This airy, soft sponge cake loaded with juicy baked strawberries and fresh coconut will blow your mind. With a little twist on the traditional cake it is airy but still dense, wonderfully coconutty and, as a bonus, completely dairy free. The secret; instead of normal milk and butter, coconut milk and oil is used plus a little extra coconut cream that just brings the flavours in the cake to perfection.
I just started to use fresh shredded coconut instead of the dried packaged stuff quite recently when I discovered how easy it is to open a coconut (because who doesn`t have a hammer and a screwdriver at home?). Here in Amsterdam, you can buy a coconut for about a euro, and then with a little bashing and scraping you get a lot of nutritious meat (and even a little coconut water) out of it. You could even think about it as stress release! And compared to the coconut flour and the dried shredded coconut the fresh shredded coconut is much less dry. The addition of it to any baked goods will even make the dough more moist and a little griny (like when you add grated almonds) plus, of course, gives it a healthy boost by adding a lot of good nutrients and fibres. The meat can also be sliced and then used as a topping on your yoghurt or breakfast bowl, but I also love to eat it plain as a quick afternoon snack.
In this recipe I was using a flour substitute combined with two parts gluten free flour mix. As the gluten free flour can lead to a drier dough, the fat content of the shredded fresh coconut meat balanced it just perfectly.
Finally, as this recipe was meant to be completely dairy free I am almost afraid to add that I topped each slice with a good dollop of fresh whipped cream… If you like to keep it dairy free you don`t have to give up on the dollops of creaminess, try serving it with whipped coconut cream! (Every time I baked it I ran out of coconut milk by the time the cake was served.) Making it is easier than you would think; let one can of coconut milk settle in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight to be safe) and then carefully spoon the creamy top layer out in a bowl and whip it with an electric mixer (adding a little agave syrup as a sweetener) it will give you just the perfect dairy free cream. Just keep it in the fridge until serving.
- 100 grams coconut meat
- 200 grams flour + some extra for dusting (I used gluten free flour mix)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- a pinch of salt
- 50 grams coconut cream
- 30 grams coconut butter + some extra for greasing (creamy, on room temperature)
- 200 grams coconut blossom sugar (or agave syrup)
- 1 egg
- 300 grams fresh strawberries (hulled and halved)
- 120 millilitre coconut milk
If you still need to crack your coconut open, go get a screwdriver and a hammer. Poke 3 holes at the ´eyes´ of the coconut (the dark brown spots) with the screwdriver and drain the coconut water in a cup. Pop it into a pre heated oven (about 200 degrees) and bake it for about 10 minutes. Crack it open with a hammer and remove the flesh and measure 100 grams of it.
Pop the coconut into a blender and blitz it for about a minute, until all big chunks are broken down and you have a fine shredded consistency (be careful not to blitz it for too long, because then it will start getting sticky and creamy which you don’t want). Mix the shredded coconut with the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk coconut butter and cream with the sugar until it combines and then mix in the egg. Keep mixing while you add the milk and the flour in smaller parts.
Grease and dust your pie form (30 centimetre) with coconut oil and flour and pour the dough in. Arrange the strawberries on top and bake it in the pre heated oven (180 degrees) for 40-50 minutes until the dough at the middle is baked (a toothpick would come out clean).
Decorate it with thinly sliced coconut meat and fresh strawberries and serve with a dollop of whipped coconut cream (see tips above).