It's hard to believe that I've now had not one but two birthdays in lockdown. If you had told me this two years ago, I wouldn't have thought it and probably been quite unhappy about the fact. Alas, two lockdown birthdays later, and I can say they ain't too bad. My guide to an excellent lockdown birthday now includes a dedicated cuisine, new cocktail recipe, trip to the farmers market, bougie ingredients and a Beatrix bake's cake.
This year, the cuisine was Mexican. The cocktail was jalapeno and strawberry margarita. The cake was a coconut and berry layered 'shag'.
Instead of ordering the cake online and collecting, which I'm lucky enough to say, Beatrix bakes is just within my 5km radius. To occupy lockdown weekend number 572, I became cake making extraordinaire. Also, it was a great subject to continue building my photography/videography portfolio.
As I'm yet to buy the Beatrix bakes cookbook, I could only cook a recipe available online, which my indecisive self wasn't mad about. This original recipe can be found over at my fav gourmet traveller. But for your convenience, I've also included the recipe below; thanks for making my bday extra tasty, Natalie Paull.
First of all, can we talk about buttercream? When did this become a thing? My earliest recollection of this delicious melt in your mouth spread was on a trip to the famous NYC cupcakery circa 2014. Before that, a luxurious icing recipe consisted of; icing sugar, butter and a splash of lemon juice, you know, to balance the sweetness. Taken from the ever-faithful Women's Weekly birthday cake book recipe
This cake is next level. At first, I must admit, I was confused about the technical side of things. I don't know about you, but my butter and coconut milk did not want to be friends and amalgamate into one homogenous state. But in Natalie Paull, we trust, and in true Beatrix Bakes style, the cake not only tasted amazing, it really made me feel like a star baker.
It's best eaten on the day you make it or the following day. And if you have any left after five days, to be honest, it will still taste better than any other cake.
How to assemble the cake
Beatrix Coconut & berry layer 'shag' cake
- 19 x 6.5cm springform cake tin
- electric beater
- Mixing bowl
- measuring cups
- measuring scales
- 180 g eggwhite (about 5)
- 320 ml coconut milk
- 1 1/2 tsp coconut essence
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 225 g unsalted butter, softened and diced
- 350 g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
- 400 g caster sugar
- 20 g baking powder
- 50 g fine desiccated coconut
- 100 g sweetened coconut flakes
- 150 g strawberries, hulled and chopped
- 100 g raspberries or blueberries
- 25 g caster sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 200 g caster sugar
- 120 g eggwhites (about 3)
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 400 g unsalted butter, softened and diced
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 2 tsp coconut essence
- Preheat oven to 180C. Butter two 23cm-diameter cake tins, then dust with flour and line bases with baking paper. Whisk eggwhite, 120ml coconut milk, coconut essence and vanilla in a bowl and set aside. Beat butter and remaining coconut milk in an electric mixer until combined, then add flour, sugar, baking powder, desiccated coconut and a pinch of salt and mix on low until combined. Beat on high for another minute, scraping down sides of bowl, and add eggwhite mixture in 3 batches. Divide between tins and bake until golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean (35-40 minutes). Cool in tins for 15 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks and cool completely.
- For berry compote, simmer berries and 60ml water in a small saucepan over low heat, covered, until berries are tender (13-15 minutes). Stir in sugar and lemon juice and simmer uncovered until a light syrup forms (5-7 minutes), Cool to room temperature.
- For buttercream, stir sugar and 60ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil and cook without stirring until sugar syrup reaches 115C on a sugar thermometer (6-7 minutes). Meanwhile, whisk eggwhite with cream of tartar in an electric mixer until stiff peaks form (6-8 minutes). Turn the mixer off, add a third of the sugar syrup, then whisk on high speed for 10 seconds. Reduce to medium speed and, while whisking, slowly pour in remaining syrup, whisking until the meringue reaches 35C. Add butter a little at a time, whisking to incorporate each addition before adding more. Whisk in vanilla, coconut essence and a quarter of the berry compote. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for 2 days. Stand at room temperature to soften until spreadable.
- To assemble, trim the top of each cake to make level, then halve each horizontally. Place one of the bases outside-down on a cake stand, dot with berry compote and spread 2 tbsp of buttercream on top to just over the sides. Repeat layering, using the 2 top layers next, and finish with other base layer, outside up. Spread remaining buttercream over sides and top and press the coconut flakes all over cake. This cake is best eaten on the day of making, but will keep sealed for up to 2 days.