Gooseberry and coconut cake

July 5, 2017
Gooseberry and coconut cake

This simple gooseberry and coconut cake is perfect for a lovely summer teatime treat. The gooseberries add a moist sweetness to every bite.

Gooseberries are a very British fruit. These delicious tangy berries thrive in a cool temperate climate like ours. Gooseberries have a short season, from May until August but they peak in July. Now is the time to make the most of them. I have a list of other food that is in season in July if you want to check.

Gooseberries were at their most popular in the 19th century. Many different varieties were grown and the bushes were spread all over the country. These days gooseberries are less popular. The tangy green fruit has to compete with other glorious summer fruits. A bowl of strawberries and cream has more appeal than a bowl of poached gooseberries.  it could be in part to the way gooseberries are shown in common idioms. After all who likes playing the gooseberry?

When to pick gooseberries

Gooseberries are ready for picking in July. The good news is that you can pick gooseberries before they are ripe. If you want to make jam they will work better when they are slightly bitter. Some gooseberries change colour when they are ripe. They can be red, yellow, white, green or pink depending on the variety. The best way to tell if a gooseberry is ripe is to squeeze it gently. When ripe they have a little give. Remember to wear gloves when picking gooseberries. They have sharp thorns which can give you a nasty scratch.

Preparing Gooseberries

Did you know there are two different types of gooseberries? There is the green tart cooking variety which is often found in crumbles. There is also a sweet dessert gooseberry which can be eaten raw. Early in the season the gooseberry is bright green and some varities have sparse thin hair. Later in the season you will find the sweeter varieties which are often red or yellow.


While gooseberries are a little harder to prepare that other summer fruits, they are definitely worth the effort. Before using the gooseberries in cooking they need to be topped and tailed. This refers to the removal of the  stalk and the little bit of fluff at each end of the gooseberry.

Having to do this is a little fiddly but the effort is worth it as the dishes you can make with gooseberries are delicious. Nothing is nicer than a gooseberry crumble fresh from the oven or a creamy gooseberry fool for dessert. Gooseberry and elderflower sorbet is really refreshing on a hot day and a great thirst quencher.

Gooseberry and coconut cake

I have one gooseberry bush in my garden and every year I get more and more gooseberries from it. One day I hope to have enough to make gooseberry jam. This year I had a bumper crop, 350g of gooseberries. This was enough to make a cake.

I thought I would make a gooseberry and coconut cake as I had two nearly empty packets of dessicated coconut in my cupboard. These were taking up space and I thought the moist coconut would work well with the tart gooseberries.  A sprinkle of the last of a packet of flaked almonds was the perfect finishing touch for the cake and it made a wonderful teatime treat.

Gooseberry and coconut cake

The gooseberries add a lovely tart sweet taste to the cake which complements the coconut in a wonderful way. It is really easy to make the cake.

The only time consuming part is preparing the gooseberries. Once these have been topped and tailed it is just a question of whisking all the ingredients together and baking. A wonderful aroma fill the house whilst the cake bakes. Once it comes out of the oven it is difficult to wait until the cake is cool.

Gooseberry and Coconut Cake Recipe

Gooseberry and coconut cake

Gooseberry and coconut cake

Alison Maclean
A delicious and moist fruit cake made with succulent gooseberries and sweet coconut for the taste of Spring
4.8 from 5 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Servings 8


  • 125 g 4½oz butter
  • 125 g 4½oz caster sugar,
  • 3 large eggs
  • 75 g 2¾oz plain flour
  • 75 g 2¾oz dessicated coconut
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • 350 g 12oz gooseberries
  • 5 tbsp caster sugar
  • 35 g 1¼oz flaked almonds
  • icing sugar for dusting


  • Top and tail the gooseberries and mix with the 5 tbsp sugar.
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C, 375°F, gas mark 5
  • Grease an 8″ cake tinCream together the butter and sugar until fluffy
  • Add the eggs and mix until smooth
  • Mix in the flour, baking powder and dessicated coconut
  • Spoon the mixture into the cake tinTop with the gooseberry and sugar mixture
  • Bake for twenty minutes
  • Sprinkle over the flaked almonds and bake for ten minutes
  • Leave to cool
  • Remove from tin and sprinkle with icing sugar


A delicious sponge cake with the tartness of gooseberries and the sweetness of coconut making a fabulous tea time treat
Keyword cake

Why not pin the recipe to make later?

Gooseberry and coconut cake

What are your favourite gooseberry recipes? Let me know below.

14 responses to “Gooseberry and coconut cake”

  1. This cake looks fantastic!You know, I don’t use goosberries at all.. not a common fruit in italy so never grew up with the flavour.. but I should make an effort 🙂

  2. Esme says:

    Made this cake this afternoon….took a lot longer to bake (about 1hour 15mins) and I wasn’t really sure how the sugar and gooseberries were supposed to mix, it ended up more like a layer of gooseberries with a layer of sugar on top? I added the almond flakes as suggested, but I don’t think they are essential…cake would work just as well without. Have to say the end result was delicious…would definitely make again

  3. 5 stars
    Oh my I want to try this cake I love the idea of coconut with gooseberries. Luckily I have some gooseberries left

  4. Choclette says:

    5 stars
    Gooseberries and coconut sounds like a lovely combination – not one I’ve tried. I love gooseberries and I’m crossing fingers we’ll get a decent crop next year.

  5. 5 stars
    What a lovely combination of flavours ~ certainly one to try

  6. Debbie Skerten says:

    5 stars
    Looks lovely. Goosberries are my husband’s favourite. I’ll have to bake this for him. Thanks for the recipe.

  7. cheryl feldon says:

    4 stars
    Fabulous cake. It did take an hour to cook though.
    Deliciously moist…Gooseberry sharp and nutty

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