Friday, 18 January 2013

Snow!  School is closed today because of snow.....and it is still coming down where we are!  As we are home today, I thought I would again try and use up some of the coconut stored in the cupboard...hence coconut fingers were made today!  

Being from St Helena, a coconut finger is a traditional celebration cake.  It would be outrageous if there was a wedding, christening, or birthday party, family gathering, day out, picnic, etc.  and there were no coconut fingers!  They are usually iced in pink, or green. I imagine it is because they were the food colours that was widely available when our grandparents, and great grandparents and great - great grandparents made them all those years ago.  

Every family or district on St Helena I am sure has their own family recipe for making the sponge cake and for decorating them, which is a messy business.  Some dip the whole sponge into the icing before rolling them in the coconut, or some do them the way I do (which my mum does) by using a flat blade knife and spreading the icing on each side while holding onto the small ends between thumb and index finger, before rolling in the coconut.  

Nevertheless they are a sweet mix of soft sponge cake, icing and coconut.  My smallest son, asked me if it was "St Helena Day" as I usually only make these on 21st May, when we celebrate St Helena Day.  When I told him it was a treat to have with a cup of hot chocolate after playing in the snow, he was then asking "how soon could we go outside?"

This recipe is how I make them.....there will be numerous St Helenian ways of making them, but this one works for me.  The ingredients are in ounces time I will convert them!  

Coconut Fingers

Makes 18

6 oz self raising flour
6 oz caster sugar
6 oz margarine or butter
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla flavouring 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder.


8 oz icing sugar
pink or green food colouring
hot water

1 small pack desiccated coconut preferably fine.  (But medium will do)

To Make the Cake:

Preheat the Oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Grease and baseline a 8 inch square baking tin.  (You may need to double the ingredients if you are using a larger tin).

Whisk all the ingredients together in a large bowl until pale and creamy and there are no traces of sugar.  Pour into the prepared tin, and bake on the middle shelf  for approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins.
Remove from the tin and cool completely.

To decorate:

Cut the cake half and then cut each half into strips (9 fingers from each half).

Pour the coconut onto a plate.  Place the icing sugar and a small amount of food colouring in a bowl and add hot water by the tablespoon and stir until the icing is of a thick glossy consistency.  Add more water if it is too thick to spread.

Spread the long sides of a finger of cake with the icing, then roll in the coconut.  Set aside for the icing to dry.  Repeat with the remaining cake.  


Patrick said...

Thanks jean,will let you know when I try it..Patrick

Sheona said...

I am on St Helena island for a year and tried these cakes the other day. They are so nice! I am going to have a go at making them. Thanks for the recipe :) Sheona