Lime, Coconut & Cape Gooseberry CakeDo you like cape gooseberries?  I’ve loved them since I was little.  My mother, who had grown up in Tanzania, used to tell me stories about how when she was my age, she would go with the other local children to pick these, which grew wild in abundance.  She told me that cape gooseberry jam was the only jam that her own mother ever made – huge jars of it, over-set and over-sweet, but nevertheless, still jam, and still appreciated by her and her siblings. 

As a kid, I could’ve eaten these by the bucketful – the theatre of peeling back the papery husks to reveal the appealing shiny orange fruit adding to the enjoyment of their tangy flavour.  I still enjoy a bowlful or two, every now and then, but I’ve never cooked with them.  I thought it might work, their slight tartness similar to that of raspberries, which work so well in cakes and desserts.  And so began a cake recipe, inspired by Selma’s Iced Lemon Squares.  I would have just made Selma’s cake, it looked so good, but I’d made a lemon and almond cake a couple of days before, so thought I’d play with the recipe.  Lime instead of the lemon?  Sounds great.  Dessicated coconut instead of ground almonds?  Of course.  And a few cape gooseberries thrown in for good measure?  Why not?

But this is the point where we have to say bye bye, beautiful cake to Selma’s wonderful looking creation.  For a few, shall we say, slight problems, started popping up.  To begin with, I’d already resigned myself to the fact that my pieces of cake were not going to be bars.  It’s not that I don’t have a square cake tin – I do, it just happens to be stored away in the Cavern of Chaos that is our under-stairs cupboard, and I was not in any way, shape or form ready to tackle that.  But that I could deal with, bars another day.  Next?  Well, next I used the wrong flour.  Instead of plain flour, to get that thin cake base, I used self-raising flour.  Ok, that’s alright, surely?  And yes, probably.  Then, mid measuring out ingredients, my trusty digital scales died.  I could have gone out to buy a new battery, of course.  But that would have involved having to face the Niagra Falls-esque rain, and that’s just not something that I do.  So I then had to deal with finding out conversion tables so that I could measure by cups instead, not something I’m familiar with.  That done, I probably could’ve taken a breath or two, and continued following the recipe I had in front of me.  And that’s what I thought I was doing.  Stir together the dry ingredients – check.  Beat in the butter – check.  Whisk the eggs in a small bowl – oops!  I just cracked them straight in to the butter-flour mix.  Add the eggs to the flour mixture and beat until creamy, about 30 seconds to 1 minute – ummm, or, get distracted listening to the radio and keep going for about five minutes?  OK, perhaps not five.  Four?  And then realise, stop in a panic, and knock the mixing bowl over?  And then take that breath that should’ve been taken before I started.  And then realise I forgot to add the lime zest? 

The lime zest got added, I poured the mix into a round silicone cake pan, pushed in the cape gooseberries, and baked for half an hour.  I let it cool.  Time to whip up an icing.  I mixed six tablespoons of sifted icing sugar with three of a wonderful passion fruit vinegar we keep forgetting to use.  The icing looked glossy, and tasted undeniably of passion fruit.  It also tasted undeniably of vinegar.  The icing got thrown away.  I mixed six tablespoons of sifted icing sugar with three of lime juice.  I spread this over the top of the cake, very unevenly (not for want of trying.)  Somewhat disguised this with a sprinkling of coconut and lime zest.  Let it set.  Cut myself a piece…

Pretty glorious!  If I’m going to find something to criticise, I’d say it was probably ever so slightly too sweet for my taste, but still very enjoyable.  The coconut gave a lovely texture and flavour, and the whole thing was delicately flavoured with lime.  Will throw in more lime zest next time as I tend to like big, punchy flavours, but overall, I can’t complain.  Oh, and more cape gooseberries next time, as some of them did a bit of a disappearing act in the oven.  But delicious, and the important thing:  there will definitely be a next time!



125g SR flour

50g dessicated coconut (unsweetened), plus a little extra for sprinkling

150g caster sugar

100g butter (soft)

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. baking powder

A pinch of salt

80g cape gooseberries (I’ll be packing my cake with more next time)

Zest of 2 limes (or three, if you want more of a limey hit), plus a little extra for sprinkling

4 tbsp. lime juice

6 tbsp. of icing sugar




Preheat the oven to 180ºC.  Grease and line your cake tin if not using silicone.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl.  Add the coconut, sugar, and lime zest, and mix together with a fork until well combined.

