature
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 400g icing sugar, sifted
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp dried sour cherries, roughly chopped
- 6 tbsp good quality morello cherry jam
- 1 tbsp Kirsch (if you have any lying about)
- (*if you don’t have any coconut oil just use all butter)
- 12 fresh cherries
- Heat the oven to 180°C.
- Grease and line the base of a 22cm round cake tin.
- Simmer the dried cherries in about ½ cup of water. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid and leave to cool while you get on with the cake.
- In a mixer set with a whisk or paddle beat the butter, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla until pale and fluffy.
- On a medium-low speed add the eggs in three batches, alternating with the flour. Be sure to scrape down the side of the bowl to make sure the mixture is well combined.
- Spoon into your prepared tin, level the surface of the batter with the back of a metal spoon. Bake in the centre of the oven, until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Drain the cherries.
- Make the buttercream by whipping the coconut oil (if using), butter, vanilla and icing sugar until fluffy. Start out on a low speed otherwise the icing sugar will go all over the place. Spoon about 6 tbsp of the buttercream into a small bowl and set aside for later. In a separate bowl combine the cherry jam, kirsch and drained cherries.
- When the cake is cool, split in half and spread the base with half the buttercream and the cherry filling. Spread the remaining buttercream on top of the other half of the cake and sandwich them.
- Using the reserved buttercream spoon or pipe 12 balls of icing around the top edge of the cake.
- Top with the cherries and dive in!