Simple Coconut Cake – an Emily Dickinson recipe



If you’re wondering why this cake has such a lumpy crumb its because I used a jam knife to cut a slice. I couldn’t wait (or be bothered) to get a proper  serrated knife :p

I’ve been wanting to try a coconut cake but so many recipes call for condensed milk which I try not to use. Also, they’re quite messy to make – pouring condensed milk over the baked sponges and allowing them to soak.

Then I stumbled upon this really simple recipe! Excuse my ignorance but I have no idea who Emily Dickinson is (apparently she’s a poet?). The blogpost was really interesting, talking about how she wasn’t very sociable but liked to send loved ones food.

This recipe is quite similar to the crumble cake that I made recently. However the methods of mixing the ingredients differ. If I make this coconut cake again, I’ll definitely experiment with the “alternating wet & dry ingredients” rather than “wet to dry”.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder   -or-   1 tsp cream of tartar + 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (~113g) unsalted butter, softened and cubed
2 eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded coconut   -or-  dessicated coconut soaked in warm water and drained well
Zest of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 162C. Grease a 9″ x 5″ tin well. 
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and pinch of salt.
3. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each is well mixed before the next addition. 
Here’s where the combination of wet and dry ingredients can possibly be altered.
Method #1:
Add the milk and mix well. The mixture will now look clumpy as though the milk has been soured. This is due to the cold temperature of the milk causing the butter to solidify into lumps. Do not worry!
Add the wet to dry and fold swiftly until well combined. Do not overmix!
Method #2:
Add a quarter of the milk and mix well. Add a quarter of the flour and fold until flour is no longer visible. Continue alternating milk and flour, ending with flour. 
4. Fold in the coconut until evenly distributed. Pour into the prepared tin and even it out. Bake 50-60 minutes until a skewed inserted in the centre comes out clean and the top is nicely browned.
*If after 50 mins the cake is not done and the top is browned, cover with foil and continue to bake for 5-10 mins, checking after 5 mins. 

Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 5-10 mins before removing and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack or serve warm.

I was actually worried when the wet ingredients looked like buttermilk but went on with it. I also did not have large bowl so I sifted in the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, a quarter at a time. Crossed my fingers and whacked it in the oven. Mine took 60 mins in total, possibly due to the moistness of my rehydrated coconut. You can tell from the photos that I’ve baked it a tad too long with the slightly thick outer crust but the inside is so, so moist and coconutty! There’s a lot of coconut running through it so every mouthful is coconut bliss ❤


Um yeah, I ate a slice first before taking photos… Oops!

Oh and Happy Mother’s Day if you’re in the UK!



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