This recipe is the first in a two part collaboration with Bloom and Wild, the letterbox flower delivery service. They’ve recently launched a collection of bouquets inspired by three well recognised destinations we all associate with summer; the tropics, the meadow and the desert. This week I’m going all club tropicana with the Ines, a bouquet inspired by the flora and fauna of, you guessed it, the tropics. The cake I’ve created to reflect this theme boasts four coconut sponge layers, a filling of caramelised pineapple and rum caramel, and a lime cream cheese frosting. It really delivers on flavour and if you’re throwing a birthday party any time soon would be a great centre piece… Also, the UK feels like the tropics at the moment anyway so you might as well go the whole hog and theme your baking accordingly (nearly went a whole post without mentioning the weather there… NEARLY).
For the coconut sponges
- 350g unsalted butter, softened
- 350g caster sugar
- pinch salt
- zest and juice 2 limes
- 5 eggs
- 350g self raising flour
- 50g desiccated coconut
- 100g coconut yoghurt
For the caramelised pineapple filling
- 1 small, ripe pineapple
- 50g soft dark brown sugar
- 50g unsalted butter, cubed
For the rum caramel (this will leave you with a little left over- keep in the fridge for a few days and use on ice cream!)
- 200g caster sugar
- 85g butter, cubed
- 125ml double cream
- spiced rum, to taste (I used 2 shots)
- generous pinch sea salt
For the cream cheese icing
- 125g unsalted butter
- 400g icing sugar
- 200g cream cheese (full fat)
- zest 2 limes
For decoration (optional)
- the Ines bouquet by Bloom and Wild
- toasted coconut shavings
- lime zest
- rum caramel drips
- Grease and line two 8 inch cake tins. Preheat the oven to 160c.
- Start off by making the sponges. Place the butter, caster sugar and lime zest/juice in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) and beat together until very light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition (add a spoonful of the flour every now and then if you’re worried about curdling).
- Once the eggs are well incorporated, add the flour, salt and desiccated coconut and fold carefully with a large metal spoon. Finally, fold through the coconut yoghurt.
- Scrape the batter into the two cake tins and level off the tops. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the sponges are golden and a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Once baked, set aside to cool in the tins.
- Increase the oven temperature to 180c. Slice the pineapple into chunks, discarding the skin. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and spread the pineapple pieces all over it. Dot over the butter and sprinkle on the dark brown soft sugar, then place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until golden and caramelised (check it after 10 minutes, the pieces may need turning). Once caramelised, roughly crush the pineapple then set aside and leave to cool completely.
- While the cakes and pineapple are cooling, make the rum caramel. To do this simply tip the sugar into a heavy bottomed pan and gently heat until it melts (do not stir, just swirl the pan occasionally). Once the sugar has melted, allow it to reach a deep golden colour then add in the butter and stir (it will spit a little so be careful). Now add the cream and stir again. Cook out for a further 2 minutes on the heat, then remove from the hob, add the rum and stir once more. Set aside to cool.
- Finally, make the cream cheese icing. Place the butter in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) and beat until light and smooth. Add half the icing sugar and beat again (cover the bowl with a clean damp tea towel to avoid an icing sugar explosion) until well combined, then add the rest along with the lime zest. Once these ingredients are well combined, add the cream cheese and beat until smooth.
- Once all the elements are cool, it’s time to assemble the cake. To do this slice both sponges in half horizontally (so you have four even layers) and place the first down on your serving plate of choice. Mix half the rum caramel in with the pineapple (reserve the rest for drips). Pipe a ring of cream cheese around the edge of this layer and fill the middle with your pineapple mixture. Repeat until you’ve used up all your sponges then spread a light layer of cream cheese icing all over the cake. Chill for 10 minutes (to catch all the crumbs) then spread the rest of the icing on neatly. Finish with the flowers, or alternatively use toasted coconut and lime zest.