Coconut and Pineapple Layer Cake

Coconut and Pineapple Layer Cake

Coconut and Pineapple Layer Cake

Coconut and Pineapple Layer Cake

I’ve gone from hardly baking any cakes recently to two birthday cakes in one week! The first being a Chocolate and Caramel Cake (post to follow) and the second was this Coconut and Pineapple Cake. It is almost a year to the day that I last baked a Coconut Cake. I know this because the cake was made for my cousin’s birthday and this cake was made for her next birthday! What else do you bake a coconut addict than a Coconut Cake?

Since last year’s cake was a bit complicated, and this year I didn’t have as much time so I tried a simplified version with the additional flavour of pineapple to give it a twist! After lots of searching for Pineapple and Coconut cakes, I ended up using a mish-mash of recipes to tailor the cake to the ingredients I actually had to hand (I couldn’t be bothered to head to the shops!) 🙂

I am going to be the first to admit that this cake didn’t turn out too pretty, however for what it lack in the eye candy department it more than makes up for in flavour! I have a knack of trying to fit too many things in at the same time, so I was finishing the decorating of this cake whilst last minute packing for a trip to Myanmar (Burma) the next day. I’d like to think that if I had more time I would have spent more time on the presentation, for example getting some dried pineapple slices and making them into pretty flowers to top the cake. However my attempts to get some at the local supermarket were fruitless (excuse the pun!) and I couldn’t think of anything else to do, so a bit of quick chocolate writing was what I settled for… any suggestions for future cake decorating in the comments box below please! 😀

Although this cake has a few steps, it is actually quite simple to make as the pineapple filling and the coconut custard for the frosting can be easily made whilst the sponge is baking in the oven! The ingredients are mostly store cupboard basics so should be fairly easy to get together. Feel free to use fresh pineapple if you can get it (and have the time to cut it up and prep it!)


  • 175 g Self Raising Flour
  • 1.5 tsp Baking powder
  • 130 g Caster sugar
  • 3 Medium eggs
  • 130 g Butter, melted
  • 2 tbs Coconut cream
  • 60 g Desiccated coconut
Pineapple Filling

Pineapple Filling

Pineapple filling:

  • 540 g Can of pineapple (340 g drained weight)
  • 2 tbs Cornflour
Coconut Custard

Coconut Custard

Coconut Cream Frosting:

  • 370 ml Coconut milk
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 20 g Caster sugar
  • 2 tbs Cornflour
  • 300 ml Double cream

To Decorate:

  •  20 g Desiccated coconut, toasted
Coconut Cream and Pineapple Cake

Coconut Cream and Pineapple Cake


For the Cake:

  • Using an electric whisk, beat the eggs and sugar until you see ribbons trails when stirred, lightly beat in the coconut cream
  • Slowly stir in the melted butter, try to avoid knocking too much air out of the mixture
  • Sift in the flour and baking powder along with the desiccated coconut, lightly combine so it is just mixed together
  • Bake the batter in a lined round 23 cm spring form cake tin for 25 minutes, 180 degrees C (fan oven)
  • Remove cake from the tin and allow to cool completely

For the Pineapple filling:

  • Pour the pineapple juice/syrup from the can into a jug and combine with the cornflour until smooth
  • Chop up the pineapple into small chunks and put into a saucepan
  • Warm up the pineapples in the pan and add the cornflour and juice mixture, keep on a low heat and the mixture will slowly thicken to look similar to apple sauce
  • Leave to one side to cool completely

For the Coconut cream frosting:

  • Make a coconut custard by combining the egg yolks with the cornflour into a smooth paste, warm in a saucepan and slowly add the coconut milk into the thicken egg mixture so you have a smooth custard
  • Keeping the pan on a low heat, add the sugar and continuously whisk until the mixture forms a very thick custard, don’t allow the custard to stick to the bottom of the pan
  • Set the custard to one side until completely cold. This can be made ahead and refrigerated, but ensure you cover the custard with cling film to prevent it from forming a skin
  • Whip up the double cream until peaks form, add the coconut custard and lightly whisk to combine

To assemble and decorate:

  • Cut the cake through the middle to create two layers, using the top as the bottom layer
  • Cover the bottom layer with a layer of the coconut cream frosting, then add the pineapple filling on top. I only used half the pineapple filling in the end as I was worried it would be too much!
  • Add the second layer of sponge then completely cover the whole cake with the left over frosting
  • Decorate with the toasted desiccated coconut
Coconut Cream Layer Cake

Coconut Cream and Pineapple Layer Cake

As you can see from the, slightly dodgy, photo of the inside of the cake it is packed with filling and cream. The contrast in textures and flavours worked well, the cake sponge was a little on the dry side but the cream helped to balance this out. All in all, a tasty version of the coconut cake in less than half the time of the original! 🙂


Coconut Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit, Mango and Lime Zest

Coconut Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit and Mango: 1st Blog Anniversary Post!

