Saturday, 14 May 2011

Cactus Coconut Cake and Cybercandy

Sometimes you just need something different, sometimes you need a treat and, luckily one of these times has been eating a Cactus Coconut Cake.  A lovely polenta and coconut cake, topped with Malibu and sweetened mascarpone, toasted coconut and decorated with Cactus Candy. Not a prickle in sight but a fun name for this imported sweetie from Cybercandy, more from them at the sharp end of this blog !

The inspiration for the polenta cake comes from Martyna  at the Wholesome Cook blog; lemon polenta cake. I have baked this a few times now with a variety of toppings when there is no cactus available! The picture on the left shows a Piña Colada  Cake and a Raspberry Polenta Cake. I had a challenge to make a cake for a friend who had a nut, dairy and gluten allergy but they could eat coconuts. The raspberry and coconut worked really well together and next time, I will include whole fresh raspberries in the batter too.  I also adapted the recipe using butter or a non dairy baking fat , no baking powder and slightly more coconut than polenta . I love the taste of butter in plain polenta cake but in the decorated cakes, you couldn't really taste the difference with the non dairy fat. The coconut did make a change from having almonds with the polenta and, the texture of the coconut complemented the polenta , providing a light chewiness rather than any grittiness you sometimes get. Remember to buy quick cook polenta and cook in a slow oven for an improved texture.

Cake :
10oz (300g) Butter or Non dairy fat
8oz (225g) Golden caster sugar
4 tbsp honey
4 Large eggs
10oz (300g) Quick Cook Polenta
5oz (150g) desiccated coconut
Juice of one large lemon
4 tbsp milk

4 tbsp Malibu or coconut syrup poured onto the cooling cake

Cream Topping:
4oz (110g) Icing sugar
4 tbsp Mascarpone Cream (250g pot)
1 tbsp Malibu or a few drops of coconut essence

3oz (90g) Toasted Coconut crushed or left in strands ( subs unsweetened dried coconut if pref)
Cactus Candy cut into cubes (subs pineapple chunks and maraschino cherries to decorate for a Piña Colada  cake.)

Preheat oven 140c/120c Fan/275F/Gas Mark 1.
Grease 2 sandwich cake tins; add greaseproof paper at the bottom . Quantities are for two 7 inch /18cm cake tins. (NB This will fill the tins but they will not rise too much, if you use different size tins please adjust your oven temperature accordingly)

Cream the sugar and fat together. Beat in the honey. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Fold in the polenta and coconut and finally stir in the  juice and milk. Put equal quantities into cake tins and place in oven.
Check after 20 minutes. Turn oven down by twenty degrees and cover tops with loose grease proof paper to stop over browning. Cook for another 20 mins or  until a skewer comes cleanly out. Allow to cool slightly. You may prefer to turn the cake over and decorate using the less brown, flatter underside or trim the top slightly. Prick surface of cake gently and pour over syrup or Malibu.

Mix mascarpone and icing sugar together and add coconut essence or Malibu. Spread onto the tops of both cakes and decorate with coconut and candy. Put into fridge until cream firms slightly.

Cybercandy did provide inspiration for a new cake topping but for anyone homesick for a 'Baby Ruth' Bar or a real 'Giant Pocky' , Cybercandy is the site for you; sweets and candy from around the world with emphasis on the US and a fair crack at Japan too.  A Quarter Of  provided the sweetened toasted coconut for the  topping which in the UK is also known as Sweet Tobacco.
Sweet tobacco, sweet toasted coconut
(I didn't manage to put that in the title too: a Sweet Tobacco  Cactus Coconut Cake may be just too far! )

I was initially hunting for real American Soda, for the famous Harry Potter Butter Beer Recipe (yes, US Cream Soda does taste different), and was immediately tempted by the wide array of treats on offer at Cybercandy.  Bubbly Strawberry Chocolate Fish and the Lemonade and Cola Kitkat come highly recommended. The Giant Pocky remained in one piece but we liked the strawberry flavoured packs too.

So many fun things to choose from and the sweet Ferraris from Sweden were a harder chew but it's the only way I'll afford twenty Ferraris in one go! With Father's Day coming up or anyone stuck for a different present, this site  could solve your gift problems. We used Cybercandy for birthday favours as well and got some nice girlie items but for those with teenagers the Amber Insect Inside Ribbon Candy has to be a possibility!

Curiosity got the better of me and I had to try the Cactus Candy and it turned out to be a real talking point for the topping on this Coconut Cake.  More like a sweet, amber, quince jelly and why did I think it would be green? 
Meanwhile, apart from cactus and exams last month, in the UK we had some unseasonably hot weather, rare enough in summer but good enough for some ice cream themed cakes. Come back over the next few weeks for your Banana Splits, Knickerbocker Glories and Chocolate Sundae Cakes. 

Arizona's Cactus Candy - Inspiration