a coconut cream dream

 

I live two lives, one at work and one at home. I love to bake so I squeeze in new recipes, pictures, and posts anywhere I can–often to the detriment of my sleep. And so I guess you could say that my coworkers um…eat well. Birthdays in particular have taken a somewhat spoiled turn, as it’s an excuse for me to delve into the wonderful world of cake. The coworker this cake was made for, when asked what her favorite flavor of cake might be for no particular reason <cough cough> responded quickly “coconut”. I was expecting chocolate or vanilla….or any of those general categories of sweets that leads me in a general direction pretty easily. But I had never had a coconut cake before. I have had vanilla cake with vanilla icing and a layer of coconut on top. I’ve made banana cupcakes with brown butter icing and toasted coconut. So I was surprised by her response and excited for a fun and exciting new challenge. I used parts of two different recipes, one for the cake and one for it’s icing and filling recipe. I searched high and low for a cake that would cut perfectly—literally one of my favorite moments is cutting that first slice and finding out if its a dense, fine crumbed cake where the slice has smooth, flat sides or if it’s going to be a crumbly, hot mess. I’ve found that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I found a cake recipe with a picture of the most beautiful slice and went with it. The final result was perfect—a slightly coconut flavored, delicate white cake with a thick, gooey coconut filling and creamy icing to tie it all together. And as strange as this may sound, I recommend it be served cold. It was so good that way—refreshing and wonderful.  It might be because the filling has almost a pudding-type feel. Anyway you want it, try it out. It had a great balance so that those who love coconut are satisfied while others, who may not be the first in line to crack open a coconut and call it dinner, will love it too.

coconut cream cake
from country living, always with butter, and Martha (of course!)

cake

4 cups sifted cake flour
2 tbs sifted cake flour (for pans)
tbs baking powder
¾ tsp salt
¾ cups unsalted butter, softened
cups granulated sugar
tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp coconut extract
6 large egg whites
cups milk
¾ sweetened flaked coconut
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Using a small brush, lightly coat two or three 9-inch cake pans with softened butter or vegetable-oil cooking spray. Dust with flour and tap out any excess. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, using a mixer set at high speed, beat the butter and sugar until well combined. Add the vanilla and egg whites and continue to beat until light and fluffy — about 2 more minutes.
  • Reduce mixer speed to low and add half the flour mixture. Beat just until flour is completely absorbed. Add the milk and beat for 1 minute. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat for 1 more minute.
  • Divide the batter equally among cake pans and spread evenly. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until the tops spring back when lightly touched and a tester inserted into the center of each cake layer comes out clean — 30 to 35 minutes for 3 pans (a little longer if you only used two) . Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a knife, loosen the cake layers from the sides of the pans and invert the layers onto the wire rack to cool completely.

filling

cups heavy cream
cups sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ cup water
½ tsp vanilla extract
cups shredded coconut

*filling needs to set over night
*if you can use non-sweetened coconut, use it. If not, reduce the sugar to 3/4 cup or so to keep it from being too sweet.

  • Place coconut into a food processor, pulsing until finely chopped.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring cream, butter, and sugar to a boil, stirring occasionally. In a small bowl, mix vanilla, cornstarch and water. Add to the cream mixture, bring to a boil, and allow to simmer until thickened, 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in coconut.
  • Allow to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Beat until smooth right before using.

frosting

2 sticks butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
5 cups powdered sugar
  • Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add vanilla. Slowly add in sugar until it’s to the desired thickness.

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