“Claire Cake” or so I’m told {Coconut & Rhubarb Cake}

And so finally I found myself with a weekend afternoon free of urgent to-dos, and thought “how about putting one of those recipes I’m asked for so often (ahem, I might be paraphrasing), onto the blog?!” This is hardly my recipe though, lifted from Marian Keye’s own bakebook Saved By Cake but with a few alterations made to simplify (and further deliciousify?!) it. Still, I reasoned, surely a rustic cake like this one would be quick to get made, a few quick pics, and a brief write-up; I could do it all in a day. Which I must have said out loud and my sleeping baby heard, because naturally her nap time was abysmal and it is now most certainly not the same day that I made the cake in the photos (it’s only 23 days afterwards though, so not bad considering the last time I posted was in March…)

But back to a more positive point: this cake may seem simple and unassuming but it punches well above its weight. Its sweet, crunchy crust is a perfect casing for its surprising tender interior, with jewels of tangy rhubarb contrasting with the coconut’s sweetness. Of course you don’t have to add rhubarb – the first time I made this in its original form was to use the stuff up – but it does add interest and variation to the foam-soft cake crumb.

I’ve said enough, except to point out that in certain social circles this cake is a favourite of children who have named it after me and choose it for their birthday cake flavour. Just sayin’. Please make it and invite me around to eat the edges, how I love them!! Also: is sublime when topped with a dollop of lemon honey / curd (see below).

The process pictures are below to fulfil any need you may have for square-tiled instructionals, or skip ahead to the written method to get this cake in your life faster.

Coconut Rhubarb Cake (ie. ‘Claire-cake’)

Adapted from Saved By Cake by Marian Keyes

  • 170g butter, softened to room temperature
  • 300g (1 1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla essence
  • 250g (approx. 1 2/3 cup) flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 50g (approx. 1/2 cup) dessicated coconut
  • 200mL coconut milk/cream or yoghurt (coconut milk or cream gives an airy, light cake, while yoghurt makes it moist and heavy)
  • 4 stalks (approx. 150g) rhubarb, sliced small/1cm
  • 4 Tbsp shredded coconut for decorating top of cake, if desired
  1. Preheat oven to 175oC and line or grease a large rectangular tin (approx. 9″x13″) or a 9″/23cm round cake tin.
  2. Beat butter and sugar together using a stand or hand mixer, until well-combined and lighter yellow than the butter is to start with.
  3. Beat in the vanilla then the eggs one at a time (don’t worry if the mixture looks like it’s starting to split by the time the last egg is combined).
  4. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, sieve together the flour and baking powder then add the desiccated coconut and whisk to combine.
  5. Add one third of the flour mixture and half the coconut milk or yoghurt to the butter-sugar-eggs, and beat together at low speed until just combined. Repeat with one further third of the flour mixture and the remaining milk/yoghurt. Add the final third of the flour and beat until the flour disappears. Add the chopped rhubarb and beat in at low speed until evenly dispersed.
  6. Scrape mixture into cake tin and roughly level with spatula. Sprinkle the shredded coconut evenly on top, if using. Bake until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out dry or with crumbs only; this might take 30-45 minutes if using a rectangular tin, or around an hour for a round cake.

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