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An Adieu to Strawberries



Bombay has a strange strawberry season that starts in winter and ends before summer sets in. We are now at the end of this season so you'd be lucky to find a box of strawberries with your fruit seller now. I found what I think would be my last box of the year yesterday and made this gorgeous cake to celebrate strawberries one last time this year.

BBC calls this a coconut cream cake. There is plenty of coconut yes, but with all the polenta the recipe calls for (which I substituted with cornmeal), the texture and flavour is more like a cornbread. Eat it plain, top it with icing sugar as BBC suggests or top it with strawberries my way, this is a great cake to have in the fridge for your weekend snacking needs.

Ingredients
For cake
140 grams butter, at room temperature
140 grams caster sugar
juice of 1 lime
50 grams desiccated coconut
200 ml coconut milk carton (I used Dabur Homemade)
85 grams fine polenta or cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
140 grams plain flour

For topping
2 tbsp toasted desiccated coconut
4 tbsp icing sugar
1 box (approx. 400 grams) strawberries
1/2 tsp vanilla essense
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp caster sugar

Line a 7 inch round baking tin with parchment. Preheat the oven to 180C. Cream butter with sugar until soft and fluffy. Add 150 ml coconut milk (reserve the remaining 50 ml for later) and whisk in to blend. Add all the remaining ingredients and beat until you have a well blended mixture. Pour into the cake tin and bake for about an hour, until the top is golden and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the cake tin.

While the cake is baking, prep your strawberries. Wash and hull the berries and cut them in quarters. Put in a bowl and add vanilla essence, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Stir to mix and pop into the fridge for about an hour.

When the cake is cool, remove from the tin and put on a serving plate. Mix the reserved coconut milk with icing sugar to make a thin glaze. Brush the top and the sides of the cake with the glaze and put it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to set. In the meantime, strain out the syrup from the strawberries. Put the syrup in a small pan and on a medium heat, boil until it reduces to 1/3rd the original quantity. Pile the strawberries in the centre of the cake (or make a pretty pattern if that's more your thing), sprinkle toasted coconut and then spoon over the reduced balsamic syrup.

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