Thursday, January 3, 2013

coconut cake - a lazy daisy favorite




Ten years old.  How can it be?  I just know it was only yesterday I was holding that sweet little hand as he toddled into story time with Ms. Elaine at the library or would want to eat pancakes out on the front porch on Friday mornings just to get a closer look at the trash truck.

Daniel.  He is a blessing, and much to my dismay, he is ten.

He is also, as John and I say, an old soul.  He loves to be home.  He loves to get a hot shower, put on his robe, sit by the fire and watch Andy Griffith episodes.  And he loves biscuits and gravy, stuffing, and "Popie food," as he calls it.

By the way, you may recall from this post, Popie is my sweet grandfather, and he just so happens to share the same birthday as Daniel.  In fact, I love this picture of the two of them opening gifts on their special day.


So, in keeping with his old-soul style, Daniel didn't ask for chocolate cake with chocolate icing, or white cake with mounds of decoration or colored sprinkles and ice cream.  No.  Daniel asked for...

Coconut cake.

What?!?  Where in the world did that come from?

Well, if coconut cake is what he wanted, then coconut cake was what I'd do.  And can I just tell you how glad I am I did?  It was a marvelous recipe.  One that comes straight out of my favorite recipe book of all time from one of my favorite book series of all time, The Mitford Series.

The cake was moist and delicious, the lemon filling was  out. of. this. world.  And the icing was... well... tricky.  But I have some tips, so don't let that scare you.


I just can't begin to tell you how much we all enjoyed this one!  I did make white cupcakes with buttercream icing for Daniel's friends, because I wasn't convinced a group of boys was going to go for coconut. Thankfully, they didn't, and we had it all to ourselves...

Score!


So, here you have it.  Probably one of the best cakes ever for most definitely my favorite 10-year-old on the planet.  Happy Birthday, my dearest Daniel.  You are my sunshine.


PS - An Oregon fan through and through, Daniel (and the rest of us) are rooting for the green and yellow tonight... Go Ducks!


Coconut Cake - makes one 3 layer cake (or two thick layers)
Ingredients:

For the cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting the pans
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups coconut (freshly grated or frozen)
~ Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
~ Coat three 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray, then dust with flour.  Set aside.
~ In a large bowl, sift together the flour, soda, and salt.  
~ In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed until stiff peaks 
    form.  
~ Using another bowl, at medium speed, cream the 2 cups of granulated sugar and 1/2 cup 
    butter until light in color, about 4 minutes.  
~ With the mixer running, add the oil and combine thoroughly, scraping down the sides of 
    the bowl so all of the batter is mixed properly.
~ Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (about 30 seconds after each addition).  
    Continue beating for 2 minutes after adding last yolk.
~ Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in half of the flour mixture with a large rubber 
    spatula.  
~ Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add half of the buttermilk.
~ Fold in the remaining flour mixture, scrape down the sides, and add the remaining 
    buttermilk.
~ Fold in the 2 cups of coconut.
~ Scrape down the sides and fold in the beaten egg whites.
~ Pour the batter into the pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted 
    comes out clean.
~ Let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then run a small knife around the sides of 
    the pans and invert the cakes onto cooling racks and cool completely before icing.

For the filling
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp milk
~ In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the 1/2 cup butter and the cream cheese together 
    until fluffy.
~ Add the confectioners' sugar, zest, juice, and milk and mix.

For the icing
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 16-oz container sour cream
  • 2 cups coconut
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
~ In a large bowl, combine the sugar, butter, coconut and vanilla.  
~ Add sour cream a spoonful at a time until spreading consistency is reached.

To assemble the cake

~ Spread half of the lemon filling on top of one cake layer.
~ Place the second layer on top and spread the other half of the filling on top.
~ Place the third layer on top and finish with the icing.
~ Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight, before serving.  

Tips and Tricks:

  • The original recipe does not call for butter in the icing, but as I said, the icing is tricky.  I have found the butter is needed to give some substance and "hold" for presentation.  It also, in my humble opinion, deepens the flavor.  

  • The original also called for adding in all 16 ounces of the sour cream, but I could tell immediately that this would be too much "sour" and too runny.  This is why I suggest adding it in a little at a time and last.  With some research, I have also learned that full fat and name brand sour creams work better with this kind of icing recipe than their counterparts.  They are not as watery.

  • Finally, I did only do 2 layers, as you can probably see in the picture.  This is only because I didn't have three pans but had two deep ones that could adequately hold the batter.  Just keep a watch on the doneness.  It will take a few minutes longer for thicker layers to cook.   

  • This cake gets better the longer it sits.

Recipe slightly adapted from Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader.