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Coconut Extravaganza

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225 g (8 oz) butter, softened
225 g (8 oz) caster sugar
150 g (6 oz) self-raising flour, sifted
50 g (2 oz) cocoa powder, sifted
2 tablespoons (30 ml) milk
50 g (2 oz) desiccated coconut
325 g (12 oz) plain chocolate, roughly chopped
426 ml ( pint) double cream
25 g (1 oz) drinking chocolate powder
10 plain and milk chocolate-coated coconut bars
100 g (4 oz) strawberries, halved
Icing sugar, to dust
10 fresh mint sprigs
100 cm x 1 cm (40 inches x inch) green ribbon


Serves: 12


1  Grease and line a 20 cm (8 inch) round, deep, loose-bottomed cake tin.

2  Beat together the butter, caster sugar, flour, cocoa, milk and 25 g (1 oz) of the desiccated coconut until smooth and fluffy. Spoon into the prepared tin and place in a pre­heated oven, 160ºC (325ºF), Gas Mark 3, for 55-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Turn out and cool on a wire rack.

3  To make the chocolate cream: melt 75 g (3 oz) of the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Leave to cool for 2 minutes. Whip together the double cream and chocolate powder until soft peaks form. Using a metal spoon, carefully fold the cooled melted chocolate into the whipped cream and put half into a clean bowl. Toast the remaining desiccated coconut under a low grill and leave to cool. When cold, fold the coconut into half the reserved whipped chocolate cream.

4  To decorate the cake: slice the cake in half horizontally and sand­wich together with the coconut cream. Place on a serving plate and cover the top and sides of the cake with the chocolate cream; smooth over with a palette knife.

5  Melt the remaining chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Spread the melted chocolate on a sheet of nonstick baking paper to form a 25 x 23 cm (10 x 9 inch) rectangle. Leave in a cool place until just set. Using a clean ruler and a sharp knife, cut the chocolate into 15 rectangles, each 7 x 5 cm (3 x 2 inches). Leave until hard but do not chill.

6 Carefully lift the chocolate rec­tangles off the paper, handling them as little as possible. Press them into the chocolate cream around the side of the cake. Arrange the chocolate-coated coconut bars on top and then deco­rate with the strawberry halves. Dust the cake with icing sugar and arrange the mint sprigs on top. Cut the ends of the ribbon into 'V' shapes and tie around the cake just before serving.

Preparation Time: 50 Minutes, Plus Cooling Time
Cooking Time: 55-60 Minutes
Oven Temperature: 160C (325F), Gas Mark 3

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