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Lovers’ Cake

Lorraine Graves   Feb-13-2019

Dr. James Hoyland's cake.

Photo by Chung Chow

This hot milk sponge cake is a dairy-free take on an old classic.

It makes a moist light sponge.



The simple jam and coconut topping makes this a cozy, comforting cake, ideal for your loved one!


3 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp ground dried ginger (add more or less to taste)

2/3 cup coconut milk (full fat!)

2 tbsp coconut oil (butter or vegetable oil will also do)

Jam—If you make your own jam, great. But any nice quality jam would do. Since this is a Valentine’s cake, something red is probably a good idea.

Shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 325F.

Grease an 8” x 8” (20 cm x 20 cm) square baking dish or cake tin.

It’s worth cutting a square of oiled or buttered paper out and putting it in the bottom of the dish—this makes it easier to remove the cake when done.

Beat the eggs—no really beat them! Ideally use a stand mixer with whisk attachment and set it to high but you can also use electric hand beaters or whisk by hand. Whichever way you want to beat until they get thick and foamy. They will also start to go a little paler in colour but this can be hard to see.

Next add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until they are totally incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and ginger.

Put the oil and coconut milk in a small pan and bring to a boil. Let it boil vigorously for a couple of minutes. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Then take it off the stove and let it cool only slightly.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet. Warning: this is the trickiest bit. You want to mix well without knocking all the air out of your eggs. I find using a rubber spatula and just continually scraping down to turn the stuff in the bottom of the bowl to the top works well. You should get a smooth, thick batter.

Now add the hot milk mix. Add a little at a time otherwise the eggs might start to scramble—not good. Once you’ve got a smooth creamy batter pour it all into your cake tin and stick it in the over for 30-35 minutes.

When done it should be golden on top with the edges just starting to brown. A skewer into the centre should come out clean. Leave it in for a couple more minutes if necessary.

When done let the cake cool almost to room temperature in the pan.

Carefully take the cake out of the pan and flip it upside down on a cutting board, so you can spread you ram on the flat top (formerly the bottom). Sprinkle shredded coconut on top.

For maximum valentines bonus points—before you sprinkle, cut out a heart shape from paper and lay it on the jam covered cake. Then sprinkle and carefully remove the paper leaving a red heart.

This cake does well made in advance. I find the flavour intensifies a bit overnight.

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