I once took an international cooking class, and one day a woman from South Africa came in and made the class a yellow cake that she had soaked in a syrup made from milk and sugar; I can’t for the life of me remember what that cake was called, but the taste definitely lingered in my mind and on my tongue.
That is where most of the inspiration for these cakes came from. It had some very simple flavors, but it really just reminded me of something my grandma would make (who by the way, is most definitely not from South Africa); it’s simple but undeniably good. I proceeded to use some flavors that I know she would appreciate, and coconut and brown sugar were the answers!
The coconut adds a nice chew to the cakes and the brown sugar gives them a deeper flavour than regular sugar could provide. I also love that these cakes remind me of little snowballs! They’re a tad sweeter than I would normally make a cake by itself, but they make the perfect compliment to a bitter cup of tea or coffee.
Coconut and Brown Sugar Tea Cakes
makes 50 1-inch cakes
110 g cake flour
1 g salt
55 g dessicated coconut, unsweetened, plus more to coat cakes
90 g unsalted butter
125 g brown sugar
2 large eggs
For soaking syrup:
170 g coconut milk
70 g brown sugar
Preheat oven to 380F, and lightly oil mini (1″ round) silicon molds. In a bowl, whisk together cake flour and salt until there are no more lumps, then whisk in dessicated coconut until combined. Set aside.
In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine unsalted butter and 125g brown sugar, and cream together well on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, or until mixture is very fluffy and pale. With mixer running, add eggs one at a time, until eggs are absorbed in the butter; make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Mix until everything is combined.
Reduce speed to low, and slowly add in flour mixture. Mix just until combined. Pipe batter into oiled molds 3/4th of the way up, and bake about 8 minutes, or until cakes are firm and golden brown around edges.
While cakes are baking, make soaking syrup: combine coconut milk and 70g brown sugar in a small saucepan, and heat just until sugar is completely dissolved. Stir well with a rubber spatula to prevent scorching. While both cakes and syrup are still warm, brush syrup over each cake, making sure that cakes are soaking up all the syrup; think tres leches cake. Let cakes cool a bit, then toss in dessicated coconut to coat. Keep refrigerated, and enjoy!