Budget Baking: Honey coconut cake with caramel icing
I love old cookbooks. I love how much history is hidden in their pages – both about the food people were eating at the time but also about the family who owned it (you can usually tell which recipe was the favourite based on how many food stains are on the page). I love the kitschy ingredients they used to combine and the strange, incredibly unappealing, way they used to present food – as if theatrical food was more delicious.
I have a massive stack of ancient cookbooks and while I mostly use them for reference and pure reading pleasure, there is one I am absolutely obsessed with:
The Australian Women’s Weekly Cakes and Slices Cookbook (published who knows when? I can’t find it online and it isn’t printed anywhere in the book!) is a goldmine of truly excellent baking projects but there is one that I keep going back to and has proved to be a crowd favourite over and over again and that’s the honey coconut cake with caramel icing on page 50. I’ve made it as both a full cake and as cupcakes (it yields 13 cupcakes – an odd number, I know) and it never lasts very long because everyone goes back for seconds!
Honey coconut cake
- 1/2 cup shredded or desiccated coconut (I reckon you get a better result with shredded)
- 125g butter, softened
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 1/2 cups self raising flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- Preheat the oven to 180C
- Grease a cake tin, approx 20cm across is best
- Warm a pot over a medium heat and stir the coconut until it begins to colour slightly – do not walk away during this,, it turns black very quickly! Then set aside to cool
- Cream butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer and then beat the eggs in one at a time. Stir in the flour, sifted, and the milk
- Stir in the coconut and honey
- Pour mixture into the cake tin and and bake for approx 30-35 minutes – then stand for 5 minutes to cool before turning out onto a cooling rack (seriously, let it stand in it’s bake tin, otherwise it will crumble in your hands!)
- 60g butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 1/2 cup icing sugar
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, add the brown sugar and stir without boiling for a minute or two, until it dissolves
- Add the milk and then the icing sugar, stir until smooth
I like to pour the caramel icing over the top while it’s still all warm, because I reckon it turns out better. Then I sprinkle extra coconut over the top because coconut is excellent.
Seriously, this cake is excellent and my favourite to bake. Thanks, AWW!