Winner '13: Vaarsha Baugeveat

BUTTER ME UP! sponsored by Connacht Gold

BUTTER ME UP! sponsored by Connacht Gold
  • 4 x lemongrass stalks, base and tops trimmed, outer leaves removed but kept for syrup
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g butter, softened
  • 125g desiccated coconut
  • 125g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder

For the syrup:
Trimmings and outer leaves of lemongrass
75g caster sugar

To serve:
Greek yoghurt or fresh cream

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas mark 3. Butter the sides of the cake tin and dust with flour, then line the base with a disc of baking parchment.
  2. Slice the lemongrass stalks quite thinly into rounds about 3mm thick, then place in a food processor with the caster sugar and whiz for 1-2 minutes or until the lemongrass is finely purèed and very aromatic.
  3. Add the eggs, butter and coconut and whiz again until combined, then sift the flour and baking powder together and add to the machine, whizzing very briefly just until the ingredients come together.
  4. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. While the cake is cooking, make the syrup.
  5. Roughly chop the lemongrass trimmings, place in a saucepan with the sugar and 75ml (3fl oz) of water and set over a high heat. Stir the mixture until the sugar is dissolved, then bring to the boil and boil for 2 minutes before removing from the heat and leaving to infuse.
  6. When the cake has finished baking, take it out of the oven and let it sit in the tin for 10 minutes. Loosen around the edges using a small, sharp knife and carefully remove the cake from the tin before transferring to a serving plate.
  7. Reheat the syrup, then pierce holes all over the cake with a skewer and pour the hot syrup through a sieve onto the cake, moving the pan and sieve around as you pour so that the syrup covers the top of the cake. Allow the cake to cool down completely.
  8. Serve with a dollop of natural Greek yoghurt or fresh cream.

Vaarsha Baugeveat

"This is one of my favourite recipes. My family and friends always ask me to bake this over and over again. It's one of those lovely bung-it-all-in-a-food-processor recipes and is just fabulous! The smell of the lemongrass as it blends into the sugar is incredible, and I have to say that the unbaked mix nearly didn't make it into the tin as it was so delicious. It's plain and elegant and the syrup brings it to a whole new level."

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