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the best orange and coconut cake ever

March 5, 2012

I’ve been known, in my fairly short and somewhat uneventful life, to frequently describe things as “the best [insert thing here] ever!”

A sleep in followed by a pie from the fancy bakery (as opposed to the less-fancy one)? “The best Saturday morning ever!

Buying a pizza and bringing it into the open air movie instead of buying the overpriced picnic baskets on site? “The best dinner-win ever!”

Rummaging through your bag to find not only a tin of mints but also an umbrella minutes before you’re due to meet a sexy boy for a dinner date? “The best foresight ever!”

The only thing I don’t frequently apply my best ever moniker to, however, is cake.

Especially cake made by me.

It’s not that I have anything against cake (anymore), it’s just… well… there’s always something imperfect about it.

Too moist. Not moist enough. Too strong a flavour. No flavour at all. Lovely crumb… horribly crumbly. Too fancy. Too plain. Too sweet. Too strange. Too large. Too much work.

And then I made this cake.

It all started very innocently.

“What are you doing up so early?” asked mum as she wandered into the kitchen to see me peering into the cupboards.

“I want to make something. For the blog. Maybe even for lunch?”

“You should make a cake.”

“Do you want cake? I can make you a cake. Maybe a pretty one with icing or cream and in layers and…”

“Nah. A simple cake.”

“A simple cake?”

“Yes. Just a cake-cake. Your cousin likes cake.”

“So do you…”

“You haven’t posted a cake in a very long time on your blog?” she said, changing the topic swiftly. ”Maybe you can use your tin. The one that you hid in the spare room because you thought I wouldn’t see it there.”

Hmph.

It was a one-bowl cake made in a rush before chasing the rarely-glowing sunny skies to the beach for the day.

I left it on the kitchen counter overnight and promptly forgot about it.

An hour before dinner-time my phone beeped with a message.

“When can we eat your cake? Mum.”

I took some hasty photographs as the table was being set and, when the meal was done, brought it to be eaten.

A silence.

“This is some seriously good cake” said Mr Shepperdoo.

A pause. The muffled sound of chewing.

A second slice for everyone on the table and by the end of the night a third of it was gone.

The next day I brought four slivers in for my buddies at work, curious to see their reaction.

Less than a minute after dropping a slice off with the Pav, he returned with a consensus from the troops.

Best cake they’ve had in recent memory.

We finished the last slice off tonight. An anemic wedge that had been hoarded because nobody wanted to see it run out. We ate it when we realised how ludicrous it was to be saving a slice of cake that one had the recipe for.

It was solemnly cut into five mostly equal chunks. Half a mouthful each at the most.

It was, after five days, almost as good as it had been on the first night we ate it.

Not a hint of dryness or staleness. Bursting with flavour. Full bodied enough to sink your teeth into without being heavy.

The best orange & coconut cake I’ve ever eaten… dare I say ever?

the best orange & coconut cake ever
 

This recipe will fill one standard kugelhopf tin. The palm sugar really adds to the earthy sweetness of the cake – if you can’t find it, try raw cane sugar instead.
Ingredients
  • 225g butter
  • 1¾C sugar
  • 2tbsp palm sugar (grated)
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼C orange juice
  • 2tbsp orange zest
  • 250ml natural yoghurt
  • 1½C plain flour
  • 1C shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp baking soda

How to make it
  1. Let the butter come to room temperature. Chop it into fat cubes and toss it in the large bowl of a stand mixer with the sugar and grated palm sugar. Beat until it is light and fluffy and pale. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, a hand held mixer or a wooden spoon + enormous biceps will do the job too).
  2. Zest the orange and then juice it. I got slightly less than ¼C of juice. Toss the juice, zest, eggs and yoghurt into the butter mixture and stir well to combine. It will look lumpy and curdled but that is ok.
  3. Sift the plain flour and baking soda into the bowl then toss the shredded coconut in as well. Stir well to combine.
  4. Tip the mixture into a well greased kugelhopf tin and bake it in a 170C oven for an hour, checking at 50 minutes to see if it’s done. A skewer poked through the middle of the cake should come out with a very light crumb attached. Let the cake cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes before upending it onto a rack to cool completely.


  • #1
    March 5th, 2012

    Your relationship with your mum is adorable. The cake looks amazing. I’ve never had the coconut and orange combo before..

  • #2
    March 5th, 2012

    Oh my goodness… I am COMPLETELY sold on this cake. Your recipes are so true and tried and I’m sure you’re your biggest critic. Thanks for sharing this! I love these sorta simple, warm and uniced cakes. My favourite to eat, that’s why the classic Butter cakes is still my fave cake to eat! Also, nat yog in cakes has served very well for me in the past and I love how you used palm sugar, it’s been a while since I’ve used those. Can’t wait to try this recipe out, Shez!! =D

  • #3
    Rory
    March 5th, 2012

    Is the topping sugar mixed with orange juice then coconut sprinkled on top? I think I’m gonna try it out tomorrow – have to take a cake to work on Thursday :)

  • March 5th, 2012

    Hi Rory :)
    The topping is just icing sugar mixed with the tiniest bit of orange juice until you get a gluggy consistency. Pour it over the top and use a butter knife to help it along down the sides then sprinkle coconut shreds all over it. Hope it works out beautifully for you!

