I found a very good recipe to use up some coconut I found in the back of my cupboard – relic of a failed macaroon initiative I suspect. It seems a pretty perfect cake to me: everything can be mixed up quickly, you don’t need to ice it and it won’t dry out by morning! I reduced the quantities from the original recipe (which makes a 9×13 version) and it was excellent — and perfumed the house nicely to boot. The oil and the syrup should ensure it keeps well for several days, although it does not seem destined to last that long.
Middle Eastern Coconut Cake (Harissah)
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 cup oil
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 cups unsweetened coconut (I used dessicated) (- if you use sweetened, reduce sugar to about 3/4 cup)
- Boil the water and sugar together 5 to 10 minutes until nearly consistency of pancake syrup. When syrup has cooled a few minutes, carefully add vanilla (do not add it immediately to the scalding syrup unless you want to experience a volcano effect on your stovetop).
- Mix sugar, eggs, oil, milk, vanilla and lemon juice until blended. Add flour and baking powder to mixture and blend well. Stir coconut into batter, and pour mixture into greased and floured 8×8 square cake pan.
- Bake 40 minutes at 325 F until set and top is a light/medium golden brown.
- When cake is done and still hot, and still in the pan, poke holes with a skewer or toothpick and pour the syrup evenly over the top.
- Let cool, then cut in squares or diamonds.