Coconut Cake with Sticky Coconut Butterscotch Topping

, from Issue #49. August, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Coconut Cake with Sticky Coconut Butterscotch Topping

I’ll admit this is a large cake and best shared with friends – but you won’t have any trouble finding willing participants when they see the gorgeous, fudgy sticky coconut caramel topping!


250 grams butter at room temperature
2 cups caster sugar
6 eggs
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup buttermilk
finely grated zest 2 lemons

100 grams butter
1½ cups shredded coconut
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons plain flour
3 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
pinch of sea salt


Grease a 26 cm springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.

Preheat the oven to 150˚C.

Cake: Beat the butter and sugar until light and pale. Whisk the eggs together and gradually beat in until well combined. Combine the flour, baking powder, cardamom and the coconut and gently mix into the butter mixture along with the buttermilk and lemon zest.

Pour into the tin and bake for 1 hour, covering the top loosely with foil after 40 minutes to prevent the top from over-browning.

Topping: Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil. Take off the heat and set aside while the cake cooks.

Increase the oven temperature to 180˚C.

Remove the cake from the oven after 1 hour. Carefully spoon the warm topping over the cake to an even layer. I find using two forks is best for this. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes until the topping is golden. Let the cake cool completely before removing from the tin.

To serve: Place on a serving plate and dust with icing sugar. Makes 1 cake

Cook’s tip: Buttermilk is available at some supermarkets and food stores. Or to make your own quick version stir 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into 1 cup of milk and leave for 10 minutes for the milk to curdle.