- Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease or fully line a 23cm cake tin either with parchment or a ready formed liner.
- Either by hand or by mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time ensuring each egg is incorporated into mix before adding in the next. Scrape down the side of the bowl, add the vanilla extract and give it one light mix to incorporate the vanilla and any missed bits.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
- Add to the main bowl both the dry ingredients and the milk, do this in stages to the wet, mixing in as you go to ensure all the flour is incorporated into the mixture. Do not over beat.
- Fold into the mixture the coconut and mix until incorporated. If the mix looks too runny just add a little extra flour. Pour or spoon mix into the awaiting prepared tin.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 40 to 60 minutes. Check the cake regularly and depending on the flour used cooking time could vary. You are looking for a browned top and a skewer that comes out clean.
- Allow to cool and then apply melted chocolate to the top and sides (if you like) of the cake, then if desired sprinkle over additional coconut for decoration. Allow chocolate to set hard before serving.
If you like coconut but not necessarily the bits in the cake, you could use a coconut flavoured syrup to flavour the cake. I sometimes add syrup to the cake mix to give an extra strong coconut taste.
You could easily split the mixture into two 1lb loaf tins and make two smaller loaf cakes, especially useful if someone doesn't like chocolate or you wish to do one in white chocolate and one in plain/dark chocolate or maybe put frosting on one.
I haven't yet needed to but this cake could be frozen. I'd wrap it in greaseproof paper prior to freezing to protect it whilst in the freezer.
My dad likes his served up with a dollop of custard or a generous dollop of cream.
Someone once said to me that this cake would make an alternative wedding cake especially as it looks so pretty covered in white chocolate and covered with a coat of coconut, especially for a winter wedding.