First Anniversary for Tea and Sesame!

A year has passed since Tea and Sesame came into being, starting off as an idea from a casual conversation over an afternoon tea this blog has become much more than I expected; a creative outlet to share my cooking and baking with like-minded people, a way to connect with people all over the world that I would otherwise be a stranger to, and the start of a major change in direction in my ‘real’ life…

Despite promises to myself to post recipes regularly, general life seemed to get in the way. Commuting and working long hours meant weekday dinners tended to be thrown together with little creative thought process and weekends were mostly spent catching up with friends and family with the odd fancier home cooked meal thrown in… Oh how things change! This year I’ve taken the (scary) step of giving up my steady job and challenging myself to fulfill my dream of working and living overseas. Hopefully this coming year will give me time to explore a new way of living and find out what I really want to do now that I am a ‘grown up’. I’ve got a year of travelling and work planned and will be documenting my journey through this blog, so I hope you will stick around to see what I discover…

This exciting adventure started off with a couple of weeks on vacation in Sri Lanka where I was introduced to new culinary delights that I will be sharing with you soon. But first I need to catch up with some recipes that I didn’t get a chance to write up before my holiday.

This post is dedicated to Mellissa, my foodie companion and inspiration for this blog. She is addicted to anything that contains coconut and like me needs a decent dessert to make a good meal complete… Enjoy! 😀

Coconut Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit,  Mango and Lime Zest

Coconut Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit, Mango and Lime Zest

Coconut Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit and Mango


  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 150 ml double cream
  • 2 heaped tbs icing sugar
  • 3 leaves of gelatin (use agar agar for vegans)
  • Pulp of 3 passion fruits
  • Cubes of fresh mango
  • Zest of one lime


  • Pour the coconut milk, double cream and icing sugar into a sauce pan and gently warm up, turn off the heat as soon as it starts to simmer and do not allow it to come to a boil!
  • Prepare gelatin as instructed on the packet, then stir into the warmed liquid
  • Pour into small bowls/moulds/ramekins (whatever you want to serve them in) and put into the fridge to set (at least 2 hours for me)
  • When ready to serve, top with passion fruit pulp, cubed mango and lime zest
Coconut Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit,  Mango and Lime Zest

Coconut Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit, Mango and Lime Zest

This dessert takes minutes to put together and is so easy to make but tastes so amazing! I served is as part of an ‘Asian inspired’ Afternoon Tea to celebrate a friend’s 30th birthday so served them in little shot sized cups, but you can make larger ones for a dinner party.

Coconut Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit,  Mango and Lime Zest

Coconut Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit, Mango and Lime Zest

The ‘Asian Inspired’ Afternoon Tea also consisted of Cardamom and Salted Caramel Profiteroles, Candied Walnut Carrot Cupcakes and Scones. Recipes to follow…

'Asian' Afternoon Tea

‘Asian’ Afternoon Tea

Gluten Free: Pear, Caramel, and Cardamom Upside Down Cake

Pear, caramel and cardamom cake

Pear, Caramel and Cardamom Upside Down Cake

Pear, Caramel and Cardamom cake

It’s coming to the end of the pear season in England. I love pears but only when they are firm and crunchy. Looking over at the fruit bowl brimming with over ripening Conference pears I was trying to think of something simple to do with them. I found this recipe for a French Pear, Almond and Cardamom Cake that sounded delicious! I like the use of cardamom in desserts as it adds a nice background note to often very sweet South Asian and Middle Eastern desserts. I also like the use of almond flour in this recipe as I am trying to cut down on eating refined wheat flour but without cutting down on the amount of cake I can eat! 🙂

I have used a recipe for coconut caramel in a Coconut Caramel Slice recipe and have used this caramel recipe for several recipes since. The left overs from the last batch of caramel slices was in the freezer ready for another use so I decided to use it in this pear cake too.

