Who knew that watching The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse could provide one with the inspiration for a brand new cake recipe? Well, it came as a surprise to me as well.
It all started a couple of weeks ago, when my Little Greedy Tadpole came down with chicken pox. She obviously had to be quarantined, so I ended up spending a few days holed up in the house with my poorly offspring. She was quite feverish and mostly wanted to snuggle up with me on the couch and watch cartoons, and as a result I ended up sitting through a lot more Mickey Mouse, Peppa Pig and Thomas the Tank than I really wanted to.
One particular episode of Mickey Mouse featured a summery picnic; it looked beautiful, with a brightly coloured rug covered with all manners of appetising goodies, among which were several types of cakes. The cakes looked amazing, with their rainbow-coloured layers and icing, and cherries on top. In fact they looked so good that I immediately wanted one, and I decided there and then that my next project would be to come up with a new cake worthy of Minnie Mouse’s recipe book.
For a little while, I had been toying with the idea of rehydrating dessicated coconut and using it in a cake batter, and this seemed like the perfect recipe for trying it. I struggled a bit at first with the ratio of coconut to milk, and working out just the right amount of cherries, but after a lot of tweaking and a few disappointing batches, I finally ended up with the version below, which received enthusiastic thumbs up from my long-suffering testers.
I know I might be blowing my own trumpet ever so slightly here, but I think these would definitely steal the show at Mickey Mouse’s next picnic.
Eat your heart out Minnie!
You will need (for 12 individual cakes):
50 g coconut
120 ml milk
80 g glacé cherries, halved, plus 12 whole ones
1 tbsp Kirsch or other spirit (optional)
180 g self-raising flour
150 g caster sugar
150 g unsalted butter, softened and diced
6 glacé cherries, halved
500 g icing sugar
In a small bowl, mix the milk and coconut and leave for at least 2 h until the coconut has absorbed most of the liquid (or leave overnight in the fridge).
Mix the halved cherries with the alcohol, if using. Reserve.
Grease and flour a 12-hole muffin tin.
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/ fan 170ºC/ Gas 5.
In a large bowl, mix the flour and sugar. Add the butter and mix until almost smooth, then add the eggs one by one and mix thoroughly. Stir in the coconut and about 2 tbsp of the leftover liquid, then carefully fold the cherries in the batter.
Divide between the 12 holes in the tin. Gently push a whole cherry into the middle of each hole, then with your fingers spread a little bit of batter back over the cherries.
Bake for about 20 min or until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin for 5 min then turn out onto a rack. Leave to cool completely before decorating.
Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl, and add warm water, a teaspoonfull at a time, until you get a thick, glossy icing.
Drop a tablespoonful of icing onto each cake and spread it a little, without being too neat. Top with the cherry halves.
Leave to set for a couple of hours.