Sunday, 10 March 2013

Lavender and Coconut Cake

So, this little cake that you see before you, is a rather unusual and curiously delicious, lavender and coconut cake. This is a six inch three layer cake, the top and bottom layers flavoured with coconut and the middle layer flavoured with lavender.

The frosting is a light buttercream, also flavoured with coconut and simply piped onto the cake.
I didn't want to have to make and bake two separate cake batters, so I baked one, fastidiously divided it into thirds and then added the flavourings.

I love a piped buttercream cake.

When baked and cooled I stacked the cakes with coconut buttercream (recipes for cakes and buttercream follow below)






































Then, I coated the sides of the cake in buttercream impressed coconut onto them. I added the coconut to the sides by spreading desiccated coconut onto baking or greaseproof paper, turning the cake on its side and then pressing this into the buttercream.

The cake below may look a little uneven, this is just where the buttercream has squished up and was soon evened up again.


After the sides I started on the top of the cake by piping a basketweave decoration. Basket weave piping is much loved by cake decorators as it has a "how do they do that" feel about it, yet is surprisingly easy to pipe, once you have got your head around it.

This video from Wilton helped me figure it out or check out this picture tutorial also from Wilton



Below you can see the top of my cake "under construction" as you can see, basket weave is a great technique for anyone who is not great at getting smooth buttercream ... or bothered about doing a crumb coat first! You will also see that my piping is somewhat close that recommended, fortunately this is a very forgiving technique, you get away with pretty much anything.


After coating my cake and piping my basketweave on top, I coloured the rest of my buttercream a lavender colour, using, rather ironically, the Lilac gel colour from Sugarflair and piped swirly C's around the top and bottom of the cake using a WIlton 32 nozzle / tip.


One of my aims for this year is to learn the art of sugar flowers and I would very much like to show you the first sugar rose I have made, alas, I can't just yet, as this beautiful one below was purchased from my local sugar craft shop to sit in the centre of this cake

Thats it. One cake decorated and it didn't take as long as you might expect. 

I normally finish, by telling you what I would do differently next time, make my own rose for the centre maybe? Other than that, I have to say, perhaps rather immodestly, that I like this cake, just the way it is.

Just in case you are interested, the cake is displayed on a vintage cake stand purchased from a local Antiques Barn.

That's all for today -(Keep scrolling down for recipes)
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Cake Recipe

For a three layer six inch cake, you need a four egg mix. Weigh the eggs in their shells (you will probably find they with about 200 gams or so) and then weigh out the same weight of the other ingredients

Ingredients

Four eggs
butter or baking margarine
caster / superfine sugar
self raising flour

You will also need
35g desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers
Optional lavender and coconut flavouring. I used one by Beau flavours

Three six inch cake tins / pans

Method

Prehat the over to 350F, 170C, 160 Fan
Prepared you tins with baking spray or paper, or however you like them

If you want to be fastidious and have perfectly sized layers, before you start, weigh the mixing bowl.

Make the cake using the creaming method

Cream together the butter or margarine, until light fluffy and well combined
Add the eggs, a little at a time. Add a tablespoon of the flour with each egg if your mixture starts to separate and beat well
Finally, add the flour and stir gently until just combined.
Weigh the bowl with the mixture in it.
Subtract the weight of the empty bowl and divide this by three, then pour off this amount into another mixing bowl.- or, just pour off roughly a third

To the third of the batter mixture add 1 teaspoon lavender flavour (if using) and  teaspoon dried lavender flowers. Pour into one prepared tin

To the two thirds of the batter mixture add 1 teaspoon of coconut flavour (if using) and about 35g of desiccated coconut. Divide between two prepared tins.

Bake for about 20 minutes at 350F, 180C or 170 Fan for about 20 minutes. When cooked cake will spring back when pressed lightly

Coconut Buttercream

I wanted to keep the colour of this buttercream light and make it fluffy in texture, so I made it with part vegetable fat (Trex / Crisco) and part butter. If you prefer you can make it with 350g butter

Ingredients

250g Butter - really soft
100g Vegetabl Fat (Trex / Crisco)
500g Icing / Confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon coconut flavouring

In a mixer beat together the softened butter and vegetable fat until well combined and light in colour. Add the teaspoon of coconut flavouring and mix in
Add the icing / confectioners sugar one third at a time beating well after each addition.