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Coconut Meringue Cake

September 18, 2010

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Sometimes you wake up and you know its going to be a bad day, today was one of those days. I tried to throw off the bad day vibe; I even thought I’d done it when I spied a birthday card in the post in which J had quoted Gladstone:

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‘If you are cold,

Tea will warm you.

If you are too heated,

It will cool you.

If you are depressed,

It will cheer you.

If you are excited,

It will calm you.’

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I poured myself a cup of tea and managed to throw off the bad day vibe for a couple of hours. Alas the bad day is back, so I think another cup of tea is in order; something scented enveloping and heartwarming to remind me that there are days like yesterday.

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Yesterday was my birthday and it was a lovely day, I significant proportion of the day to making a fresh coconut cake, out of the leaves of the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. That cookbook cannot be trusted, the cakes look stunning and some of them taste so, but some of those recipes are so disappointing. This was one, although the cake went down very well, I didn’t like the sponge at all, it was excessively firm and tasted slightly cardboard-like. Its saving grace was the coconut syrup drizzled on top, which served to moisten, soften and flavour the cake. The idea is great, I love the idea, the fresh coconut provides a subtle but lovely flavour and icing tasted good, it was the sponge recipe really let this cake down.

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My friends seemed to think I was being over critical, but this cake just wasn’t worth the effort, for it required a lot of effort, considering the end result. It has potential though, maybe using a standard sponge recipe it would work out and taste as good as it looks pretty.

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Coconut Meringue Cake

from the hummingbird bakery cookbook

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370g caster sugar

120g unsalted butter, softened

500g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

250ml whole milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 egg whites

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Preheat oven to 170˚C.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Mix flour and baking powder together and milk and vanilla essence together. Alternately beat the flour mixture and the milk mixture into the creamed butter and sugar  until combined.

In another bowl beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, fold into the cake mix using a metal spoon until just combined.

Split between 3 8-inch cake tins and bake for 25-30 mins at 170˚C.

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for sugar syrup

60g sugar

1 fresh coconut

Pierce the eyes of the coconut and strain milk into a jug, add water to make 250ml. Heat with the sugar until boiling, stirring frequently, set aside to cool.

Meanwhile place the drained coconut in the oven for 15 minutes.

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for icing

6 egg whites (to wiegh 200g)

320g caster sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

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Crack open the coconut and grate the flesh.

Put the egg whites sugar and 75ml of water in a (very large) bowl over a pan of simmering water. Beat with a handheld whisk until stiff peaks form (this takes a VERY long time). Remove from the heat and beat in the vanilla.

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When cakes are cool, drizzle each with a third of the coconut syrup, spread icing, and sprinkle a little grated coconut between the layers. Cover the cake in icing, then sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

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