We had a wonderful guest over for dinner last Sunday. We had prepared an Asian-inspired dinner that was a. quite spicy and b. extremely heavy on coconut: After a pumpkin coconut-curry with toasted coconut & almond sprinkled rice, he was served a coconut, almond and celery cake with coconut-caramel glaze! While that might have been a minor coconut overkill for all of us, luckily our guest asserted that he was fine with all that coconut and spice, and we didn’t have to feed him…hm, butter on toast!?
Strangely enough I found the original recipe for this cake when I was flipping through the magazine of a supermarket (Delhaize magazine) while waiting. I first baked it rather sceptically as it required a fair amount of grated celery and was, apart from that, loaded with white sugar. As I liked the taste combination (the nutty taste and structure the celery adds to the cake!) so much, each time I baked it again I tweaked it more to my taste, trying to make it somehow a bit more wholesome, by cutting down the amount of sugar, replacing white sugar with brown cane sugar, substituting more than half of the white flour with almond and oat flour and using Halfbaked Harvest’s Salted Caramel as a topping instead of what was suggested in the original recipe.
I still can’t claim it’s a light treat, but I think it’s a delicious compromise.
Celery, Almond and Coconut Cake with Salted Caramel Glaze
Makes 12 pieces in a 22cm diametre spring form
250g butter, room temperature, plus extra for greasing
180g fine light brown cane sugar
4 big eggs
150g celery, peeled
100g almond flour
100g plain flour, plus a little extra for the baking tin
50g oat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
80g desiccated coconut, plus extra for garnishing
zest and juice of 1 organic lemon
Preheat the oven to 160° C. Slightly grease the spring form and dust with flour, removing any excess flour.
Cream butter and sugar together in a stand mixer for about 5-6 minutes until thick and white (alternatively use a hand-held mixer and beat for about 6-7 minutes). Add one egg at a time, mixing it in for 30 seconds, before adding the next one.
Finely grate the celery with a box grater and set aside. Mix the flours with baking powder and desiccated coconut.
Add the flour and coconut mix to the creamed butter mixture and beat just until combined. Carefully stir in the celery, lemon zest and lemon juice.
Bake the cake in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool.
For the salted caramel glaze:
Adapted from Halfbaked Harvest
100g brown sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
150ml coconut milk
Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the sugar starts caramelizing (it should be bubbling and taking a darker shade of brown).
Now add the vanilla essence, salt and coconut milk, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for another 5-6 minutes, stirring regularly, until the liquid is reduced to half. Take off heat and set aside for 3-4 minutes to cool slightly.
Top the cooled cake with the glaze, spreading it equally all over with the back of a metallic spoon or spatula. Garnish with more desiccated coconut.
The cake keeps well on the kitchen counter, covered with foil or a big bowl, for up to 4 days.