Bien me sabe de coco

A Venezuelan recipe, Bien me sabe de coco (bine may sah-bay day koh-koh), a light sponge cake with a coconut topping, may be served as a dessert for a lunch or dinner party or for a special tea. | tablespoon butter

4 egg whites

3½ oz. granulated sugar

4 egg yolks

4 tablespoons sweet white wine

4 oz. flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

8 fl. oz. coconut milk made with

1-inch slice of coconut cream dissolved in

8 fl. oz. water or

4 oz. desiccated coconut soaked in

8 fl. oz. water

3 oz. castor sugar

3 egg yolks

7 fl. oz. sweet white wine

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C). Grease the inside of a shallow, 9-inch, round sandwich tin with the butter.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a wire whisk, or rotary beater, until they form soft peaks. Beating continuously, gradually add the gran-ulated sugar. Continue beating until the egg whites are stiff.

In another bowl, beat the egg yolks and the wine together with a wire whisk, or rotary beater, until the yolks have become thick and pale.

Pour the egg-yolk mixture over the beaten egg whites and, with a metal spoon, lightly cut and fold the egg yolks into the beaten whites. When the egg yolks have been thoroughly incorporated, sift the flour and baking powder on top of the mixture and continue to fold until all the flour and baking powder have been incorporated. This step should be done quickly and lightly or the cake will be heavy.

Pour the cake batter into the cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake. Remove the cake from the oven and turn it out on to a cake rack to cool.

Put 5 fluid ounces of coconut milk and the sugar into a medium-sized saucepan and, over moderate heat, cook, stirring continuously, until the syrup reaches a temperature of 230°F on a sugar thermometer, or a small amount dropped into iced water hardens immediately into a thread. Remove the pan from the heat.

In a large bowl, beat the 3 egg yolks with a wire whisk, or rotary beater, until they are thick and pale. Beating con tinuously, add the remaining coconut milk and 3 teaspoons of the hot coconut milk syrup.

Very gradually, add the diluted egg-yolk mixture to the pan of coconut milk syrup, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Still stirring, cook over very low heat for 15 minutes or until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.

Do not let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble.

Pour the wine into a bowl and stir in the cinnamon. Place the cooled cake on a serving plate and pour the cinnamon and wine mixture evenly over it. When the cake has absorbed the wine, cover it with the coconut cream. Chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving.

If liked the cake base may be made the day before and stored in an airtight tin.

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