Naked Citrus and Coconut Cake

, from Issue #75. November, 2017
Photography by Josh Griggs.
Naked Citrus and Coconut Cake

Gorgeous layers of syrup-soaked cake get sandwiched with a silky, citrus-spiked cream cheese filling. Fresh raspberries or strawberries are also a lovely accompaniment.


150 grams butter, very soft but not melted
1¼ cups caster sugar
finely grated zest 2 lemons and 1 orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, size 7
1¼ cups plain flour
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
2 cups desiccated coconut
½ cup plain yoghurt
Lemon syrup
½ cup lemon juice
½ cup caster sugar
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons limoncello or Cointreau
To assemble
1 quantity Citrus Cream Cheese Icing, see recipe below
edible flowers, toasted shaved coconut and freeze-dried mandarins, to garnish

Citrus Cream Cheese Icing
175 grams butter, at room temperature
250 grams cream cheese, at room temperature
1½ cups icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
finely grated zest of 1 orange and lemon


Grease 2 x 20cm cake tins and line both the base and sides with baking paper.

Preheat the oven to 160C fan bake.

Cakes: Beat the butter, sugar, both zests and the vanilla until light and pale. This can take 8–10 minutes. Whisk the eggs together in a jug and gradually beat in until well combined. Occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl. Combine the flour, baking powder and the coconut and gently mix into the butter mixture along with the yoghurt. Don’t over-mix or the cake will be tough.

Divide between the tins, smooth the tops and bake for about 35 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.

Cool for 15 minutes then remove from the tins and place on a cooling rack.

Lemon syrup: Boil the lemon juice, sugar and water in a small saucepan for 8 minutes. Add the liqueur. Cool.

To assemble: Cut each cake in half, lengthways. Place one layer, cut-side up on a cake stand. Brush with syrup, then spread with
a layer of icing. Repeat with the remaining layers, ensuring the top layer is placed cut side down so you have a smooth surface.

Using a palate knife, spread the outside of the cake evenly with a little icing so you can still see the layers of cake. Garnish just before serving. Makes 1 cake

Citrus Cream Cheese Icing
Beat the butter in a stand mixer until light. Add the cream cheese and beat again until pale and fluffy and there are no lumps.

Add the icing sugar, vanilla and the zests and beat until smooth and light. Store in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.