25 April 2011

coconut cake

This blog was born of months of dreaming, reading, drooling and cooking. That, and some extra time I found myself with after being laid off from one of my jobs in March. At the time, I didn't foresee being in the same place six weeks later; but here we are.

Applying for jobs is not fun. Distilling all of your life, experiences, gifts and personality into a few key words on one 8.5 x 11" page is not fun. Waiting for weeks that seem like years for hear back from prospective employers is not fun.

Baking cakes is fun. It's a good thing I now have a fantastic excuse to bake a cake on a random Saturday afternoon to get my mind off of the phone call I won't get for several days but occupies every available brainwave.

 The other excuse for this cake was an Easter celebration potluck with my wonderful church. But let's be honest, cake needs no excuse. Especially this one: it's relatively simple, with a rich but not-too-sweet flavor, and a dense crumb. I don't really like cake, actually, but I could eat this one in a single sitting. Thank goodness I didn't.

Coconut Cake
{adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook}
Makes one 9-inch square (or round) cake

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, + more for pans
1 tbsp+ 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup packed sweetened, shredded coconut + more for topping
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature, + more for pans
2 2/3 cups granulated sugar
4 large whole eggs + 4 large egg whites
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (15 oz can) unsweetened coconut milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two pans, either 9 x 9 x 2" square OR 9" round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper (I find it easiest to trace the bottom of the pan with pencil onto the parchment, then cut slightly inside the lines). Butter parchment and dust pans with flour, tapping out excess, then set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Pulse shredded coconut in a food processor or blender until finely chopped. Stir coconut into flour mixture and set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the whole eggs, egg whites and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the coconut milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.

3. Divide batter between prepared pans, and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer pans to a wire rack and cool 30 minutes. Invert cakes onto the rack, peel off parchment, and reinvert cakes to cool completely, top sides up.

4. Using a serrated knife, trim the tops of the cake layers to make level. Place one layer onto a cake plate, and spread with a generous amount of frosting (recipe to follow). Place other layer on top, cut site down. Using an offset spatula, spread remaining frosting (or desired amount) over entire cake, swirling to cover in a decorative fashion. Sprinkle cake with shredded coconut. Cake can be kept in refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days. I dare you to let it last that long.

This batter would also make fantastic cupcakes, if that's more your style. I think it would make many of them. Let me know in the comments if you try this!

Seven-Minute Frosting (well, let's say 12-minute frosting)
{From Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook}
Makes 8 cups

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup (Karo)
6 large egg whites
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine sugar, corn syrup, 1/4 cup water, and the egg whites. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 2 minutes. (Mine suffered mortal injuries from a deadly kitchen drawer accident so I guessed; I removed the mixture when the sugar was dissolved and the mixture began to steam quite a bit and was hot to the touch but not boiling.)

2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the mixture on high speed until glossy and voluminous, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Use immediately.  

This whole recipe is certainly possible with a hand mixer instead of a stand mixer if you aren't blessed with the Rolls-Royce of kitchen appliances. Just follow directions as you would normally, making sure to use a metal bowl for the frosting. 

1 comment:

The Ousted Princess said...

Yum! I just love coconut and this looks delicious!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...