Colouring coconut

So, this week was another cake club meeting. After last time I decided that a practise was most definitely in order! The theme was Rio carnival, which meant you could be inspired by any country in the world cup, but as soon as I read it I fancied a lime and coconut cake.

I found this recipe on the Ocado website, which I tried last weekend. I baked it in two tins instead of one (I am not that good as slicing cakes in half) and it seemed to bake fine.


But I wasn’t that much of a fan. It has cream cheese icing, which I didn’t think went that well with the cake. Plus the icing had waaaaaay too much icing sugar in it. After spending a lot of time on google it seems that icing sugar makes the icing runnier, when you would think it would thicken it. Anyway the icing was too runny.


I did have fun colouring coconut though. I had read that all you needed to do was put some dessicated coconut into a sandwich bag with some colouring (I used a little gel paste) and then shake and squeeze it. I was planning on trying to recreate the Brazilian flag, but in the end opted for the main colours.


Of course I sampled it (before taking the rest to work) but I decided I needed to adapt it a bit.

Round two was on Thursday evening (no pump= more time). After a walk up to the shops I got on with the baking, and decided that as I wasn’t going to do the cream cheese icing I would bake it in one big tin instead.

But I cooked it for too long! Even though the recipe said 1-1 1/4 hours and I only baked it for the hour, it was too long. The thing is with a cake, is that you can only really see how it is once you slice it, and I had to take it to the meeting whole. I cut a slice and it looked OK, but by then I had already cut it- I didn’t think I could stick it back together again.

So, Friday night was my final chance!


Friday nights’ cake on the left (with some spilled icing sugar) and Thursdays’ on the right!

I changed the recipe a bit. I used 50g ground almonds instead of 50g flour, I used 4 medium eggs (the recipe says large) so added the juice of 2 limes and 1 lemon to make up for the liquid, and also added in lemon zest.

I only baked it for 50 mins and that seemed much better.

Then I made a soaking syrup (from a recipe book)- caster sugar mixed with lemon and lime juice, and I added in the zest too. As soon as the cake was out of the oven I pierced it all over, and then poured over some of the syrup. You were meant to do this 3 times, but I didn’t use all of the liquid in the end.

Then, my favourite part.


I had seen lots of recipes for icing/ frosting using coconut cream, so I used that. All the recipes talked about using a can of coconut milk, putting it in the fridge and letting it separate and harden, and then only using the solid cream part. I had a little tin of coconut cream, so I put that in the fridge for a day before using it. It still contained some liquid though, so the icing ended up being just  glaze. (Also I put it on the cake while it was still a little warm- I would wait until it was properly cool next time). I whisked it for a bit, added a couple of tbs of icing sugar, and whisked again.


It tasted divine. Seriously, totally delicious, not too coconutty but really creamy without that weird richness that butter icing has (I am not a huge fan of butter icing as I find it really sickly). I will be making this again for sure. Perhaps next time with a tin of coconut milk as they are bigger.


I topped it with a mixture of the coloured coconut, and lime zest.

The cake club meeting was great again.

We chatted about our cakes, finding recipes, what we were happy with etc, as well as general chat about holidays, work and so on.

The trick is to have a very thin slither of cake, and then of course you can sample most of the cakes (there were only 6 of us, but there were 2 I didn’t manage to try).

At least you can take some home to sample the other ones later. We gave some to the staff, and then shared out the rest.


My leftovers! A gorgeous pistachio and rosewater cake, a dried fruit-studded jewel cake with an orange icing, brazil nut and coffee cake, and a special Brazilian cake that I cannot spell or pronounce (baked in a bundt tin) topped with chocolate icing and nuts.

This cake club was perfect timing, as I have the Ashridge half marathon tomorrow (thanks for those who have sponsored me too- it is for a local hospice so if you feel you can spare a pound or two then please visit my page). Although this has made me think loads about how my attitude towards food has changed- I have mentioned this to a few people, and they have all agreed it is great timing. But my thoughts are “I shall be full of fuel to get me around the run” whereas the people I spoke to thought about it in terms of “burning off” the cake eaten. I think it is a shame that so many people have that attitude. It is not as if I ate until I felt sick- this morning I helped out at parkrun, and as I usually go to parkrun before breakfast (and I didn’t feel hungry when I woke up) I just waited until cake club (10am) to eat something- and we only cut thin slices so probably I had the equivalent of a big slice, but nothing crazy. Of course cake is not something to eat every day, but I don’t like the association with feeling guilty after eating food, or needing to “burn it off”.

As for tomorrow, I am not going for a pb. Someone else at parkrun was doing it tomorrow too, and she had been advised to wear trail shoes as apparently some of it is still really muddy after the wet winter, and I know my long runs have not been at my fastest speed. So my aim for tomorrow is to enjoy the run.  I don’t even know if I get a medal! But of course, I shall be back with my usual rambling race recount- get the kettle on ready!

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10 thoughts on “Colouring coconut”

  1. That end cake sounds delicious, I never realised how easy it was to dye coconut – it looks really effective too!
    In fact, I have serious cake envy looking at all of those lovely specimens – the cherry studded one looks incredible.
    I can’t seem to access the link to sponsor you, will see if I can find it a different way!
    Best of luck for tomorrow, hope it isn’t too hot!!

  2. I do enjoy baking but I’m not sure I could have baked as much as you did over just a few days! Your finished cake looks lovely though. Well worth practicing for! I always feel frustrated when magazines have the amount of time you need to run to work off a Big Mac or Starbucks… Its like you can only treat yourself if you work it all off immediately afterwards. 🙁
    Good luck for your half marathon today. Fingers crossed the weather is a little cooler than it was yesterday.

    1. After last time I was keen to make a better cake, so the practising was worth it!
      Yes I just think we need to have a bit of a different mindset- a halthy balance and not always equating food with exercise.

    1. From what I have read you have to use full fat (which I did) but only use a few tbs sugar, whereas that recipe had loads. My mum makes a good one, I need to ask her for her recipe!

  3. Oh jeeze, I do not think about eating cake and then ‘burning it off’. I would be forever running – oh wait… 😉
    It’s funny though because I do eat a lot more cake since joining a running community as there is cake at every single event! But instead of seeing cake as something I need to burn off, I see it as a reward for running well. Cake is a very happy food for me. I couldn’t bare to think of it as something that I had to worry about. Obviously I try not to eat it every day as it’s not that healthy. But also I’ve found when I do over-indulge a lot in cake I get a bit fed up of it (like last week – so much cake!!) and it loses it’s “specialness”. So I refrain for a bit and then it gets it’s magic back 😀

    1. I also meant to add before I got distracted by my cake eating habits, this is where I go wrong. Apart from not being that good at baking, I don’t have the determination or perseverance that you have. Your first cake went a bit ski-whiff, so you tried again, and again until it was perfect. I wouldn’t have tried again. I’d have just mourned the loss of a good cake and never go back to the recipe. This is where I’m going wrong! This is why you’re so great at baking. You put so much effort into it and it looks amazing!

      1. Thanks for the mega comment.
        I have started to write notes in my recipe books now, as I can’t rely on remembering what exactly I changed. At the moment I am still getting used to our oven , so the temperatures often need reducing , or the times. So that helps.
        To be honest the first two cakes were fine (icing on the first one was not so good, and the second one was a bit over done) but because I had the time I wanted to perfect it.
        I know what you mean about the specialness too- I tend to bake for a Sunday so it is a bit of a family ritual to bake it at the weekend and then share it. I think if I baked every day I would get fed up too!

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