Monday, March 2, 2015

Coconut Cake

I think that with yesterday's snow, this cake fits right in with the weather. The shredded coconut looks like snow, right?

I'm really picky when it comes to coconut cake. I once had a coconut cupcake (from a shop that actually won an episode of Cupcake Wars) that ended up being a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting. The only coconut component was the shredded coconut embedded into the frosting. It was terrible. I mean, it was edible and tasted fine but it was not a coconut cake. I like my coconut cake to be coconutty enough to be recognizable as coconut-flavored, light and fluffy to qualify as really good cake, and just sweet enough be dessert and not bread.

The first recipe I ever posted was a coconut cake. If that doesn't prove how much I love coconut cake, I don't know what does. I've since altered that recipe, ever so slightly. I reduced the amount of sugar and switched over to cake flour to make sure the cake meets the criteria I listed above.
Ingredients [yields 2 x 8" layers or 4 x 4" layers]:
3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temp (2 sticks)
½ cup sugar
16 oz. can cream of coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs, separated
1 cup buttermilk
+ 1 cup coconut flakes (optional)
+ 1 cup coconut custard (I use the custard I use for my coconut pie)
+ 2 cups whipped cream
+ ½ cup shredded coconut

Start by sifting together all of the dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate, large bowl, add the butter, sugar, and cream of coconut and cream together until fluffy.
Add in the egg yolks (reserve the egg whites) and pour in the vanilla extract and whip together.
Add about a third of the flour mixture and whip just until incorporated. Pour in about half of the buttermilk and again, whip just until incorporated. Keep alternating the ingredients until everything is added in.
This right here would make a great batter already. Actually, it would probably also make a delicious pancake. But, we're going to take it just one step further.
Grab the reserved egg whites and whip to stiff peaks.
Add a generous scoop of egg whites to the batter and messily fold in, just to lighten the batter a bit. Then, dump in the rest of the egg whites and carefully fold them in, doing your best not to deflate too much air. At this point, you can also fold in some coconut flakes, if you want.
Pour the batter into greased pans - I used these cute mini springform pans - and bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. By the way, this quantity of batter is great for either a two or three layer cake with 8" rounds. Or, if you're feeling cheeky and want to go for all mini cakes (like moi) it will fill 8 mini 4" rounds.
Let the cakes cool.
I sliced open the cakes so I could fill them and ice them. I love this shot because you can see all of the lovely air bubbles and the light, moist crumb.
Spread a layer of coconut custard on the first layer, stack the second layer, and then frost the cake with whipped cream. I think whipped cream is an appropriate frosting because coconut cake is sweet and decadent so a heavy frosting is overkill.
After the cake has been coated in whipped cream, coat the cake in shredded coconut.
I love these mini cakes. They make for a really adorable presentation and a perfect personal-sized cake. Actually, it's a little decadent for just one. I'd recommend sharing with someone, unless you're feeling really gluttonous.
The cake is moist and airy and it tastes like coconut; all of my stringent coconut cake standards are 100% met. It's also really pretty and goes lovely with a cuppa.
Here's the recipe page:

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