Coconut, Cardamom & Rosewater Cake

I used to hate baking. Tough cakes, flat cakes, stodgy cakes- I’ve made the lot! Part of me puts this down to never having seen my family bake cakes growing up. Granted, Bengalis have a fair few desserts that are a little more tantalising for the tastebuds like this patishapta or these delicious narkel naru. As a result, I’ve never truly understood the need for measuring out ingredients or leaving the cake in for the exact amount of time. I’d like to think I’ve finally gotten there though!

Golden Tiffin will never be about towering spectres of ganached-up cakes- because in all honesty, I possess neither the time or energy. I also think that in the grand scheme of hosting means making sure that all the courses taste well together. Let me tell you, a black forest gateau doesn’t have the same impact after a plate or two of mustard marinated salmon curry...

This coconut, cardamom and rosewater cake is my little twist on a classic Victoria sponge cake. I love the warm kick of the cardamom and the heady scent of rosewater combined. Sometimes people do complain that coconut cakes come out too crumby or dry in texture. I’ve always done one of two things: used frozen desiccated coconut you can buy in any good Bengali green grocer or grated it myself- never the dry stuff you find in the baking aisles.

Servings: 1 x 12 in’ cake tin or 4 mini loaf tins
Prep+cooking time: 1hr 15mins

Ingredients for the cake

  • 225g unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 3 medium free range eggs, at room temp
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • 3-4 tbsp rosewater
  • 3-4 tbsp whole milk, to loosen if necessary

Ingredients for the buttercream

  • 100g icing sugar
  • 50g unsalted butter (the palest colour you can find)
Golden Tiffin Coconut & Rosewater Cake8.jpg


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan /gas mark 3 and carefully and grease four mini loaf tins, or one 12 inch cake tin.
  2. In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Then, one at a time, combine the eggs. Pour in the rosewater and fold in. 
  3. In a separate bowl sieve the flour and mix in the baking powder and desiccated coconut. Pour a third of the dry mix into the butter and eggs and beat well. Add the milk, beat and repeat until you have an even texture.
  4. Bake the cakes for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the middle.  
  5. To create the buttercream: whip icing sugar and butter together until they combine to form tough peaks. The longer you whisk, the whiter the buttercream will be!
  6. Let the cake rest for 10-15 minutes and turn out onto a plate when it has cooled. To decorate, coat the buttercream on top. If that's too sweet for your taste, just sprinkle a little icing sugar and desiccated coconut.