Coconut, cherry and chocolate cake

By Fiona Sims

Coconut, cherry and chocolate cake

Coconut, cherry and chocolate cake

I’ve just finished the last morsel of coconut cake. And not just any coconut cake – this one was slathered in dark chocolate and juicy with cherries. When I first tasted it back in August, I was sitting down to breakfast at Hotel Rathaus Wein & Design in Vienna.

This small, wine-themed boutique hotel down a quiet back street, five minutes walk from the Ringstrasse, offers one helluva buffet breakfast, with artisanal cheeses, freshly carved hams, homemade jams – and yes, homemade cakes.

The Austrians take breakfast very seriously, often skipping lunch in favour of a blowout first thing. So we followed their lead, loading up our plates, trying everything on offer - this cake was my favourite.

I asked general manager Conrad Schroepel who the baker was, and he told me that there wasn’t any one particular person in charge in the kitchen, and that all of his staff are encouraged to bake cakes – a commendable company policy and one that should be adopted by like-minded hotels, in my view.

This recipe comes from Mihaela Mojsievic, adapted slightly for the home kitchen. So thank you, Mihaela. This has become a firm family favourite – delicious, yes, but also ridiculously easy to make.

100g yoghurt (full fat, ideally)

100g vegetable oil

100g milk (semi-skimmed is fine)

100g desiccated coconut

1 tsp vanilla essence

200g caster sugar

200g plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

150g pitted cherries in syrup, drained (I use Lidl’s pitted sour cherries)

100g dark 70% chocolate

You will need a greased 21cm springform cake tin, the bottom lined with greaseproof paper

Heat the oven to 180 °C. Chuck everything together into a big bowl and stir until it is thoroughly mixed, then pour into the lined cake tin. Distribute the drained cherries over the top and bake them together with the cake for around 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, break up the chocolate into a bowl and melt in the microwave (around 2 minutes on full power), then mix with a fork and pour over the cake so that top is covered (it doesn’t matter if it drips down the sides – I like it this way). Leave the chocolate to harden for an hour or two, and then serve.