Aug 3, 2009
I'm so happy to give you another recipe--this time for an easy-to-make, truly delicious coconut cake. It's got coconut four or five ways, depending on whether you use the optional coconut cream powder in the whipped cream. The cake itself has canned cream of coconut, coconut extract, and desiccated coconut, which is just a $10 word for dried coconut. The whipped cream frosting is topped with sweetened grated coconut and flavored with coconut cream powder. (I didn't have the coconut cream powder; it was delicious without it, and might very well be even more delicious with it).
The cake uses only egg whites, so I could use up some of the leftover egg whites I had after making the tiramisu. (One of the handy things about this book, by the way, is an appendix telling you which cakes are made with egg yolks only and which are made with egg whites only.)
The egg whites, some of the cream of coconut, and the extracts are mixed up and set aside.
Then the sugar and desiccated coconut are whirred around in a food processor until the coconut gets very fine. This gets mixed in with the rest of the ingredients, and then the egg white mixture is added. I told you it was easy.
It makes a nice, thick batter.
And it bakes in about 30 minutes, with no problems.
The whipped cream recipe doesn't call for any sugar, but I added about a tablespoon because I wasn't using the coconut cream powder. The sweetened coconut gave it enough sweetness so that it probably didn't need any extra, but I thought that Jim might laboriously pick off each little shred of coconut, since coconut is right up there with cilantro in his list of foods that do not improve his disposition. I figured that when Rose called this a "seduction" cake, she wasn't thinking of people who don't like coconut and how unlikely they are to be seduced by coconut.
Really, the only thing even faintly difficult about this recipe is accumulating the five sources of coconut, and, of those five, only the desiccated coconut and the coconut cream powder might present a problem.
Woody, Rose's assistant and friend, gave me some desiccated coconut so I wouldn't have to order it myself. I thought it was out of the kindness of his heart, but it turned out that he wanted some of the cake for himself. "Marie," he said, "let's just say you don't want anything bad to happen. And nothing will if you leave a piece of cake on the front porch for me." "What time, Woody?" I asked, tremblingly. I'll admit it--I was scared. A protection racket based on cake? I never suspected.
"We like to do these things at night--for obvious reasons," he said. "Nobody's going to get hurt if you follow directions. And I know you have some trouble with following directions, so listen up, capisce?" "Capisce?" I thought to myself. "Where's the Woody I thought I knew?" At 10:00 p.m., sharp, I put two pieces of cake on the front porch. I left a note: "Take two slices, please. I don't want any trouble." I turned the light on, and went upstairs to bed. It was a sleepless night. I tossed and turned. Finally, I crept downstairs and looked on the porch. The cake was gone. I was safe. For now.
TASTING PANEL:Laurel: "Interesting combination of textures with the whipped cream, flaked coconut, and just a bit of coconut texture in the cake."
Karen: "I've always liked very sweet desserts, but Rose has won me over with her not-as-sweet, more subtle approach to baking. And this is the best one yet."
Jim:: "All I can say is I had two pieces and I don't like coconut."
Jan: "This goes down real easy." [This is a compliment, for those of you who don't speak Minnesotan].
Heavenly Coconut Seduction Cake
Oven Temperature: 350°F/175˚C
Baking Time: 30 to 40 minutes
Serves: 8 to 10
3 large egg whites, room temperature: 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
(3 fluid ounces) (3.2 ounces, 90 grams)
Canned cream of coconut (NOT coconut cream): 2/3 cup, divided (5.3 fluid ounces)
(6.7 ounces, 190 grams) (processed in food processor before measuring)
Pure vanilla extract: 3/4 teaspoon
Ccoconut extract: 3/4 teaspoon
Superfine sugar: 1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon (3 ounces, 88 grams)
Desiccated unsweetened grated coconut: 1/2 cup (1.2 ounces, 35 grams)
Cake flour: (see note) 2 cups (sifted into the cup and leveled off) (7 ounces, 200 grams)
Baking powder: 2 1/4 teaspoons (10.7 grams)
Salt: 1/2 teaspoon (3 grams)
Unsalted butter (65 to 75˚F/19 to 23˚C) (8 tablespoons, 1 stick (4 ounces, 113 grams)
A 9 by 2-inch cake pan, encircled with a cake strip, bottom coated with shortening, topped with a parchment round, then coated with baking spray with flour.
Preheat the Oven
20 minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175˚C.
Mix the Liquid Ingredients
In a medium bowl whisk the egg whites, 3 tablespoons of the cream of coconut, the vanilla, and the coconut extract just until lightly combined.
Mix the Batter
In a food processor, process the sugar and coconut until the coconut is powder fine.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the sugar mixture, flour, baking powder, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and remaining cream of coconut. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the egg white mixture in two batches, beating for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the surface evenly.
Bake the Cake
Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until a wire cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean and just starts coming away from the sides of the pan. It will be under-baked in the center if it is removed before it starts shrinking. The cake is so fluffy it will not spring back readily when pressed in the center. Because it is so wondrously tender, the top will dip slightly on cooling.
Cool the Cake
Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a small metal spatula between the sides of the pan and the cake and invert it onto a wire rack that has been coated with cooking spray. To prevent splitting, reinvert the cake so that the top side is up, and cool completely before serving.
Note: I love the flavor and incredibly tender texture offered by the cream of coconut but it requires cake flour to prevent serious dipping in the center. The cake is also very delicious with coconut milk and does not dip in the center. To substitute, use 2/3 cup/5.3 fluid ounces (5.7 ounces/163 grams) canned coconut milk (stirred well before measuring). Be sure to increase the sugar to 1 cup/7 ounces/200 grams and the baking powder to 2 1/2 teaspoons. You can also use the same weight of bleached all-purpose flour instead of cake flour (the volume is only 1 3/4 cups).
Makes: 3 cups/13 ounces/370 grams
Heavy cream, cold: 1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces) (12.3 ounces, 348 grams)
optional: Powdered coconut cream: 1/4 cup (1 ounce, 32 grams)
For the Topping: Sweetened flaked coconut: 1 cup (3 ounces, 85 grams)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the heavy cream and optional powdered coconut cream, and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. (Chill the whisk beater alongside the bowl.)
Beat the mixture only until soft peaks form when the beater is raised or the cream mounds softly when dropped from a spoon.)
Mound the cream onto the cake and sprinkle evenly with the coconut. Serve immediately. Be prepared to swoon.
Highlights for Success
Cream of coconut contains solid coconut oil and needs to be processed in the food processor until smooth, or thoroughly whisked to break it up into small pieces.
If you want to top the cake with whipped cream more than 30 minutes before serving, you will need to add 1/2 teaspoon of Cobasan before beating or use the gelatin stabilized whipped cream (page 00) to enable it to stand for up to several hours at room temperature without watering out or see cornstarch stabilized whipped cream, which will keep it from watering out for 24 hours refrigerated.
Powdered coconut cream is available in Eastern food supply stores such as Kalustyan.
This coconut cake is not as moist when held for several days as the coconut layer cake because of the slightly drying effect of the dried coconut and the low liquid/high fat content of the cream of coconut. The grated coconut, however, gives it extra coconut flavor and the higher fat content meltingly tender texture.
Posted by Marie at 5:55 PM