Cherry cake is one of my favourites and this version where the cherries are combined with coconut is extra delicious. I first made this cake many years ago but it took me a while to track down the instructions. I could find plenty of recipes in my many books for cherry cake and for coconut cake but not one with them together.
I finally tracked down a recipe, which I am fairly sure is the same one as at some previous date I had written in an amendment. It was in one of the first cookery books I owned: a Christmas present from my parents when I had asked for a book with lots of basic ‘how to cook’ information. The book is a large volume, Perfect Cooking by Marguerite Patten. The book is divided into sections and I have seen a copy of it in file version, which makes me think it could have been published as a ‘partwork’ with a new section to collect each week. My copy, however, is properly bound. As I have said, I did make amendments, in particular reducing the amount of sugar by one third (from 6ozs to 4ozs) and deciding that the mixture needed just a little milk. The original recipe also suggested a row of cherry halves could be added on top of the cake, but I found that they sunk into the mixture as it cooked and it is simpler just to mix them in. I usually add a crunchy top by sprinkling over a little extra sugar before cooking. The original instructions were mixed by first rubbing the fat into the flour but I decided to use the more familiar creaming method, with no noticeable effect. It is suggested that this would be also be good eaten warm as a dessert.
Cherry & Coconut Cake
60zs/170g self-raising flour (or plain flour and 2 level tsp baking powder)
4ozs/115g soft margerine
4ozs/115g caster sugar
2ozs/50g dessicated coconut
3ozs/85g glacé cherries
1. Preheat the oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4. Line a 2lb loaf tin or 8″/20cm baking tin.
2. Beat the fat and sugar together in a bowl until creamy. Break the eggs into a small cup and beat in the beaten egg a little at a time.
3. Mix in the dessicated coconut.
4. Chop the cherries into three or four pieces each.
5. Sift the flour, placing the chopped cherries in the sieve at the same time. This means they are coated with flour and helps prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake.
6. Mix the floury cherries into the cake, then gently fold in the flour and finally stir in the milk.
7. Spoon into a prepared tin and level the top. Sprinkle with a little extra sugar for a crunchy topping. Bake for about 1 hour.
8. Turn onto a rack to cool. A skewer inserted into the centre of the baked cake should come out clean.