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Coconut cake recipe: a perfect gluten free semifreddo

22 April 2017
Coconut cake recipe, gluten free

A Coconut cake recipe …in my opinion, the one that better brings out the qualities of this fruit and its creamy notes: a perfect gluten free semifreddo.

April is almost over, flip flops are still in their storage cabinet and people get out wearing their coat and then come back home with a sweating forehead…but the desire to smell the scent of sunscreen, of iodine, of lime and barbecue is strong. So, what should I do? Wait for the first dinner in the garden to experience all this? Maybe not, considering I haven’t a clue when the garden will be ready: at the moment it’s nothing short of a lunar landscape.

So I start fishing inside a book that deals precisely about this matter: “Cooking with Coconut”, and I literally throw myself on the sofa looking for inspiration.

When I turn page 10 I feel almost as happy as the day I got my wisdom tooth removed: really tall, green palm trees, crystal-clear waters, and then more palm trees, blue skies and white beaches. I involuntarily look down at my slippers, German-looking and, on top of that, in boiled wool, and a fierce thought crosses my mind: “your days are counted, I mean it”.

“Lucia, don’t get nervous or your cortisol levels will rise and then you’ll feel like eating the fridge”.

So be it.

I reduce this torture by skilfully skipping over all chapters dedicated to breakfasts, salads and main courses, and going straight to the dessert section; not that this will make my life any easier, since I’ve been on a diet for the past two months with very modest results.

I found it!

I give a quick glance to the list of ingredients and I realise I have everything I need: I am almost happy. It’s the recipe of a gluten free coconut cake, fairly quick. The mix of ingredients in the recipe enhances the naturally sweet flavour of milk and fruit typical of coconut.

I decide that a slice can only be good for me. I remember the tempered chocolate buttons I made a few days ago, perfect for an elegant presentation of this dessert.

Now I am happy.

Coconut cake recipe - gluten free

for the Coconut cake recipe, gluten free semifreddo

1. When making the bottom of the semifreddo, follow the recipe, i.e. layer the sliced almonds first and then the shredded coconut. I got distracted and did it the other way around.

2. The semifreddo can be made days ahead and stored in the freezer, well wrapped in cling film. You can decorate it before serving.

3. Before whipping the coconut milk custard, ensure it is cold: you should obtain a consistency similar to half-whipped cream.


8- by 4 -inch loaf pan
plastic wrap
2 big saucepans
2 big bowls
1 small bowl
handheld mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment
whisk  and spatula

 Coconut cake: the perfect semifreddo


50 g sliced almonds
40 g dried sweetened shredded coconut
20 g water
10 g cornstarch
380 g coconut milk (about a can)
200 +50 g sugar
1 stalk fresh lemongrass, sliced in half and bruised well
2 egg yolks
200 ml heavy cream
100 g mixed raspberries and blackberries

Line the loaf pan with 2 large pieces of overlapping plastic wrap and let them hang over the long sides of the pan. Layer the almonds and the coconut on the bottom.

Whisk together the water and the cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.

Combine the coconut milk, 200 g of sugar, lemongrass and the lemon zest in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low simmer, stirring often, until all the sugar melts, 4 minutes. Cover the pan and remove from the heat. Set aside for about 1 hour so the lemongrass stalk can steep and release its flavor.

Put the saucepan back over medium heat and bring just to a simmer. Strain the mixture into another pan or a heatproof pitcher.

Whisk the egg yolks together in a wide deep bowl. Slowly add the coconut milk mixture in a thin, slow stream, whisking constantly to incorporate fully. Return the mixture to the saucepan over low heat. Add the cornstarch mixture and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Put the custard into a large bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. With a handheld or stand mixer, whip at medium-high speed until the custard is thickened, 4 to 5 minutes.

Pour the heavy cream into another large bowl and whip with a handheld mixer until stiff peaks form, 1 or 2 minutes. Fold it gently into the custard.

Spoon the custard cream into the prepared loaf pan and smooth. Tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles. Fold the plastic wrap over the top of the custard and freeze until firm, about 6 hours or up to overnight. As long as it’s well wrapped, you can leave the semifreddo in the freezer for up to 3 days before unmolding.

Gently mix together the berries and the remaining 50 g of sugar in a medium bowl.

Unwrap the semifreddo and place a platter over the loaf pan. Turn the loaf pan over the platter and unmold the semifreddo. Gently pull away the plastic wrap. Some of the almonds and coconut may pull away with the wrap: just press them gently back into the place.

Arrange the berries on top of the semifreddo and slice to serve.

Coconut cake recipe, gluten free


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