  • #4
    March 6th, 2012

    I adore anything with coconut. Many thanks for the excellent recipe!

  • #5
    March 6th, 2012

    Ooh I love cakes like this. Shez it looks beautiful and I love the fact that it stays true to itself even after 5 days. From what I can see,I think “Best cake ever” might be a very good call :)

  • #6
    March 6th, 2012

    Wow whata cake! I am so glad you commented as I would have missed your beautiful site which is now added to my reader so I won’t miss it again. I really liked the photographs especially the last ones with the crumbs!

  • #7
    March 6th, 2012

    i’m completely sold, you always suck me in with your awesome stories! yes i will bake it in the near future :)

  • #8
    March 6th, 2012

    Looks lovely! The combination of orange and coconut is so tropical, I’ll have to try it :)

  • #9
    March 6th, 2012

    What a delicious cake you have made! Your blog is lovely. Will follow you. Ciao!

  • #10
    Gloria
    March 7th, 2012

    I made this cake this evening cause I just wanted something simple, fast and good. Well this is seriously delicious. Moist with a touch of crunch from the top of the cake. I didn’t even bother with an icing although I’m sure that would great but on it’s own it’s outstanding. Thanks for this recipe

  • #11
    Barb
    March 8th, 2012

    What is the equivalent of gms butter and ml of yogurt? I am clueless with metric!

  • March 8th, 2012

    Hi Barb,

    225g of butter is a smidge more than a stick (about the amount you can balance on the ball of your thumb) and 250ml of yoghurt is the same as a cup of yoghurt. Hope it works out for you!

    Shez

  • #12
    March 8th, 2012

    I am a simple cake girl and this one sounds lovely. Orange and coconut, yummy.

  • #13
    March 12th, 2012

    Hello Sheryl:) Can’t believe it’s my first time coming to your blog ~ you’ve got some amazing recipes!!! This is definitely a cake that I would love :) I’m absolutely adore orange cakes and with coconut even better ~

  • #14
    Mel
    June 15th, 2012

    Hey Shez, can you make this in a normal cake tin, rather than a kugelhof one – or does it come out too dense?

  • June 15th, 2012

    Hi Mel,

    I’ve made the cake in a normal tin before and it was fine. A little less crumbly but still very tasty. Lower the baking temperature by 10 degrees and cook it a bit longer. I check with a skewer, you should be able to pull it out with little crumbs attached.

    Shez x

  • #15
    Maria
    July 1st, 2012

    Hi Shez, this cake made my mouth water! I am in the mood to bake and all I have on hand is coconut and oranges and typed in coconut orange cake and I found you! So excited. I am baking this tonight!

    I have a question about the butter. My butter comes in sticks that only equals 1/2 a cup (4 sticks per box). Does this recipe call for 1/2 a cup or 1 cup butter?

    Thanks!
    M

  • July 1st, 2012

    Hi Maria,

    Two sticks will be perfect for this recipe :-)

    Shez

  • #16
    Maria
    July 1st, 2012

    Hi Shez,

    Thank you for responding. I made the cake and….oh my… so deliscious! The texture and flavour is perfection! Thank you! My husband thanks you too:)

  • #17
    August 14th, 2012

    Have you tried this as cupcakes? Just curious. It sounds wonderful. I’ll have to give it a try.

  • August 14th, 2012

    Hi Kelly,

    I haven’t, but think they would do spendidly as cupcakes – perhaps with a cream cheese icing on top? If you try it out, please let me know!

    Shez x

  • #18
    roberta
    August 18th, 2013

    can you freeze this cake im making a few orange cakes as i have so many oranges ty

  • August 18th, 2013

    Hi Roberta! You can definitely freeze this cake – I’ve kept it for up to a month and it is almost as good after defrosting as it is fresh. Give it a little heat up in a microwave just before eating and it will be perfect.

  • #19
    Helen: Question coconut is it sweetened or not? On my way to make. It looks delicious Thank you.
    August 17th, 2014

    Question coconut is it sweetened or not? On my way to make. It looks delicious Thank you.

  • #20
    Try everything once
    October 13th, 2014

    Oh dear, either I missed something in translation to American measurements but my cake, though tasty, does not taste of orange and when I took it out of the pan, was drenched in grease. I used a cup of butter. Somehow I think it was too much. Having said that, it is tasty. Will try with icecream and see what happens.

Shez