Coconut Orange Mini Cakes - They may be mini, but they have the taste of a cake giant. Fluffy yet dense sponge chock-full of dessicated coconut. Silky and rich ultra orange-y buttercream. Smooth orange curd with just the right amount of tartness. Textures galore. These mini cakes have the ability to transport you to an exotic island where you can enjoy the feeling of sand between you toes and the heat of the sun on your skin, all in a single bite.

COCONUT ORANGE MINI CAKES

These coconut orange mini cakes may be ‘mini’ but they have the taste of a cake giant. Fluffy yet dense sponge chock-full of dessicated coconut. Silky and rich ultra orange-y buttercream. Smooth orange curd with just the right amount of tartness. Textures galore. These mini cakes have the ability to transport you to an exotic island where you can enjoy the feeling of sand between you toes and the heat of the sun on your skin, all in a single bite.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 4 mini cakes

Ingredients

For sponge:

  • 150 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200 g caster sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs, egg yolks and egg whites separated
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 240 g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 50 g dessicated coconut
  • 6 – 7 tbsp milk

For orange curd:

  • juice of 2 large oranges
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 1 egg + 4 egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cornflour (Note 1)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp warm water

For buttercream:

  • 350 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 350 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 – 8 tbsp milk (Note 2)
  • 2/3 of prepared orange curd (see above)
  • 3 tbsp orange juice

For decoration:

  • dessicated coconut (about 75 – 100 g)
  • chocolate (melt about 50 g of ~75% chocolate with 2 g unsalted butter, leave to cool to room temperature)
  • orange zest

Instructions

For coconut sponge:

  1. Preheat oven to 175 ºC (350 ºF) and like a baking tray with greaseproof/baking paper. Use a shallow baking tray (I've used a 10 x 14" tray 1 inch deep).

  2. Cream together butter, 1/2 of caster sugar and vanilla extract.
  3. Add egg yolks, one at a time, whisking vigorously after each addition.
  4. Sift together flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt, and add the dessicated coconut. Mix well.
  5. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until well incorporated.
  6. Mix in the milk.
  7. Add the remaining 1/2 of the flour mixture and mix until well incorporated. Be careful not to over-mix (otherwise the sponge can become rubbery).
  8. Add lemon juice to egg whites and whisk them until frothy.
  9. Add the remaining 1/2 of caster sugar to egg whites and whisk until stiff peaks just start to form.
  10. Add 1/3 of the meringue mixture into the sponge mixture and mix well. (Note 3)
  11. Fold the remaining 2/3 of the meringue mixture carefully into the sponge mixture until well-incorporated. Do not over-mix (otherwise you lose the meringue's "fluff effect").
  12. Transfer the sponge mix into the baking tray, levelling and smoothing out the surface.
  13. Bake at 175 ºC (350 ºF) for 25 – 30 min or until golden and a skewer/toothpick comes out clean.

  14. Leave the sponge to cool completely before assembling the cakes.

For orange curd:

  1. Add orange juice, lemon juice, caster sugar and butter to a heat-proof bowl and heat over a pot of gently simmering water until the butter is just melted.
  2. Whisk together the egg, egg yolks, cornflour and water until you obtain a smooth paste.
  3. Slowly add the egg mixture to the orange juice mixture, whisking vigorously until well-combined.
  4. Heat the curd over gently simmering water for 10 – 13 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture at the end should be creamy and thick.
  5. Leave to cool. To prevent the top layer from forming a 'skin' or crust, cover the bowl with cling film.

For buttercream:

  1. Using either a hand mixer with whisk attachments, or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat/whisk butter and 1/2 of icing sugar for 5 minutes on medium to high speed (increase the speed slowly to avoid having the kitchen covered in icing sugar).
  2. Add 2 tbsp of milk and the other 1/2 of icing sugar. Beat/whisk the mixture on medium to high speed for about 10 minutes until pale an fluffy.
  3. Add 2/3 of the prepared curd and orange juice, mixing until well-incorporated.
  4. If your kitchen is too cold and your buttercream seems too stiff, add more milk, 1 tbsp at a time, beating/whisking well after each addition.

Assembling the cakes and decoration:

  1. Cut circles out of the sponge using round cookie cutters (I've used a round cookie cutter about 2 3/4" in diameter, which gave me four 3-layer cakes and lots of yummy off-cuts for snacking on).
  2. Assemble the cake layers in the sequence: sponge, buttercream, curd, sponge, buttercream, curd, sponge.
  3. Cover the top and sides of the mini cakes with a smooth layer of buttercream (or go rustic and not-smooth, whatever floats your boat).
  4. Cover the cake with dessicated coconut as desired, and/or pipe decorative borders with buttercream.
  5. If you use chocolate for decorating, refrigerate the cakes for at least 1/2 hour before drizzling them with chocolate. (Note 4)
  6. The cakes keep well in the fridge or in a cool dry place for 3 – 4 days (they won't, though).

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Cornflour usually isn’t a curd component, but we’ll be adding it in this case because we want our curd extra-thick so that it doesn’t cause the buttercream to become runny.

Note 2: The amount of milk in buttercream depends on the temperature of your kitchen and therefore how soft your butter is.

Note 3: The first 1/3 of meringue mixture doesn't need to be added carefully. It's a "sacrificial" amount that serves to loosen up the sponge mix.

Note 4: Refrigeration ensures that the cakes are cold enough for the chocolate drizzle to set quickly, rather than dripping all the way to the bottom of the cake.