Molasses and coconut rum cake with vanilla and coconut icing

Dan Lepard's sticky, boozy coconut rum cake.
Dan Lepard's sticky, boozy coconut rum cake. Photo: William Meppem

A generous glug of dark rum turns the texture of this dark coconut cake extra moist and sticky, perfect to eat on its own without icing. But if you want to glam it up, ultra-white vanilla icing will make it dazzle on your table for friends.


100g molasses or black treacle

100g dark brown sugar

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground cinnamon

100g unsalted butter

50g coconut milk

2 eggs, 60g each

2 tsp vanilla extract

100g desiccated coconut

150g strong bread flour

2 tsp baking powder

dark rum to finish

Vanilla bean and coconut icing (optional)

150g icing sugar

coconut milk to make it spoonable (about 1 to 2 tbsp)

½ tsp vanilla bean paste

sweetened coconut flakes, to decorate


1. Line the base and sides of a medium loaf tin with non-stick baking paper and heat the oven to 180C (160C fan-forced).

2. Put the molasses in a saucepan with the sugar, ginger and cinnamon and warm until any lumps in the sugar soften and the mixture is smooth, but not boiling. Pour this into a mixing bowl, add the butter and stir until it melts.

3. Beat in the coconut milk followed by the eggs and vanilla, then stir in the coconut. Sift together the flour and baking powder then stir these through.

4. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for about 50 minutes, or until firm in the middle. Remove from the oven and leave to cool  then generously slosh some rum over the top and leave it to soak in.

5. While the cake cools, put the icing sugar in a small bowl and stir in enough coconut milk, a little at a time, to make a smooth, thick icing. Beat in the vanilla paste. When the cake is cold, spread on the icing, sprinkle with coconut flakes and leave to set before slicing.