In case you’ve been following my footsteps through the world of all things delicious for some time, you’ve probably noticed that a) I’m a bit shy with sweets in general and b) apart from a weak spot for a piece of brownie that appears about once a year, I’m not a cake person. Never been one, actually, despite my grandma’s best efforts. So when I suggested a visit to a tea house famous for it’s cakes – one that I’ve been reading about everywhere I looked while researching the tasty aspects of Madeira before our first trip all those years ago – Hubby and I were actually equally… surprised, to say the least.
Maybe it was the pictures of the delicious cakes lined up on the counter, the raving ratings the place got or a simple case of low blood sugar at the time, but the idea stuck with us and one fine day I walked into a teahouse on a mission to intentionally order a piece of cake (and enjoy it!) for the first time in my life. I ordered a cup of ginger & lemongrass tea and, after inquiring about which of the many freshly baked cakes would go well with that, a yoghurt, lime and coconut cake to go along with it. I’m still at a loss to describe that particular experience, so I’ll just say: Since that memorable day, we’ve set aside an afternoon for a visit to this little teahouse every time we’ve returned to Madeira. During our most recent winter-getaway, a glance at the raging ick outside made me think of that particularly summery experience, and after a bit of research, healthy(-ish) ingredient tweaking and experimentation, I was able to bring a fragrant and fluffy slice of Madeira to our coffee table while a signature North Sea storm was howling around the cozy reed cap of the house. I remembered that afternoon when I saw the weather forecast for the next week and decided this might be just the right time to share this one with you guys~
Before we begin: In case you know your way around Funchal – or if you’re planning on getting to know your way around Funchal in the near future – I was talking about the Chocolate e Menta Teahouse (which was called Alfazema & Chocolate back then) at Rua D. Carlos I 45A, 9060-051 Funchal, Portugal, just behind the Téléférico Ground Station. Oh and, just in case the health question lingers in he background of your headspace, mallet-shaped guilt trip barely hidden behind its back, remember: Everything in moderation. Even moderation. And for those always searching for a good excuse for a slice of cake… this little sign which used to hang in the Teahouses entrance might be just the thing for you~
The Madeira-Inspired Yoghurt-Lime & Coconut Sponge Cake
325g Fine Baking Sugar
Opt: you can sub 125g Baking Sugar with Coconut Flower Sugar, but that will color the cake a number of shades into the brown spectrum. Brown Sugar is also an option – with the same side-effect
250g Plain or Greek Yoghurt
200g Plain Wheat Flour – I’m not a big baker, so my attempt at subbing wheat with coconut flour didn’t go that well… if someone has the accurate amounts for a gluten-free move like that, please let me know 🙂
200ml Coconut Oil
100g Dessicated Coconut Flakes
2 Large Eggs
About 4-5 Limes, enough to net yo:
3 Tbsp Lime Juice
2 Tbsp Lime Zest
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 Tsp Baking Powder
½ Tsp Fine Sea Salt
2 Drops of Vanilla Extract
Opt: Icing Sugar
Opt: Toasted Coconut Flakes
Opt: Strawberries or Tropical fruit to garnish
1) Preheat your oven to 180°C.
2) Prepare your favorite 18-22cm DIA springform or cake tin for the gig by lining the bottom and sides with baking parchment. Or 2 mini springforms~
3) Grab a large mixing bpwl and start the proceedings by dissolving the brown sugar and salt in the lime juice.
4) Once the sound of your whisk in the bowl tells you that the sugar has dissolved completely, add the zest, oil, extract, eggs, and baking/coconut sugar and, using a handheld/fancy countertop whisk’o’matic for 3-4 minutes, beat the lot until it turns into a thick and creamy cloud.
5) Add the salt, yoghurt and lime juice and have at it again for another 1-2 mins.
6) Sift in the flour and baking powder, add the coconut flakes and gently fold them into the mix with the help of a rubber spatula until everything is well combined into a soft-whipped creamy pillow in your bowl – with a couple of coconutty dots in it.
7) Pour the mixture into the waiting tin.
8) Slide it onto the middle rack and allow the oven to work its magic for 45-60 mins – that is, until a wooden skewer or toothpick inconspicuously poked into the center of the cake comes out clean and crumb-free.
9) Allow the cake to rest inside the tin for 10-15 mins, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool off completely outside of the confines of the tin.
10) If you’re the icing-sugar-on-the-cake type, wait until you go about the icing routine until the cake has cooled off.
11) If you’re in for some more coconut, dust the surface of the cake with as many toasted flakes as you like.
12) If you’re in for a bit of a fruity flourish, add anything and everything on the tropical fruit side of things that look and taste good on top and to the sides of the cake – anything goes as long as it floats your boat~
Brew a cup of tea, grab a slice, sit back and…