This is a fun project for when the weather is too wet or too hot for your kids to play outside and you want to find them something constructive and educational to do.
Magic Coconut Cake is a classic Welsh dessert that is made like a cake but, during baking, the cake batter separates into layers to form a coconut cream flan with a thin pastry crust at the bottom, a custard filling and shredded coconut on the top. It seems like magic and it works every time.
The dessert is simple enough for even small children to help to prepare most of it (except for beating the stiff batter with an electric mixer) and is ready to eat in just over half an hour. It is also very economical, as many Welsh recipes are, costing only around $0.20* per slice.
* The costing is based on ingredients bought at Aldi or similar discount stores and the use of margarine rather than butter.
The Magic Coconut Cake Recipe
For a 9” cake, serving 8
½ cup (2 ¼ oz / 60g) of flour
¼ tsp of salt
½ tsp of baking powder
3 tbsp (1 ½ oz /45g) margarine or butter
2/3 cup (5 1/3 oz / 150g) of sugar
1 ¼ cups (4 oz /110g) of desiccated coconut
1 ½ cups (12 oz / 340ml) of milk
1 tsp of vanilla or ½ tsp of almond extract
Set the oven to heat to 350°F (180°C).
Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl using a wooden spoon.
Cut the margarine or butter into small cubes and add these to the flour.
Make sure your hands are clean and dry before rolling the cubes in the flour and rubbing them between your fingertips until all the flour has been incorporated and the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the sugar and the desiccated coconut and mix in thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, the milk and the vanilla or almond extract using a wire whisk. Tilt the bowl a little (but no more than halfway) so that you have a decent depth of fluid to whisk.
Now add the fluid to the dry ingredients.
Beat the mixture thoroughly until the batter becomes smooth (the mixture is quite heavy so it would be best to beat this yourself with an electric mixer for speed).
Pour the batter into a 9” (22.5cm) baking pan or dish that has been well greased with margarine (use the paper from the margarine you have used in the cake batter). A spring-form cake pan is ideal because then you can cut and serve your creation easily.
Now for the “Harry Potter” part of the recipe, if you are under 10 (if you are older than 10, you’ll just have to rely on boring things like ‘specific gravity’ to make the cake change!):
Tap the cake pan with your wooden spoon and say “Alakazoom, alakazan, turn this cake into a flan!”
When the oven has heated, place the pan in the oven and bake it at 350°F (180°C) for about 30-35 minutes, or until the top of the dessert is set and golden.
When the ‘cake’ is removed from the oven, let it cool for a few moments before releasing the sides of the spring-form pan. Run a knife gently around the sides of the ‘cake’ to release it, if necessary.
Now you will see that your ‘cake’ has a thin pastry crust at the bottom, creamy custard in the middle and coconut on the top, just like a coconut cream tart or flan!
Serve warm or cold, with cool whip, dream topping or ice cream.