Thursday, March 24, 2016

Coconut Cake

Clue Years Eve 2016

I’m going to humble brag here for a minute, so bear with. I have some truly wonderful amigos, amigos. For many years, some of us have spent New Years Eve together. It’s been a wonderful way to catch up, make ridiculous amounts of delicious food and drink, hang out, and make some great resolutions. What used to be my least favorite holiday became my favorite holiday and a great reunion of great people and kids. This year, we did something I recommend you all do at some point: a live action Clue game, in costume, with themed dishes. It was highly amusing, and highly delicious. I was assigned the role of Mrs. White and a dessert dish, and immediately realized this would be an excellent excuse to attempt to make the coconut cake that had been haunting me from the cover of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake on my bookshelf for months.

I should note that I am NOT what one would call a confident or excited cake baker. If you peruse my recipes, you could probably conclude that I’m more of one-pot artist; I like throwing things into one pot, pan or bowl, and then I like to eat them. No fuss, no frills, just tasty deliciousness asap. I can bake the cake and make the frosting...but putting those two together in any sort of attractive form? HA. That’s a cute idea. To say that I had a crisis of confidence would be apt, but said truly wonderful amigas (Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, and Mrs. Scarlet) are all much more confident cake bakers and walked me through the terrifying process of frosting a cake. They even introduced me to the concept of a crumb coat. IT WORKS. YOU GUYS. I’m a changed woman, to the point that I’m planning on making a double decker carrot cake this weekend for Easter. Because I can! Incidentally, if you’re looking for a cake you can easily decorate like a bunny for Easter, which coincidentally also tastes great, this is probably the cake for you, amigos. It serves a crowd, and tastes great the next morning. Breakfast of champions!

Mrs. White's Coconut Cake for Clue Years Eve

Mrs. White's Coconut Cake

(Lightly adapted from The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, by Amy Reichert)
Serves 10-20, depending on the size and appetite of the consumer


5 large egg whites
¾ c cream of coconut
¼ c well mixed coconut milk
1 large egg
1 tsp coconut extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 ¼ c cake flour
1 c sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
12 Tbsp unsalted butter in pieces
½ c unsweetened flaked coconut *(optional)

2 Tbsp coconut milk
1 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
16 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
¼ c cream of coconut
3 c powdered sugar
1/2 c toasted flaked coconut *(optional)
1 c unsweetened flaked coconut

1. Pour yourself a drink.  You’ll be here a while (but have hope and heart - if I, cake idiot, could successfully make and frost this double decker delight, you can too).
2. Preheat oven to 325.
3. Rub butter on two 8-9 inch springform pans, and then line the bottoms with a measure piece of parchment.  This will make getting the cakes out super easy and clean, so don’t skip this step!
4.  Mix wet ingredients (egg whites, cream of coconut, coconut milk, whole egg, and extracts) until well combined.
5.  In another bowl, mix together dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, coconut flakes, and salt).
6. Beat the butter into the dry mix in pieces until the mixture is a bit sandy and coarse.
7.  Add half the egg mixture and mix until mixed and a little fluffy; add the remaining wet mix until all is combined well.
8.  Pour the mix into your two prepared cake pans and bake 30-35 minutes; the cake will be done when golden brown, springy to the touch, and a skewer comes out clean.  Let cool for a few minutes, then flip them onto a cooling rack and peel off the parchment paper to let continue cooling for a while, until fully cooled.
9.  Start in on the frosting now!  This is probably also a good time to toast coconut if you’re going that route.  
10.  Mix coconut milk, extracts, and salt.
11. Beat butter and cream of coconut until smooth.
12.  Slowly add in the powdered sugar, beating until smooth, then add in the wet mixture and beat until the frosting is very light and fluffy.
13.  Put a small dollop of frosting on a cake stand or plate; this will be your glue for your cake.
14.  Place one layer of cake on top of this, then spread a large dollop of frosting on the top layer.  When evenly spread, sprinkle liberally with toasted coconut.
15.  Carefully place the second layer of cake on top of the frosted base layer.  Give it a gentle but firm smoosh down to lock it into place.  
16.  AND NOW WE CRUMB COAT!  Do a layer of frosting alllllll over the cake. It doesn’t need to be super tidy, and yes, there will be crumbs that mix in.  It shouldn’t be terribly thin, but don’t use all of your frosting up on this; save a healthy dollop for your final pretty layer.  Once it is all smoothed out, place the cake in a cool place for 30+ minutes to set and let the frosting firm up.  
17.  And now, we do the pretty top coat of frosting!  Slather that all over there as smoothly and tidily as you can, but rest easy - this is a cake for bad frosters, because now, friend, now that you have finished frosting, you can cover all manner of sins with your remaining coconut (I did untoasted for the exterior but toasted works great too), all over the sides and top.  It covers all those little mistakes, and tastes great!
18.  Pour yourself another drink and give yourself a high five; you just made a very fancy looking and great tasting cake.  Now eat it. Eat. And then eat some more.  

2015: Coconut Cake 

2016: Coconut Cake

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