Coconut Cake

Want to bake something different?

Coconut cake is delicious but I find it needs to be eaten a few hours after it has been taken out of the oven—at its moistest. The next day though, even though it is still delicious, it is a bit dry.

What’s with the weird designs in the cake pictures?

I tried out three different recipes before writing this post. The first is the one I photographed for the entire post. I was so sure it would be moist the next day, but it was on the dry side. So I did what any rational person would do. I poured some rum over it for moisture.


Why do coconut cakes become dry?

Desiccated coconut is like a sponge, sucking up moisture, so you need to adjust for it in the dry ingredients. I loved the taste and texture of the first cake even though it was dry. So I changed the recipe a little and tried a second time. Even though it turned out moist, it tasted more like a sponge cake flavoured with coconut.

And then …

Then in the third recipe, I used hydrated coconut. So I learnt with coconut cake, there’s two ways to sort out the dryness issue. Either reduce the amount of flour or rehydrate the dry coconut.


How do you rehydrate dry coconut?

Put about a cup of desiccated coconut on a plate. Then, sprinkle a tablespoon or two of water over the coconut. Next, put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds to a minute. To check if it feels moistened, rub it between your clean fingers. You don’t want it to be soggy. But if it’s still not moist, sprinkle more water and repeat.

Which coconut did you use?

I used Yankee Doodle, the 50 grams ones that you get at the supermarket. By the way, 50 grams is about half a cup.


Random conclusion

The pile of books the cake is on were what I had recently read. The Hurricane Sisters was ok. At the moment, I am reading The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul, which is so beautifully written—very complex layers and angles but not heavy and depressing. The Samurai’s Garden was a really good book. It is definitely going up there among my favourite books. What have you been reading recently?

Coconut Cake


  • 1 cup or 200g butter
  • 1 cup and 2 Tablespoons or 225g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mala/buttermilk/pineapple juice
  • 150g or 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 40g or 1/3 cup cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups (100 grams) desiccated coconut


Cream the slightly less than 1 cup butter and 1 cup sugar until pale in color, light and fluffy.

Beat in the 4 eggs one at a time until absorbed. Add the 2 teaspoons vanilla.

In a separate bowl mix the 1 1/4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 40 grams cornflour and 1 1/4 cups (100grams) coconut.

Pour half the dry ingredients into the egg mixture and combine gently.

Next pour the 1/2 cup mala (buttermilk) and combine.

Finally, pour the remaining half of the dry ingredients.

Spoon the batter into the greased and floured tin and bake for 40-50 minutes. Cake is done when a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.


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