I learned this recipe 30 plus years ago when I lived in Brazil, where coconut is used for several desserts. The recipe came on the back of a packet of shredded coconut and I have been making and adapting it along the years. This is the recipe I have used for the past years and it's one of my family's favourite cakes. —Maria Teresa Jorge
all purpose flour
butter softened at room temperature
eggs at room temperature
shredded unsweatened coconut
sugar for syrup
coconut milk for syrup
3 to 4 tablespoons
shredded unsweetened coconut for decoration
Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF with rack in the middle position.
Butter and flour a 9 inch diameter springform pan.
Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt and set aside.
Divide the egg yolks and the egg whites and put each in a different bowl of a stand mixer.
Cut the butter in small pieces and leave it at room temperature - it has to be soft but not melted.
In a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the sugar and the egg yolks until creamy and pale, about 8 minutes.
With the mixer running, add the cut up butter a little at a time, always beating.
Put the speed on minimum and slowly add 1/3 cup of coconut milk, and then add the 4 ounces of shredded coconut. Put the speed in the middle and beat to incorporate well.
Add the sifted flour with the baking powder and salt and mix enough just to incorporate.
With the whisk beater, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Fold them in the cake batter with a spatula, just enough to incorporate.
Pour the batter in the springform and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes (it depends on each oven and wether you use convection or normal) until golden brown and when a toothpick inserted in the midle comes out clean. If the cake starts to brown and is still uncooked, cover with aluminium foil and continue baking.
Make the syrup: In a pan over medium heat, put the 2/3 cup coconut milk and the sugar and bring to a boil, mixing to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
When the cake is baked, remove from the oven, put on a cooling rack without removing from the springform pan and make holes all over the cake. Gently pour the hot coconut syrup on top of the cake, spreading evenly. Let the cake cool and absorb all the syrup.
Invert the cake on a flat plate and invert it again on the serving plate. Sprinkle generously with shredded coconut.