classic cakes

Coconut and Cherry Cake

Here comes the typical food bloggy bit where I rant on about childhood memories of cake… I’ll keep it brief. When I was little my auntie lived over the road from us and had so many baking tins and cookbooks! I loved running over there to borrow them, in particular and ancient St Michael (M&S today) cake book, and an 8″ round cake tin as my family didn’t have one. Nine times out of ten I would make the coconut and cherry cake, all weighed out in pounds and ounces. It was my absolute favorite.

Skipping ahead nearly 30 years and I have been trying to recreate the recipe to varying levels of success for some time, but I am very happy to say that I finally have it nailed. A coconut and cherry cake that is sweet, tasty and above all, not in the least bit dry! (I know how many of you hate the word moist but, it’s very much that word). Plus its a sensory dream to make with kids! We rubbed the butter into the coconut and flour first to make sure everything gets a good coating of fat before adding the eggs and sugar- I think this is the key to keeping it so soft as desiccated coconut can make a crumbly cake (which is fine, just not what we are looking for here). The egg cracking and lots of mixing before the classic bowl licking means that this cake made 2 little girls very happy this weekend (3 if you count me).

You will need an 8″ round cake tin greased and lined with baking paper.


  • 200g Butter
  • 250g Caster Sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 150g desiccated coconut
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 150g glace cherries- halved and washed
  • 100ml milk

To decorate (optional)

  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • 50g glace cherries
  • 100g soft butter
  • 200g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/gas mark 3

In a large bowl, rub the butter into the coconut and flour until its resembles clumpy breadcrumbs. (Yes this is a great messy start to cake making with kids but they were going to get their hands in there soon or later- embrace it!)

Crack in the 4 eggs (fishing out bits of shell if your kids are like mine) and mix well, then add the sugar and milk.

Stir well to form a slightly loose batter- finally add the cherries.

Transfer into the tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 30-40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes before removing. Allow to cool completely before decorating.

Place the 50g desiccated coconut on a lined baking tray and spread out evenly. Place in the centre of the oven for 5 minutes or until just turning golden. Remove and allow to cool completely.

To make the buttercream, beat the butter and icing sugar together until smooth. spread over the top of the cake then scatter withe the toasted coconut. Finally half the 50g cherries and place on top in whatever way you like.

classic cakes

Coffee Shop Carrot Cake

Trips to coffee shops with the toddlers are a logistical nightmare for me. Some parents have children who are capable of sitting. I’m not one of those. We braved it this week and I spent 2 hours trying to stop the 1 year old running into the men’s toilets or the street whilst simultaneously fielding off questions from my 3 year old about where babies come from (she does seem to think she hatched from an egg which I’m considering running with for now).

A mate asked how I manage to bake (she politely didn’t add, “with your feral kids”) and I can honestly say it’s the only time they keep still and chill out. The added bonus of this particular recipe is that with the addition of butter and sugar they also ate some actual veg so wins all round.

You will need 2×8″ sandwich tins well greased or lined with baking paper.


  • 200g Butter
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • 200g grated carrot
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 250g Self raising flour
  • 100g sultanas (optional)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

For the cream cheese icing

  • 200g full fat soft cheese
  • 450g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 170°C

In a large bowl mix the butter and sugar together then add the grated carrot.

Stir in the eggs and sultanas and once well mixed add the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Finally add a splash of milk to loosen the batter.

Divide into the two sandwich tins and bake at 170°C for 25-30 minutes or until golden and springy to touch.

Whilst cooling prepare the icing. Mix the cream cheese with the icing sugar until smooth and creamy.

Sandwich your cakes together with a good layer of cream cheese and spread a generous layer over the top. If your feeling confident you could try piping a few swirls on but it makes no difference to the taste which is amazing!

Enjoy in the comfort of your own home!