April 17, 2011,
Name of Cake: the furry yellow cake
constituents: 2 9 inch layers of white coconut cake filled and frosted with a coconut silk meringue buttercream (smbc) and decorated with flaked coconut
The cake is a butter cake, with just egg whites and the addition of coconut milk.
I had just, two days earlier, baked the White Velvet Cake from The Cake Bible, which is scaled for two 9 x 1.5 inch pans, and the amount of cake flour and sugar needed was 300 grams each. So you might imagine my surprise when, for this cake, for two 9 x 2 inch pans 400 grams of both flour and sugar are called for. I thought that maybe we needed more flour and sugar because of the coconut, but just now I was flipping through Rose's Heavenly Cakes and it seems like for two 9 inch cakes about 400 grams is right--except for the Devils Food Cake, which only calls for 225 grams for two 9 inch cakes. That's just about half! AND, the German Chocolate Cake only calls for 150 grams total flour. People, this is FASCINATING.
|the completed batter|
Something was not right about my oven, as the cakes appeared finished and the sides were pulling away, yet when they cooled they both sunk in the middle. I was mad; I had to take a break away from the cake and fume for a bit.
|just out of the oven--before the sinking|
The Silk Meringue Buttercream has three components and what looks like a daunting amount of steps. I just have to remind myself to tackle the recipe one component at a time, and then it doesn't look that hard at all.
The first component is a funky Creme Anglaise made with coconut milk instead of cow's milk. This is a great idea to infuse some coconutty flavor into the frosting, but it makes a strange and watery product.
Next up: Italian meringue. Us HCB have made countless Italian Meringues, so I wasn't too worried. I've had the sugar syrup seize up in the cup, I've spun the sugar all over the sides of the bowl, I feel pretty good about this darn meringue. And, so pretty.
The last component is a pound of butter.
Then, the combining begins. First, the butter is beat until creamy, then the coconut anglaise is added. At first the butter and anglaise didn't see eye to eye; there was curdling, there was lack of emulsification. Instead of getting all freaked out about temperature and getting this over a pot of simmering water, I simply out-stubborned the stuff. I kept beating it, I increased the speed, and eventually the two became one. Then, the meringue is added in and all becomes silky, soft, ice cream in frosting form.
Technically I'm supposed to add a bunch of flaked coconut to the frosting, but I thought that would just make it a pain in the butt to frost the cake, so I opted out.
This frosting is a pale butter yellow--no surprise there--and really is very silky. It is a bit rich but not terribly so.
|you can see where all the frosting filled up the sunken cake|
Now to assemble the cake. I added a layer of coconut flake in the filling, and then frosted the rest. The temperature of my buttercream must have been off because as I frosted it threatened to break--it was oily and the more I agitated the frosting on the cake, the more it looked like it was going to separate. So I just tried to get it done quickly and efficiently.
I also decided to use the regular sweetened coconut as it is softer than the unsweetened chips I found. I did add the chips to the outside edge and a little in the middle of the cake too.
The cake is rich and lovely and perfect for a celebration. Maybe because Spring is slowly showing up around here, but I think this would be a wonderful cake for a Spring celebration or garden party. Or pretty much whenever.