Raspberry, Coconut and Lemon Drizzle Cake

There is nothing I enjoy more than a home baked cake with a freshly brewed pot of strong tea.  It's one of life's simplest pleasures, and a ritual I enjoy partaking in as often as I can.  I love baking.  I find it's such a rewarding process.  It never ceases to amaze me how a few basic ingredients can be mixed together and baked, only to turn out to be something entirely different and delicious - it's culinary magic!

Whilst I love baking, I'm not particularly fussy or fancy, and prefer to bake something that can be whisked-up in no time at all, and enjoyed relatively quickly, such as when visitors unexpectedly call in for afternoon tea.  One thing I do ensure is that I make the best use of whatever fresh, seasonal ingredients are available to me in my local area.  In Summer I make use of an abundance of fresh berries and stone fruit, Autumn sees me use quinces, apples and pears, whilst in Winter I favour citrus and rhubarb.  Bananas are in season here in Spring, so I turn these into cakes and loaves, muffins and pies.  They're at their best when forgotten in the fruit bowl, left to turn a deep shade of brown to black.

I came up with this recipe when all I had on-hand were a few punnets of fresh raspberries in the freezer.  I love the flavour of raspberry combined with coconut.  Since my girls were little I often baked raspberry, white chocolate and coconut muffins for lunchbox treats, so I knew the flavours worked well together.  With these flavours in mind, I wanted to create a grown-up's version as a cake to enjoy for afternoon tea.  I omitted the white chocolate, and instead flavoured it with fresh lemon which also pairs well with raspberries.  The result is a moist cake, not too sweet, with the tart flavours of raspberries and lemon.  Just make sure to freeze your raspberries before baking this cake so they hold their shape.

185g unsalted butter at room temperature, chopped into small cubes, plus extra for greasing
170g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten with a fork
255g self-raising flour, sifted
1 cup frozen fresh raspberries
50g desiccated coconut
3 tablespoons milk
Zest and juice of one lemon (you will only need 1 tablespoon of juice)
70g icing sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 180C fan-forced.

Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin and set aside.

Place the butter, caster sugar, vanilla and lemon zest into the bowl of a food mixer and beat on a high speed for approximately 4 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Add the beaten egg mix in three lots, beating well after each addition to ensure the mix comes back together.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure the mixture is well combined.

Fold in the sifted flour and milk alternately into the mixture, starting and finishing with the flour.  You don't need to do this by hand, just make sure you use the lowest speed on your electric mixer.

Fold in the desiccated coconut.  Dust the frozen raspberries with a tablespoon of flour in a large bowl, shake off any excess, and gently fold into the batter by hand.  Don't add the fruit all at once, sprinkle them into the batter in small batches, being very careful not to bruise or crush the fruit as you fold them into the mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the cake tin, and evenly distribute it.  Lightly smooth the surface.  Tap the tin on the benchtop a couple of times to ensure the batter settles to the bottom of the pan.

Pop into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 160C and loosely cover the cake with foil and bake for a further 40 minutes, until cooked through when tested with a skewer.  Depending on your oven, it may take longer so don't despair, just remove the cake once the skewer comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cook in the tin for 10 minutes before removing it and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the lemon icing, mix a tablespoon of lemon juice with the icing sugar and whisk until smooth.  Drizzle over the cooled cake and serve.


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