Showing posts with label coconut cake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coconut cake. Show all posts

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Eric's Coconut Cake (Almost) @LucyBurdette

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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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Still Crazy for Coconut Cake

To tell the truth, my coconut cake saga began many years ago. When I ask my mother what kind of cake she would like, she always says, "something easy." On one memorable Mother's Day, I asked the standard question, but instead of the standard answer, she pointed to a coconut cake recipe in a fancy magazine. It was gorgeous. White and lofty, with swirling peaks, I could understand why she was attracted to it. No problem. The recipe seemed fairly straight forward.

For those of you who have never seen a southern coconut cake, I should explain that they are huge. Not just in diameter. They tower over everything. Set one on a buffet table, and it is automatically the center of attention.

So I baked the cake. It was four feet tall. That might be a slight exaggeration, but I'm certain it exceeded one foot in height. It was so tall that I had to put wooden skewers in it to keep it from becoming the leaning tower of coconut cake. There's no telling what they did to the original to take that fantastic photo.

On Mother's Day, I proudly served the cake. Have you watched the cake competitions on The Food Network? You know how they have to move their cakes to a display table and everyone holds their breath hoping it won't collapse? I almost needed help carrying the thing to the dining table. Worse, though -- we hated it. It was dense and heavy, and unappealing. My father, who loved desserts and never criticized anything I baked because it might discourage me from learning to cook -- hated it. Everyone disliked it except my mother. She bravely froze it and had her own private little teatime with tiny slices of that monster for an entire year.

So, when I set out to bake this coconut cake, I was determined to keep it light. I'm still totally in love with raw coconut oil, so I knew I would use that instead of butter. Last weekend, I gave it a try. With the notion of a Mounds bar in the back of my mind, I made both chocolate and white icing. Oy vey! It looked like a coconut volcano. My company thought it tasted good, but it was a mess.

I confess that I have a fascination with cakes that are missing ingredients. One of my favorite cakes has only two tablespoons of flour in it! It's made in a food processor, which I also find intriguing. The blade whips the sugar and eggs into a light froth. So I tried that method, but it turned out dry. Unbearably dry.

The third time was the charm. This cake recipe is light with just a hint of coconut. It doesn't tower to the ceiling, and frankly, it's sweet enough to eat plain with a lemon curd or whipped cream and some fruit. Best of all, it's made in the food processor and couldn't be easier to make. I'm sure I'll be playing with it again!

I kept the icing light, too. This is definitely a cake for those who like sweets! Seven Minute Icing has long been one of my favorites. I always worry about salmonella in the eggs, though. I've made many frostings in a double boiler with steam wafting up at me, and a hand-held mixer throwing frosting everywhere. This version heats the egg whites first to kill the salmonella, but lets a stand mixer do the hard part.

Light Coconut Cake

2 8-inch cake pans

1 whole egg
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup coconut milk (unsweetened)
1/2 cup raw coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups flour plus extra for dusting the pans

Preheat the over to 350. Use a bit of coconut oil to grease the pans and then dust with flour.

Place the egg, egg whites, and sugar in the food processor and spin a couple of minutes. Add the coconut milk and spin again. Add the coconut oil, vanilla, salt, and baking powder and spin. Finally add the flour and spin until thoroughly mixed. Pour into the baking pans. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the cake pulls away from the edge of the pans and a tester comes out clean.

Easy Seven Minute Icing

2 large egg whites
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl that fits your electric mixer. Place the bowl inside a large pot with about an inch of bowling water. Stir with a whisk (note, do not whisk, just stir to combine the ingredients). Stir continuously until the ingredients reach 160 degrees.

Remove from heat, dry the bottom, insert into mixer, and beat until the egg white mixture forms firm peaks. Cool to room temperature and ice your cake.


coconut flakes

Spread icing on the bottom layer. Sprinkle with coconut. Slice the strawberries in very thin slices and lay on the icing in one layer. I added a little bit more icing on top of the berries, but beware, they like to stick! Place the top layer on the cake. Add more icing. Sprinkle coconut flakes in the middle of the top. Slice strawberries in half and press around the bottom.

Happy Easter!

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