Friday, June 14, 2024


Although I do love all seasons, this warmer part of the year is my favourite, I have to admit. Abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, abundance of sunshine, early mornings and late sunsets really make me fall in love with it every year.
While fresh strawberries are in season, I indulge in them in any way I can; smoothies, cakes, cookies, breads, and just as they are, sweet as honey. And as someone who loves the strawberries and coconut combination, I find this cake just delightful; incredibly rich in taste and texture, yet very light, as it is a fruit cake, after all.
Such a wonderful pairing of the sweetness of coconut and natural tanginess of the strawberries, enhanced by a touch of lemon juice. Just perfect for summer gatherings.
On a final note, a few of my tips for success. If you want the outside of the cake to be picture-perfect, you can use a cake ring to trim the outer, crispy edges of the crêpes, but I do not mind the imperfections, so I left them as they were.
I like to divide the filling by weight, so there is enough for each layer, and I do it with a digital scale, but it is absolutely fine if you wish to simply estimate, it will certainly go much quicker. The only thing I do have to point out is that if you also get 14 crêpes, like I did, you need to divide the filling into 13 parts. If you get fewer crêpes, divide the filling into fewer parts, so there is enough for all of them.

For the vanilla crêpes
300 grams plain flour
650 millilitres carbonated water
10 grams baking powder
20 grams light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
For the strawberry coconut filling
400 grams fresh strawberries, hulled
50 millilitres fresh lemon juice
50 grams cornflour
120 grams light brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste
50 grams vegan block butter, diced
100 grams desiccated coconut
500 millilitres plant-based double cream

Start by making the strawberry cream filling, as it needs to cool down completely. Place the fresh strawberries into a blender, along with the lemon juice, cornflour, and sugar, and let it run until a completely smooth batter forms. Pour it into a heavy saucepan or a pot, and place it over medium high heat. Let it slowly heat up, and once it starts to simmer, whisk vigorously for a minute or two, until it thickens up and starts to resemble fruit custard.
Remove from the heat, add in the vanilla and the vegan block butter, and stir until it all melts and blends together. At this point you can use an immersion blender, if you wish. Once everything is ready and smooth, cover the top with some cling film or a piece of baking parchment, and let it cool down to room temperature.
To make the crêpes, take a large bowl, and add in the carbonated water, sugar, and the vanilla, and mix well so everything starts to dissolve. Sift in the flour and the baking powder, and whisk to form a thick batter. The batter will be quite runny, and that is fine, that will help it spread in the pan.
Take a large crêpe pan, 20-22 cm in diameter, and lightly oil it or spray it with a cooking spray just once. Place the pan over medium high heat, and let it heat up. Once ready, take a small ladle (about 80 millilitres), and pour it onto the centre of the heated pan, quickly swirling it around so the batter covers the whole surface. This will make sure the crêpes are thin, which is what is needed for the cake.
Cook each one on medium high heat until the surface looks set, flip it over gently, and cook for 15-20 seconds more. Repeat with the rest of the batter, until all of it is used up. You should have 13 or 14 super thin crêpes. Set them aside to cool down completely.
Once the filling and the crêpes are cool, proceed to assemble the cake.
Take a large bowl and pour in the chilled plant double cream. Using a hand mixer on high, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Without changing the beaters, whip the cooled fruit custard on high, for at least a minute, so it becomes smooth and spreadable. Add in the desiccated coconut, and blend really well. Add the filling to the bowl with the cream, and fold everything through until almost completely blended.
Finally, use the hand mixer on the highest speed for barely 5 seconds, to firm it up additionally. Reserve about one-fifth of the filling to use as frosting for the cake, and divide the remaining filling into 13 equal parts. This is best done by weight, as there are many layers, and it is preferable they are all evenly stacked.
Place the first crepe on a serving platter, top it with a portion of the filling, spread it all the way out to the edges, top with another crêpe, then filling, and continue stacking until all of the crêpes are used up. Frost the entire cake with the reserved filling and place it into the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Serve with fresh seasonal fruit and strong coffee. Yields 16 rich servings.