Requires: 9-inch round cake pan, stand mixer (or hand beater) and whisk
Preheat oven to 180°C conventional oven (356° Fahrenheit/Gas 4). Grease a 9-inch round cake pan by lightly buttering the base and sides with margarine or butter. Line the base with baking paper. Add a tablespoon of plain flour into the cake pan, then turn and shake the tin to coat the sides of the cake pan butter in flour. This prevents the cake from sticking to the cake pan.
Tip: A light coloured aluminium metal baking pan creates the best result.
To make the Italian sponge cake, separate the egg yolks from the white. Use a stand mixer (or hand beater) to beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. With the mixer running, add the egg yolks, one at a time, then add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the cornflour, one tablespoon at a time. You’ll want to see air bubbles rise to the surface of the cake mixture before adding additional tablespoons of cornflour. Stir in the sifted baking powder and lastly add the lemon zest. Stir until well combined.
Pour the cake mixture into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 30 mins or until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the cake pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile, to prepare the Crema Chantilly, refrigerate a stainless-steel bowl and the beaters for 10 minutes. Remove the bowl from the fridge. Place the thickened cream into the cool bowl. Add the icing sugar and vanilla bean seeds (or vanilla bean paste). Use an electric mixer or hand beater to beat until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate cream until ready to use.
To make the chocolate icing, place the icing (confectioners’) sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder and water into a bowl. Whisk until well combined. Spread the Desiccated coconut over a tray (large enough to fit the cake).
Coat the sides and top of the sponge cake with icing, then roll in coconut. Press shredded coconut until the top and sides of the cake are completely coated. Transfer cake to a serving plate. Refrigerate for 10 minutes for the icing to set slightly.
To decorate, remove the cake from fridge. Use a large knife (ideally serrated) to cut the sponge cake in half horizontally. Set aside the top of the cake. Spread the bottom half of the cake with jam. Spoon the Chantilly cream into a piping bag fitted with a fluted nozzle of your choosing. Pipe cream over the jam layer. Top with the remaining cake layer. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving – buon appetito!