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Coconut Fingers // 1900s

Updated: Dec 13, 2020

These seriously sweet and extremely moreish cake slices appear in the 'Sweets' chapter of The National Training School of Cookery's book of 'High-Class Cookery Recipes' (1909) and are perfect for celebrations as the cook is encouraged to cut the sponge into 'fancy shapes'.
Original Recipe: 'Cocoa-Nut Fingers' (Book 2, 1909)
Speed: 1 hr. 30 mins. | Makes: 24


For the coconut fingers

  • 113g butter (unsalted)

  • 113g caster sugar

  • 113g coconut (desiccated)

  • 3 eggs

  • 56g fine plain flour

  • ½ tsp. baking powder

Transparent Icing

  • 340g sifted icing sugar

  • 3 tbsp. boiling water

To decorate

  • More desiccated coconut, and/or;

  • Coloured sugar



1. Pre-heat oven to 180 °C (356 °F / Gas Mark 4).

2. Grease and paper a flat baking tin.

3. Cream the butter and sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl until fully combined.

4. Add one egg, all of the baking powder, a third of the flour and a third of the coconut and stir until combined. Then add the other eggs one at a time and the rest of the flour and coconut.

5. When well mixed, spread the mixture fairly thinly (about ⅔ of an inch) onto the baking sheet in a rectangle. Bake for 15 minutes.

6. Sprinkle a sheet of baking paper with more desiccated coconut. After removing the cake from the oven, carefully lift this off of the baking tray and place on top of the coconut covered baking paper and leave to cool for about 45 minutes.

7. Once the cake has cooled, cover on both sides with transparent icing.

8. Cut into fingers or shapes using biscuit cutters and decorate with coloured sugar, more coconut or chopped almonds.


Original Recipe for 'Cocoa-nut Fingers'

'BOOK 2': High-Class Cookery Recipes for the National Training School of Cookery, 11th Edition (1909)

Author: Mrs Charles Clarke, Principal of the National Training School of Cookery

Publisher: William Clowes & Sons Limited (23 Cockspur Street, S.W. London, England, U.K.)

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