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Coconut Cream Tea Cake

September 23, 2021

My daughter Mia and I love coconut. We love toasted coconut sprinkled on bananas and peanut butter. We love coconut in our granola. And we love to mix nuts and raisins with coconut (and a few chocolate chips), as a snack. So a cake with coconut is a sure winner!

Sometimes I like a simple slice of unfussy coconut cake to eat with my afternoon coffee. That’s what this is. Simplicity at its best. The combination of browned butter and hot coconut milk not only makes the crumb of this cake impeccable, it coaxes out the flavor of the coconut with every bite.

The incredible nutty flavor that browned butter brings to baked goods cannot be duplicated with melted butter alone. And this recipe calls for browned butter. If you’ve never browned butter before, (different from burnt butter - we’ve all done that on occasion!) this cake is a good cake to start with. It only uses 4 tablespoons of butter, so if you burn it by accident, there is not much waste. It’s a good amount to practice on.


Coconut Cream Tea Cake

For the Cake

1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk (shake the can well before opening and measuring)

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

4 large eggs, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons dark rum (optional, but recommended)

1 heaping cup of sweetened coconut


To Make the Cake

Place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Prepare a 10-12 cup bundt pan with baking spray and flour. Make sure all surfaces are covered with flour so you know you sprayed the whole pan.

In a 2 quart saucepan, melt the butter on medium low. To brown the butter, raise the temperature a bit (medium is too high) and continue to cook the butter stirring often with a wooden spoon. Brown the butter until the little bits of brown begin the show in the pan. The butter will turn a golden color, and get a frothy layer on top. As you continue to stir the butter, more and more brown bits will appear. (See photo) When you feel its a good balance between brown bits and frothy butter, add the coconut milk and continue to stir. When the coconut milk is warmed through, take the pot off the heat and cover, keeping the mixture warm.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour and the baking powder.

In the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar for 3 minutes at medium-high speed, about 3 minutes. The mixture will double in size and become pale and thick. Add the vanilla and the rum if using. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour in 3 additions. Continue to mix until all the flour has been incorporated. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

With the mixer on low, add the coconut, mixing until blended. Next slowly add the butter mixture and mix until smooth. Scrape down the bowl again, making sure all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour batter into the prepared bundt pan, using the rubber spatula to make sure the batter is even. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 20 minutes. Next, invert the cake on a metal rack. Cool to room temperature. When completely cool, dust with confectioners sugar.


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