I also found that the cake batter from the original recipe was not enough as I was using a round loose bottom cake tin rather than a small loaf pan so I have increased some of the ingredients to compensate. This is the recipe I’ve used:


  • 200g of ground almonds
  • 2 ripe pears
  • 100g of butter
  • 150g of caster sugar
  • about 10 pods of cardamom (ground)
  • 3 medium free range eggs


  • slice up pears and layer onto the bottom of cake tin
  • pour over the caramel sauce
  • cream butter and sugar, add ground cardamom and eggs then mix before adding ground almonds and mix well
  • pour cake batter on top of pears and caramel and spread evenly
  • Bake at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes
  • Allow to cool slightly in the tin then upturn onto a dish so it is the right way up
  • Serve with cream/ice cream/custard

I’m fairly happy with the results. The cake was very moist and rich and the individual flavours really held their own! I think next time I’ll put the pears on top of the caramel so they look more caramelised. The cardamom flavour was a lovely addition, if anything I would add more cardamom and reduce the sugar in the cake batter to compensate for the sweet caramel sauce! Yum!

Pear, Caramel and Cardamom cake

Pear, Caramel and Cardamom cake

Coconut Cake

Birthdays are the perfect excuse to eat cake, forget about the presents! As long as cake is part of the (usually week long) celebrations then I’m happy.

Growing up in a household where both parents worked in the restaurant business, there was little time for baking birthday cakes. Our staple birthday cake was a ‘Sara Lee’ frozen Black Forest Gateaux or the Strawberry version, depending on which was your favourite!

To this day my favourite cake is Black Forest Cake. It brings back those feelings of joy and happiness from childhood innocence when your birthday was that day you got your favourite foods and all the family gathered to celebrate together . Now that my mum has more time on her hands, she loves to bake. For my birthday each year, she’ll ask what cake I want. And most of the time it’s the same as it’s always been!


Coconut Cake

Coconut Cake

This week it was my foodie cousin’s birthday. We planned a couple of nights out and I offered to bake the cake. This cousin is obsessed with anything coconut. Be it in a cake, a drink, coconut macaroons… So I did a quick search for recipes and found this Coconut Cake recipe.

This recipe uses coconut in four ways; toasted dessicated coconut, coconut syrup, and a coconut custard that flavours the cream filling and butter cream topping. So I wasn’t too worried about the flavours not coming through! However I was terribly confused by the measurements as it’s an American recipe and I struggled to convert the ingredients accurately. There were quite a few parts of the recipe that required some advanced preparation too so its not a cake you can just whip up in a couple of hours, but it’ll be worth it in the end!

Last Slice of Cake

Last Slice of Cake

In the end the cake was HUGE! But was well received by all. Second helpings were had and the cake was distributed across three households. All in all, another successful birthday week!

When one recipe inspires another: Coconut Caramel Slice

Coconut Caramel Slice

Coconut and Salted Caramel Slice


Home baking has recently seen a revival. My friends, colleagues and family know all about my cake obsession, and I have held many an afternoon tea or baked an experimental cake to share in the office the next day. I had to stop when people complained that they were putting on weight from eating all my cakes! I bake less these days but still enjoy dabbling once in a while. ‘Afternoon tea’ is quintessentially British but now fashionable the world over. I recently had an ‘Asian Afternoon’ tea where finger sandwiches were replaced by a variety of sushi. A perfect example of Asian fusion cuisine!

An earlier experiment with banana gyoza resulted in having left over coconut caramel  that was a little sickly sweet so, I wanted to try it with a little sea salt to take the edge off the sweetness. A quick on-line search of ‘coconut caramel’ and the first recipe that came up was this one! Coconut caramel slice. I’ve adapted this recipe slightly by using the coconut caramel (with a couple of pinches of sea salt flakes added) and adding a drizzle of dark chocolate on top to introduce a contrast in tastes. I’ve also increased the amount of dessicated coconut in the top layer to 200 grams and added another egg. I found that the amount in the recipe was not enough to fully cover the ‘cake’, and I also wanted to use up what was left of packet before I started on another baking adventure ‘just to use up left overs’!

Looking at the recipe, I realised it was very similar to a coconut macaroon recipe I used when baking a gluten free treat to take to a friend’s house as a treat. This Coconut Slice recipe is a very simple recipe, similar to an Almond Slice. Except the ground almond is swapped for dessicated coconut and raspberry jam in the place of caramel. I made Almond Slices a few months ago and they turned out amazingly well for my first attempt. I really like tray bakes. They are simple to make and these layered recipes are always very pretty, looking like you have put more effort in than you really have!

At work we regularly hold bake sales to raise money for the charity I work for. I usually make cupcakes which go down well but I steer clear of eating them as I find the buttercream far too sweet. I think these Coconut caramel and Almond slices will be on the menu for the next bake sale. This way I can enjoy a little treat in the afternoon too!


Coconut Caramel Slice

Coconut and Salted Caramel Slice