In the spirit of the Great British Bake Off, we’re having our very own bake off at work. Three rounds, 9 people, 3 eliminated in rounds 1 and 2 leaving just 3 in the final week. It’s stressful stuff. The theme of the first round was sandwich cakes, the second round was biscuits and the final is yet to be decided. For round one, I pulled out the big guns and made a three layer mango, passionfruit, lime and coconut cake. Three layers of tasty sponge with mango and passionfruit jam, and coconut and lime buttercream. A tropical viccy sponge, if you will. 


The sponge is light, the mango and passionfruit jam is sweet and chunky, and the buttercream is (obviously) creamy but with a zesty lime zing that stops the cake from becoming a huge sugar-fest. You can make up a batch of the jam in advance (recipe here) and save it for Christmas hampers – it goes bloody brilliantly with Christmas morning pastries. 

I also candied some lime slices for decoration for the top – just cut a couple of limes into thin slices, boil some water in a saucepan and add the lime slices for two minutes. Drain, and add a cup of water and a cup of sugar to the saucepan – bring to a simmer, add the lime slices and simmer for 10-15 minutes. You want the pith to turn white, or near enough. Drain them and leave to dry on a drying rack for a few hours. When dry (but sticky), pop some more sugar onto a saucer and press the lime slices into it on both sides to coat. Chop in half and add to the top of your cake!

You’ll also want to reduce your coconut milk in advance as this will need to chill for a few hours. Check out the recipe below for more details.

Things got a bit messy on the journey to work. A bit of sliding happened. IT STILL TASTED GOOD.

So if you’ve caught GBBO fever (and are still devastated about Mat leaving like I am, sob, woe) and fancy whipping up a tropical behemoth, get on it. And then dive in FACE FIRST.

P.S. It came third in round one. Well done cake!

Mango, passionfruit, lime and coconut cake
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For the cake
  1. 4 large eggs, room temperature (weigh them in their shells)
  2. Same weight of unsalted butter, room temperature
  3. Same weight of caster sugar
  4. Same weight of self-raising flour
  5. Big pinch of salt
  6. 1.5 tsp baking powder
  7. 2-5 tbsp whole milk
  8. Mango and passionfruit jam (see article for recipe)
For the coconut and lime buttercream
  1. 200ml coconut milk
  2. 150g icing sugar (have more on standby!)
  3. Juice of 1 lime
  4. 115g unsalted butter, softened
  5. 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or 2tsp vanilla extract
  6. Pinch of salt
For the cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C, and grease three sandwich tins. Line the bases with greaseproof baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until really light and fluffy. Save your wrists and use an electric whisk if you have one as it'll take a while!
  3. Crack the eggs into a jug and whisk until just beaten, and then add to the mixture little by little. Mix well between each addition and give everything a good scrape down the sides as you go.
  4. Sift in the flour, salt and baking powder, and fold in gently until just combined. Add a little milk, bit by bit until the mixture is a bit looser and drops off a spoon easily (but isn't runny).
  5. Divide your cake batter between the three tins, smooth over and bake for around 25 minutes – the cakes should be risen, a lovely golden colour and it should pass the skewer test.
  6. Leave them in their tins for a bit, and then turn out onto a cooling rack. Make sure you leave at least one of the cakes right-side up!
For the buttercream
  1. Reduce your coconut milk in advance by adding it to a saucepan, letting it boil and then turning the heat down and simmering/stirring it until it has reduced by half, which should take around 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely, then cover and chill for a few hours.
  2. Beat the butter in a bowl with an electric whisk until pale and smooth. Add the reduced coconut milk, vanilla, salt and icing sugar, mix gently until everything's incorporated and then whisk until light and fluffy. Add more icing sugar if the buttercream is too wet and whisk again.
Assemble the cake
  1. Take the now cooled cake layers, and if necessary level out the two bottom layers with a bread knife (if the tops are too domed).
  2. Spread a generous layer of buttercream onto the first sponge, and then dollop a few tablespoons of the jam on top and spread out. Lower the next sponge onto the top, and repeat.
  3. Add the final layer to the cake, and spread a decent layer of buttercream onto the top of the cake. Decorate with candied limes if you're using them. Enjoy!
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