coconut cake with citrus buttercream

BIRTHDAY! Birthday, birthday, birthday! Hurrah for me! I’m probably at the age where I should be dreading birthdays and worrying about entering a different age bracket on surveys, but the thing is…I REALLY like cake.
Is it weird to get excited about making your own birthday cake? Maybe it’s because a lot of the other things that I make end up being eaten by other people (I’m definitely a feeder!) and birthday cake is something that I can totally justify tucking into myself.

coconut cake with citrus buttercream
Don’t worry if you aren’t the worlds biggest fan of coconut, the flavour in this is very mild. In fact if you do want to boost it a bit you might want to consider adding a few drops of coconut extract. I’ve primarily used the coconut milk for moistness and texture in the sponge. It’s really good.
The frosting’s super yummy too, really rich and creamy without being too sweet, it really shows off the delicate citrus flavours.

coconut cake with citrus buttercream

Ingredients
serves 12

Sponge
100g butter
175g sugar
pinch of salt
200g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 eggs, seperated
150ml coconut milk

buttercream
3 egg whites
150g sugar
200g butter (room temperature, cut into small cubes)
zest of 2 limes and 2 soft citrus (I used minneolas but tangerines are also good)

coconut cake with citrus buttercream

Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and grease and line a pair of sandwich cake tins.
Cream together the butter and 100g of the sugar. Beat the egg yolks into this. Sift together the flour and baking powder and then mix this in too. Beat in the coconut milk.
In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites with the salt until they are nice and stiff. Sprinkle in the remaining 75g of sugar and whisk again until you have a glossy meringue. Mix a large spoonful of the this into the cake batter to lighten it and then gently fold in the remaining meringue.
Divide the batter evenly between the cake tins and bake the sponges for 30 minutes, or until they are golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Leave them to cool in the tins.

coconut cake with citrus buttercream
To make the Swiss meringue buttercream you need to start with a mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water. Put the egg white and sugar in the bowl and gently whisk it to keep it moving whilst it heats up. It needs to be quite warm and the sugar needs to have dissolved into the egg white. Just rub a little between your fingers to check the temperature and that it isn’t grainy. Once you’ve reached this stage you can take the bowl off the pan and whisk the egg white until it is stiff (like meringue) and cool. An electric mixer is best here.
Once it is very cool you can beat in the butter, a little piece at a time. If the mixture is too warm then the butter will simply melt so make sure it’s cool before you start. If you need to you can pop it in the fridge for a few minutes. Continue to beat the buttercream until it has become lovely and smooth and creamy, it’s quite forgiving as long as it doesn’t get too warm. Finally mix in the zest.
Spread one third of the buttercream onto whichever sponge you want to use as the base and then place the other sponge on top. Spread the remaining buttercream on the top and down the side of the cakes, to completely cover it. Let the cake sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before you serve it so that the buttercream can firm up a little.

coconut cake with citrus buttercream