Coconut Cake

Serves 8 - 12

for the sponge
175g gluten-free plain flour
175g gluten-free oat flour
2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
pinch salt
225g caster sugar
15ml (1 tablespoon) white wine vinegar
250 – 300ml plant-based milk
100g dairy-free margarine, melted
vanilla extract
50g creamed coconut
50g desiccated coconut

for the Topping and Filling
150g dairy-free margarine
600g icing sugar
a few drops of vanilla extract

raspberry jam
flaked coconut for decorating

Line 2 x 8 inch (20cm) round cake tins with baking parchment.
Preheat oven to 180°c /160°c fan oven / gas mark 4.

Place the creamed coconut into a small heatproof bowl. Carefully place this bowl into a larger bowl half-filled with boiling water. Leave to one side to let the coconut melt.

Weigh the gluten-free plain flour, gluten-free oat flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, into a large mixing bowl. Stir then sieve together at least twice to fully distribute the baking powder. Alternatively blend together in a food processor.

Add the caster sugar, desiccated coconut and salt and stir together.

Melt the dairy-free margarine. Add the plant-based milk and vinegar. Stir into the dry ingredients with the vanilla. Stir in the melted creamed coconut. It should be the consistency of a smooth thick batter. Add more plant-based milk if necessary.

Divide the mixture between the cake tins and cook in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown and a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

For the buttercream
In a large mixing bowl, mix the icing sugar into the dairy free margarine a little at a time until all of the icing sugar is incorporated ( an electric mixer can be used but don’t beat the mixture too much).

Add a few drops of flavouring and colouring if desired.
If the mixture is too thick, add a drop of cooled boiled water until the correct consistency. Use as desired.

Lightly toast the flaked coconut and leave to cool.

Mix the icing sugar into the dairy-free margarine, a little at a time. Do not overbeat the mixture or it may split. Stir in a few drops of cooled boiled water until it reaches the required consistency. Add the vanilla to taste.
This is a lot of icing sugar. If you use less icing sugar to margarine, the mixture may split. Add a little extra flavouring to this buttercream. *see note.

Place one sponge onto a plate. Spread raspberry jam over the base of the cake and 1/3 of the buttercream.
Place the other sponge on top.

Cover the top and sides of the cake with the rest of the buttercream. Place the toasted flaked coconut onto a large plate. With one hand, hold the cake above the coconut and press handfuls of coconut onto the sides and top with the other hand.

If your cake turns out a little stodgy – try adding a little more plant-based milk next time.

In all recipes requiring self-raising gluten-free flour, I advise stirring the flours together with the gluten-free baking powder then sift at least twice to fully distribute the baking powder. Alternatively blend together in a food processor.

Gluten free cakes are crumblier than other cakes but taste just as good. To cut neat slices, dip a serrated knife in hot water and wipe clean between slices.

You can make your own gluten-free oat flour by blending gluten-free oats in a food processor until fine. This may not turn out as fine as shop bought but is not as expensive.

For dairy-free buttercream: Most dairy-free margarine is quite soft. You will need to add four times as much icing sugar to the dairy-free margarine or it will split. I like to use Naturli block margarine as it is a firmer margarine. You only need twice as much icing sugar to this block margarine. It is a lot tastier and doesn’t contain palm oil.