I don't know whether we have a large contingent of coconut-haters, or whether people were feeling buttercream fear, or whether nobody could find coconut extract--whatever the reason, the turnout for the Southern (Manhattan) Coconut Cake with Silk Meringue Buttercream was a little sparse. Those who persevered, however, were rewarded with a showstopper of a cake--the kind that makes people gasp (really!) when they see it. And I think almost everyone substituted something, so--as we should know by now--a missing ingredient or two never stopped a determined baker.
Last week Alice just got an honorable mention in the mid-week roundup because she'd baked the wrong cake. This week, the wrong cake turns into the right cake, so we learn that she substituted chocolate ganache for the silk meringue buttercream. The cake was good, and the ganache was good; but she concluded, "I should have listened to the professional because once it set up, the ganache was way too heavy for the tender crumb of the coconut cake." Alice, where is your Tomboy?! You don't want to miss that cake.
Jennifer, who describes this as a "furry yellow cake," did almost everything by the book except that she substituted Baker's coconut for the shredded unsweetened stuff that was supposed to be in the frosting. Also, and more daring, she didn't mix the coconut in the frosting because she thought it would make it hard to frost (how right you were)--she just sprinkled it all over the icing.
Vicki found a creative way of compromising with the people in her house who don't like coconut. She filled and topped the layers with the coconut buttercream, sans shredded coconut, and served that to the coconut-haters. She toasted coconut for the coconut lovers, and sprinkled that on the individual slices. She "doesn't much trust [herself]" around this cake.
Lois couldn't find coconut extract and the only kind of dried coconut they have in her Polish groceries is dessicated coconut. She didn't let that stop her--she tried to rehydrate the dried coconut, but got most of the coconut flavor from the coconut milk, which she did manage to find.
Monica, as dedicated a photographer as she is a cook, wanted to take pictures of her coconut cake in natural light, so she left a note on the cake threatening poor Tom with certain death if he dared to cut into the cake, or even touch it, until she could get back home and take photographs. Fortunately the pictures were taken, the cake eaten, and no one died. Like Jennifer, Monica omitted the coconut from the frosting and sprinkled it atop.
Nancy B. managed to locate "the elusive coconut extract," and baked hers in cupcake form. Opinions on the cake were mixed, depending mostly on how people liked coconut. As Nancy said, "Do you realize how many people have an aversion to coconut?" In exciting news, Nancy said that if she makes two different cakes on the Free Choice weeks, and blogs about the one cake that she has already baked but hasn't written about, she will finish at the same time I do. Yay for us!
Jenn went off in a different direction. She's already made the cake once, so she decided she'd try Hector's recipe for coconut curd, and combine that with whipped cream for her cupcake frosting. She topped the cupcakes with some curd, and then stirred the rest into whipped cream for the frosting. Then she decorated the whole thing with toasted shredded coconut. "Hubby loves it and said it's very coconut-y. I'm not a big fan of coconut dessert myself, but this one is really good."
I'm not sure I've ever made a brand new HCBer a FEATURED BAKER, but I'm making an exception for Jane. No, this is not because her cake looks so delicious (although it does), or because she has such a happy smile in the picture of her standing by her KitchenAid (although she does), but because she's decided to make all the cakes in Rose's Heavenly Cakes in one year! And she's already made six--the latest being the Coconut Cake. It's a good thing Jenn is keeping this Bake Through going!
Speaking of that, Jenn has volunteered to keep the "Last Cake, Next Cake" feature going for the next few weeks when I'm out of town. If I can get an IPad connection, I'll be checking out her LCNC myself. I love to see what everyone bakes. Check Jenn's website mid-week and see what she's got posted. Just go to the right side of the page, and look for "Knitty Baker."
Finally, if you get the Hallmark channel where you live, be sure to watch Martha Stewart's show on Friday. Rose is her special guest, and will be showing Martha how to make the whipped cream cake. It should be interesting to see these two dynamite women together! By the way, there are lots of Martha Stewart slots on the Hallmark channel, so be sure that you get the right one. It's scheduled to air between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. EDT, but it's on at noon in the Minneapolis area. I've got it set to record, and Woody and I are going to watch it when I get back from France. Hanaa, do you want to see it too?