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Coconut-muscovado cake with moscato and watermelon

This coconut-muscovado cake is bursting with flavour and the freshness of watermelon.

By Lisa Featherby
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 40 mins cooking plus chilling, setting
  • Serves 8 - 10
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Coconut and muscovado lend a tropical flavour to this cake, which is crowned with coconut panna cotta, moscato jelly and balls of melon, strawberry and watermelon. All the elements here can all be made a day ahead.


  • Watermelon balls, strawberry balls and melon balls, to serve
  • Grated fresh coconut, to garnish
Moscato jelly
  • 95 gm caster sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped and reserved for cake
  • 650 ml moscato
  • 6 titanium-strength gelatine leaves, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes to soften
Watermelon granita
  • 600 gm watermelon
  • 100 ml sugar syrup (see note)
Coconut-muscovado cake
  • 80 gm butter, coarsely chopped, plus extra for greasing
  • 150 gm light muscovado sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean seeds (reserved from jelly)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 160 gm self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 175 ml coconut milk
  • 25 gm desiccated coconut
  • 2 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp Malibu, plus extra for brushing (optional)
Coconut panna cotta
  • 70 gm caster sugar
  • 800 ml coconut cream (preferably Kara brand)
  • 4½ titanium-strength gelatine leaves, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes to soften


  • 1
    For moscato jelly, stir sugar, vanilla bean and 200ml moscato in a saucepan over medium heat until just hot to the touch (5-7 minutes). Squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to pan and stir to dissolve, then add to remaining moscato in a bowl and stir to combine. Strain through a sieve into a container and refrigerate until set (3 hours or overnight). Cut into cubes to serve.
  • 2
    For watermelon granita, process watermelon and sugar syrup in a blender, then strain through a fine sieve. Transfer liquid to a shallow metal tray and freeze, stirring and scraping occasionally with a fork, until crystals form (4-5 hours or overnight). Scrape crystals again before serving.
  • 3
    For coconut-muscovado cake, preheat oven to 180C. Butter and flour a 24cm springform cake tin and line the base with baking paper. Beat butter, muscovado sugar and vanilla seeds in an electric mixer until pale and creamy (3-5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Sift together flour and baking powder, then add alternately with coconut milk, beating to combine. Add desiccated coconut, ginger and Malibu, and beat briefly to just combine. Pour batter into prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven until golden and a skewer inserted withdraws clean (25-35 minutes). Cool briefly in tin (10-15 minutes), then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely (40 minutes to 1 hour). Clean springform tin and line base with baking paper. Trim top of cake flat and return to tin. Brush with Malibu and refrigerate until required.
  • 4
    For coconut panna cotta, stir sugar and 200ml coconut cream in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture is just hot to touch (3-5 minutes). Squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to pan and stir to dissolve. Place remaining coconut cream in a bowl, then add hot mixture, stirring continuously, until combined. Strain through a sieve into another bowl, place over ice and stir occasionally until mixture starts to thicken (20-30 minutes). Spoon onto cake in tin and refrigerate to set (3 hours or overnight).
  • 5
    To serve, run a hot knife around the edge of cake tin, then release and remove side of tin. Transfer cake to a serving platter, top with fruit, cubes of moscato jelly and grated coconut, and serve with watermelon granita.


Sugar syrup is made of equal parts caster sugar and water, unless otherwise specified. Bring the mixture to the boil to dissolve the sugar, remove it from the heat and cool it before use.
Drink Suggestion: Refreshing pink moscato. Drink suggestion by Max Allen