Thursday, September 17, 2015

Southern Style Coconut Cake

Find some occasion to make this cake -- any occasion. I don't care what it is -- first day of autumn, new season of Dancing With The Stars, the Mets are ahead eight games -- anything will do. But you have to try this cake. I have been drooling over it ever since I saw it posted on "A Feast For The Eyes." But I couldn't justify making this for one or two people. I needed a crowd.

My book club provided the perfect excuse when our selection this month was all about New Orleans (Gumbo Tales, by Sara Roahen.) As soon as I read the word "coconut" in an early chapter, I had all I needed and claimed dessert as my contribution to the book club dinner.

It was one of the best cakes I've ever eaten - light and fluffy with a decadent frosting and filling, made with whipped cream, cream cheese and coconut flavoring.

I had a little bit of a snafu early on though, after I poured the batter into the pans and realized I had forgotten the sugar. Fortunately, I hadn't put the pans into the oven, so I scooped out the batter, mixed in the sugar, cleaned and re-buttered the pans and I was off for a second try.

The slight diversion in preparation didn't seem to alter the results, and the cakes came out of the oven perfectly cooked.

I spread a thick layer of the filling on one of the cakes and covered it with some toasted coconut before topping with the second layer.

The cake should serve at least ten to twelve people, unless some (like my book club members) ask for seconds. Just sayin'.  I'm not naming names.

But I did manage to fight everyone off in time to reserve one last piece (and a half) to bring home.

Thanks Debbie, for a great recipe.

Southern Style Coconut Cake

From "A Feast For The Eyes"

printable recipe here

  • For the cake:

  • 5 large egg whites

  • ½ cup whole milk

  • 1 tablespoon coconut flavoring 

  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla

  • 3 cups cake flour  *NOTE: If you don’t have cake flour on hand, substitute 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour for 1 cup of cake flour.

  • 2⅓ cups sugar

  • 4½ teaspoons baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

  • For the Cream Cheese Butter cream Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

  • 1-3 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk or regular milk

  • 1 teaspoon coconut flavoring

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut (I couldn't find unsweetened, so I used sweetened, and I used         about 1 1/2 cups)

  • For the Whipped Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 1 cup of the Cream Cheese Butter cream Frosting (above)

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream


To make the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch (or 9-inch) cake pans and line with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg whites, whole milk and coconut flavoring.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. 

Add the butter and coconut milk and combine on low speed until moistened. Increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. 

Add the egg white mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing just long enough to incorporate between additions.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely. 

To make the butter cream:

Beat together the butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar on medium high speed until light and creamy. 

Add the coconut flavoring and enough coconut milk (or regular milk) to reach a spreadable consistency. Mix until smooth.

OPTIONAL: Spread the coconut on a sheet pan. Toast in a 350 degree oven until golden, checking every 2 minutes. Watch it carefully, the coconut will burn fast. Let it cool completely.

To make the Whipped Cream Cheese Filling:

With a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream until it starts to thicken. 

Add 1 cup of the cream cheese butter cream a spoonful at a time while mixing on medium-high speed. Whip to soft peaks. 

To frost the cake:

If desired, slice the 2 cake layers in half to create 4 layers. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or plate. Cover with the whipped cream cheese filling. 

Repeat with the rest of the layers. Frost the entire cake with the remaining cream cheese butter cream and cover in the toasted coconut. 

Chill for one hour before serving. Store in the fridge, cake will keep for several days.

Note: If you have only 2-inch deep pans, consider using 3 pans or 9-inch pans.

I brought the cake to slightly room temperature for about 15 minutes, before slicing.

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