LUCY BURDETTE: My friend Eric (the model for the psychologist character in the Key West mysteries) is famous for his coconut cake.
Below is the one he made for last Easter--how cute is that?
And I've been looking for a recipe for coconut cake for forever, so I begged for his. Of course, never able to quite leave a recipe alone, I did change things up a little from what he sent me. I used less of the cream of coconut and one block of cream cheese in the icing, instead of two. Oh, and unsweetened coconut instead of sweetened. It was delicious, if I say so myself.:) I think I will try this as a sheetcake next time I have to bring something to a party...
Ingredients for the Coconut Cake
1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 and 3/4 cup cake flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 cups sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 and 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool
2-3 oz Coco Lopez from an 8 oz can (save the rest for icing)
1 cup milk
4 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by buttering them well, lining with parchment, and then buttering the parchment too.
Mix all the dry cake ingredients in bowl of electric mixer or stand mixer at slow speed. Add cool cubes of butter, a few at a time, along with the Coco Lopez, and continue beating on low for about 1-2 minutes. Beat the eggs in one at a time, mixing well but minimally after each.
Mix the milk with the extracts.
Add 1/2 cup of milk mixture to flour mixture and beat until combined. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat for about 1 minute.
Pour batter evenly into the two prepared cake pans.
Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and cake springs back when touched, in the neighborhood of 25 minutes. (Watch this because you don't want to overcook...)
Cool the pans for ten minutes, then remove the cakes, one to a plate and the other to waxed paper, and allow them to cool to room temperature.
Ingredients for the coconut icing:
1 8 oz block cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter
Coco Lopez --the rest of the can
1 tsp vanilla
About 1 and 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
6 oz unsweetened flaked coconut
Beat everything together except for the coconut, then taste to see if it's sweet enough for your audience. Ice the top of the first layer, then sprinkle with coconut. Add the second layer, ice the whole cake, sprinkle the coconut all over, patting as needed.
And then watch your people swoon...
And this is what the real Eric looks like when he's all spiffed up, and here he is with Bill, Barclay, and Toby...all characters in the books!
Don't forget: July will be here before we know it, bringing the sixth Key West food critic mystery, FINAL RESERVATIONS. You can pre-order it here.
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