Hello and welcome to another installment of Heavenly Cake Bakers: Free Cake Week. Marie is building more Free Cake Weeks into rotation as we near the end of the bake-through. As I look at my list of cakes--what's been baked by the group, what I've baked, what's left--the last category is getting slim indeed. We only have one flourless cake left (Zach's La Bomba!) and by the end of this month, only two sponge cakes left. Can you believe it?
Anyways, these Free Cake Weeks are for us bakers to either re-do a failed recipe or bake a cake we had missed when the group baked it (or one of the cakes Marie baked before the group was formed). I almost skipped this week, as I had a lot of white cake with milk chocolate ganache over the last week, plus French Fridays with Dorie's upcoming cake, Michel Rostang's Double Chocolate Cake, plus I went to a post-holiday cookie party Saturday night and came home with about 3 dozen cookies. So Sunday morning when I woke with a killer sugar hangover the thought of more sugar sounded terrible. A sizeable pot of Earl Grey didn't cut through the headache, nor did eggs and toast, nor did a little post-breakfast couch coma. There was no way I was baking.
I felt terrible about this decision, but I was feeling terrible in general.
January 17, 2011
Name of Cake: Is there any way I could make this more savory?
Constituents;one 9 inch layer heavenly coconut seduction cake, frosted with whipped cream and coconut flakes or frosted with light whipped ganache and coconut flakes
This morning, Monday, I awoke fresh and alive! Hooray for health. Not only that, but did I see blue sky peeking out from behind those dark gray clouds? What better way to celebrate not feeling shitty and a break from the gloomy rainy days than by baking a cake?
I resolved to try one piece and get the rest of it out of the house ASAP.
I chose to bake something quick and easy: the Heavenly Coconut Seduction Cake. One cake layer: a white cake using cream of coconut as the liquid, with pulverized dried coconut flakes mixed into the cake batter. A simple frosting: whipped cream with coconut flakes. I could do that.
Rose mentions in the notes about this cake that it could be made with coconut milk instead of the cream of coconut. The latter product is the stuff Pina Coladas are made with, and it is creamy and pearlescent and chock full of interesting chemicals. I thought about going the coconut milk route, but I still had a can of cream of coconut in the cupboard and Rose prefers that version of the cake so I decided to do it. Rose says this version is amazingly tender (I'm paraphrasing here) which is why she loves it so much. Gotta go with that, Rose rarely leads me wrong.
The cream of coconut needs to be blended up as the fat separates from the rest of the stuff, and although the food processor is recommended, stirring vigorously with a spoon for a small amount of time works too. Being the liquid component, a little bit of the cream of coconut is stirred into the egg whites and the vanilla and coconut extracts.
The other interesting ingredient is the coconut flake which is processed with the sugar until powdery and added to the rest of the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.
After that, the cake is mixed in the classic two-stage technique. Which means in about two minutes the cake is mixed and ready for the oven.
Rose warns the cake dips a bit upon cooling, but my cake didn't dip much at all. I was expecting much worse.
As mentioned, the frosting is whipped cream. Rose warns that if the cake isn't going to be eaten a la minute as she recommends, the whipped cream needs to be stabilized so that it won't weep all over the cake and make it gross and mushy. I decided to go the gelatin stabilized route but somehow the portion of the cream that gets heated with the gelatin and sugar hardened to a rubbery mass upon cooling. I felt too crunched for time (I was losing my light!) to try again, so I hurriedly whipped up some cream, plopped it on the cake, sprinkled the coconut on top, and rushed through the photos you see here.
I tried that one slice, and it was pretty good. There was a bit more whipped cream than needed but the coconut flavor in the cake was really present and delicious. I thought the cake was a little more dense than a regular butter cake--a little more tea cakey maybe--but it was tender and light at the same time. A good cake, a solid cake. A delicious coconut cake and better than others I've tried, but I'm holding out on calling it the best until we bake the other coconut cake in the book.
Since the whipped cream wasn't stabilized, I scraped it off the cake and into a container. I wasn't going to bother telling you I did that, but I am now because of what happened on my way over to Cookie's house for craft night. I had a chunk of cake for the Jellos and the container of whipped cream on the passenger seat. The container was glass, with a glass lid, and all started out fine and dandy. I made a stop at Target and when I returned to the car, the lid of the container was cracked. In two places, forming a V. Needless to say the whipped cream was probably full of glass shards and it all went into the garbage at Cookie's house. I think I must have thrown my purse on the container or something, but what a bummer to loose the whipped cream. It had coconut in it! It was yummy!
Oh well. I decided the cake needed something so when I got home I dug around in my freezer and found some leftover light whipped ganache. I love chocolate and coconut, so I pulled out the tub and it is defrosting on the counter as I type. This will push the date I publish the post back another day, but I can't leave you all hanging.
The ganache looked curdled after defrosting so I remelted and rebeat, and then I frosted. It was just enough to cover the tops and sides of what was left of the cake, which I liberally coated with coconut.
The components are delicious, and I think after three days the cake is still light and tender, if not a bit drier. However the ganache is a little too strong for the cake; either a thin coat of chocolate or something else entirely would be better. Despite my resolution I still have about a quarter of the cake on my counter, but I'm not really complaining much anymore.