Cut the butter into cubes, and add to the mixing bowl.  With an electric whisk, beat it in.  Beware!  You need to do this with the whisk on the low setting, otherwise you’ll end up with butter everywhere but in the bowl.  You’ll end up with a lumpy mix, looking a bit like crumble mixture before you’ve finished rubbing the fat in.

Add the eggs and one tablespoon of lime juice.  Whisk in on a medium setting until combined and creamy (about 1-2 minutes, although I accidentally went on for much longer.)

Spoon into the cake tin (it will be quite a thick mixture), then press in the berries.

Bake in the middle of the oven.  Check after about twenty minutes, and put some foil over the top if it looks like it’s browning too quickly.  In total, I baked mine for thirty minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for about ten minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack.

Once the cake is completely cool, you can make the icing.  Sift the icing sugar into a small bowl, then mix in the remaining lime juice.  Spread evenly over the top of the cake, then sprinkle over a little coconut and lime zest.  Let the icing set before cutting the cake.  Then scoff with tea!

Lime, Coconut & Cape Gooseberry Cake

Lime, Coconut & Cape Gooseberry Cake

Lime, Coconut & Cape Gooseberry Cake


  1. Wow – that looks fantastic despite the hiccups! Lime and coconut are a great idea – I too, love those cape gooseberries…brilliant writing – thanks for the laugh xx

    1. Thanks, always good to give a laugh 🙂 Still plan on making yours at some point, I can’t stop thinking about them…

  2. My kind of cake…delicious! Even I’ve been tempted to bake something lemony after seeing Selma’s lovely post 🙂

  3. I love cape gooseberries, I just never thought I could add them to a cake. How lovely and I love lime and coconut too!!!!

    1. I’ll be trying 100-120g of them next time, as they shrink away in the baking process, but they worked really well, despite that!

  4. Looks so delicious! I’ve never had gooseberries – sounds fantastic, though!

    1. Thanks! I’m really in to fruit with tart-sweet flavours so gooseberries, be that these faux gooseberries or the regular green European gooseberries. Delish.

  5. I love gooseberries, I’ve never had them in a cake just fools. The cake looks amazing.

  6. I first had this fruit here in Germany, I think they are also called physalis (?) Sweet and tangy at the same time, they are delicious, and just as you describe, peeling back that lantern-like paper makes them all the more special and memorable. You did make a beautiful cake and a beautiful presentation! I’d love a glorious bite or two too 🙂

    1. That’s them, physalis 🙂 And thanks!

  7. The cake looks great! I love Cape Gooseberries but never baked with them, so thank you for the inspiration. 🙂

    1. Yeah, it was a first for me, but they worked well, except for shrinking a little in the cooking process 🙂

  8. Love this! My other half just bought a gooseberry plant…. I hadn’t a clue what I was going to do with the fruit from it!!

    1. Is it these cape gooseberries or the green ‘real’ gooseberries? I love both, looking forward to gooseberry season once summer turns up!

  9. This looks delcious. Beautiful writing. I’ve never had a gooseberry before, but now I want one. I’ve really been enjoying your posts lately!

    1. I’m a big fan of gooseberries in all guises. Can’t wait for English gooseberry season to begin (got a good couple of months yet…) And thanks! Nice thing to hear, especially coming from a writer such as yourself!

  10. This cake sounds absolutely delicious!

    1. Thanks, Jessica!

  11. Were you in the oven when your gooseberries disappeared?! How do gooseberries disappear in the oven? Or did they meld with the cake perhaps…intrigued.
    Must say, like your choices. And I’ve been wanting to bake something with coconut for ages now. Problem is, where on earth would I find cape gooseberries around here. Would frozen raspberries be a decent sub?

    1. Yeah, I think the raspberries would work really well here! The coconut flavour came through really well and this cake stayed fresh in a tin for as long as it lasted before getting completely scoffed – four days. And re. the cape gooseberries, there’s two possibilities: either they’ve learnt the tricks of the trade from the greatest escape artists, or else they have a high water content which evaporated out in the cooking process. Swaying towards.. The former!

  12. Interesting! Cannot wait to try this. 🙂

  13. I wish I’d seen this the other day! I was ‘forced’ to eat the whole pun net raw … what a treat 🙂

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