Sunday, February 21, 2010

Coconut Cake

Dear Megs,

My mom's birthday is this week! We had dinner over there on Alex's parents' last night here (they visited for a week) and I decided to turn it into a little b-day celebration for my mom, even though she cooked dinner.

The cake I made her may have the most gorgeous texture of any cake I have ever tasted. Moist and soft, velvety. Lovely. The cake is not overwhelmingly coconutty, despite its name. I've seen it with pastry cream between the layers, and was going to make lemon curd to fill it with, but got lazy and used a lemon cake syrup instead. Next time, though, I'll really drench the layers with it instead of brushing it on with a pastry brush before icing: it was too subtle. This is another recipe from the ever-wonderful Cotton Country Collection, modified slightly by me.

Coconut Cake

1 c butter
2 c sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 t vanilla
1/2 t almond extract
2 2/3 c cake flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 c coconut milk
1/2 c cream

Preheat oven to 350. Cream the shit out of the butter and sugar - this means it should be ALMOST WHITE when you start adding egg yolks one at a time. Add the vanilla and almond. Sift cake flour, measure, and sift again with other dry ingredients. Beat into butter mixture, alternating with the milk/coco milk. Beat egg whites stiff and fold into batter. Bake in 3 greased 9 inch layer pans for 30 minutes. Cool on racks, remove from pans when nearly cool.

Lemon syrup:
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c water
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
1 t vanilla

Boil sugar, water, and lemon juice until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in zest and vanilla. Brush cake layers with cooled or slightly warm syrup.

2 egg whites
1 1/2 c sugar
5 T cold water
pinch cream of tartar
1 1/2 t white Karo
1 t vanilla
grated unsweetened coconut

Combine all ingredients except for the vanilla and coconut in the top of a double boiler (or in a stainless mixing bowl, if you're me). Blend, then set onto the bottom of the double boiler (or saucepan, if you're me) in which water is already boiling. Beat mixture vigorously for 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Assemble cake, icing between layers. Icing will get progressively gooier. Ice the outside of cake and sprinkle with coconut. You *can* use sweetened coco flakes if you want, but these boiled icings are very sweet already, and the unsweetened adds a rich earthy flavor that manufacturers have somehow managed to pound out of sweetened coconut.

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