Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Almost A Completely Coconut Cake

Late Sunday night, I watched Bobby Flay's, "Throwdown" on the Food Network. Have you seen this show? In each episode Chef Flay tries his best to out-cook his opponent in making the best BBQ sauce, or the best enchilada or the best whatever. Sometimes he wins, sometimes he loses. I gotta say that I really hate it when he wins. Show off.

In this particular episode the "throwdown" was Coconut Cake. Oh how I hate Coconut Cake. Or rather, how I hate the dried shredded coconut normally found clinging to the exterior of the cake. However on this night, the two bakers made cakes that looked so delicious that I just had to try it myself. I don't dislike the taste of coconut it's just the shredded coconut that I have a hard time swallowing. So, I found a recipe that looked easy enough for a novice Coconut Cake baker such as myself. Plus, I thought it would be fun to bake a cake just for the heck of it. I baked the cake on Monday and then frosted it on Tuesday. This is a great way to do it if you don't have time to get it all done at once.

I'll give you the recipe in it's entirety and point out the items that I left out. Also, one other note, I used a Seven-Minute frosting which now I think was a mistake -- too sweet for such a sweet cake. I think a Cream Cheese frosting would have been much better. This is just my opinion. Try it both ways if you can.

Coconut Cake

3 sticks (1 1/2) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp, plus 1 tspn baking powder
1 tspn salt
1 cup packed sweetened, shredded coconut {I left this out}
2 2/3 cups sugar
4 large whole eggs, plus 4 large egg whites
1 tbsn vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

Preheat over to 350. Butter two 9-by-9-by-2 inch cake pans {I used two 8" round cake pans}; line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pulse shredded coconut in a food processor until finely chopped {I left out this part}. Stir chopped coconut into the flour mixture until combined; set aside.

IN the bolw of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the whole eggs, egg whites, and vanilla; beat until fully incorporated. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two parts, alternating with coconut milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.

Divide batter between prepared pans, and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer pans to wire rack to cool 30 minutes. Invert cakes onto the rack; peel off the parchment. Reinvert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.

Seven-Minute Frosting

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbspn light corn syrup
6 large egg whites
1 tspn vanilla extract

In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine all ingredients {except the vanilla}. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 mintues.

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the mixture on high speed until glossy and voluminous, about 5 mintues. Beat in vanilla. Use immediately.
Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, New York


  1. I watched this episode as well and almost did a run to the store that night to put a cake together. Barefoot Contessa does a great coconut cupcake with the best cream cheese frosting I've ever tasted, just pay no attention to the amount of butter and cream cheese used in the recipe. I am a sucker for anything coconut so I've also mastered the Tom Douglas coconut cream pie, it still tops my list as favorite dessert of all time.

  2. Andrea, I forgot to mention that instead of the shredded coconut I used toasted almonds just to give it texture and also the appearance, from a distance, of toasted shredded coconut. And I too love, love, love Barefoot Contessa. Her recipes are on the money and taste great. I wish I would have done her cream cheese frosting. So good.