Any suggestions for the Tropical Chocolate Cake if I don't have coconut essence?
Nigella's Tropical Chocolate Cake (from FEAST) is a chocolate cake that includes canned pineapple in the cake batter and coconut in the frosting. The cake also includes some coconut flavoured rum. If you can use coconut flavoured rum in the frosting then we would suggest using 2 teaspoons of this instead of the coconut essence (or coconut extract).
if you can't use rum then we would suggest adding 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the frosting instead. The vanilla will help to prevent the frosting from tasting too bland or flat. Don't add too much vanilla as natural vanilla extract is brown in colour and too much will start to tint the white frosting. Vanilla essence is usually colourless but it is manufactured, rather than being a natural extract, and we prefer the taste of vanilla extract. Also note that the frosting is similar to a 7-minute frosting and so the cake is at its best within 2 hours of frosting. Leftovers should be refrigerated and eaten within 24 hours. The frosting also contains lightly cooked eggs, so may not be suitable for those with a compromised immune system.