Sunday, May 18, 2014

Coconut Cream Cake

I made another cake.

It is brought to you by Willow Bird Baking. She called it The Ultimate Moist, Fluffy, Ridiculous Coconut Cake. 

And it pretty much is.

The Ultimate Moist, Fluffy, Ridiculous Coconut Cake.

I didn't really think it was that ridiculous though. Clearly Miss Willow Bird has never made a 108 Oreo Cake.

Now THAT is ridiculous.

Don't get me wrong. This cake is yummy. 

And delicious.

And certainly worth making.

And if you are a coconut lover, you should make it, too.

Since this is not my recipe, I wasn't going to include it. I was just going to send you over to Willow Bird Baking to get the recipe.

But I've got things to say.

Things to say about the recipe and making this cake. (In red, of course.)

See how fluffy it is?

And I think that it will make all that easier if I give you the recipe as well.

But please go visit Willow Bird Baking and read this post - especially if you like cats.

The recipe is long. You have to make the cake, coconut syrup, coconut cream, and coconut Swiss meringue buttercream (uhh, yum).

It is adapted from: The Way the Cookie Crumbles (perfect white cake) Zoe Bakes (coconut pastry cream) SAVEUR (inspiration for assembly)

Get your stuff.

Perfect White Cake Ingredients:
2¼ cups cake flour (9 ounces)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup coconut milk
6 large egg whites (¾ cup), at room temperature
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1 inch vanilla bean seeds)
1½ cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (11.35 ounces)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1½ sticks), softened but still cool

Coconut Pastry Cream Ingredients:
1 can (14 fluid ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch kosher salt
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup whipping cream
Coconut Syrup Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup coconut water

Coconut Swiss Buttercream Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites , at room temperature
24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
3 cups sweetened coconut flakes

Note here: This cake is not difficult. But it has several steps. The easiest way to do this is to make it in two days. The first day make the cake, let it cool, wrap it and freeze it. Make the Coconut Syrup and put it in the refrigerator. The second day make the pastry cream, the buttercream and assemble the cake. Actually, if you have enough time the first day, make the coconut cream all the way through the last step (folding in the whipped cream) and let it cool in the refrigerator overnight. It takes longer than the recipe suggests to cool the cream.

Make the cake

Set oven rack in middle position. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or butter/flour two 9-inch cake pans very well. Add a parchment paper circle in the bottom of each and grease that too. Pour milk, coconut milk, egg whites, and extracts into a small bowl and whisk gently until blended.

In a large bowl, whisk together cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks left.

(I didn't know if this meant to hand whisk or use the whisk attachment to my mixer. I chose to use the whisk attachment to my mixer.)
Add all but about 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Scrape down the sides of bowl before beating just a little longer. (I just left the whisk attachment on for this step. It worked perfectly)

Divide batter evenly between two prepared cake pans and smooth the tops with a spatula before dropping it from about 3 inches high to eliminate any bubbles in the batter. Arrange pans on middle rack. Bake until a thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs, 23 to 25 minutes. If you wait until the toothpick comes out totally clean, your cake might’ve gone too long and could be dry; be careful not to overbake! Check early and often.

Let the cakes rest in pans for a few minutes before running a knife around the edges of the pan and inverting the cakes onto wire racks. Invert them again so they’ll be right-side up and let them cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours, before wrapping in wax paper and plastic wrap to freeze until pretty firm, about 30 minutes. (If you are making the day before, just let them stay in the freezer)

Maybe I'm inexperienced, or naive, but I've never mixed up a cake this way before.  I was very easy, and turned out perfectly. It may be my go to way to make cakes (some) in he future.

Make the coconut pastry cream

Heat the coconut milk, sugar, salt and vanilla bean or extract in a medium saucepan over medium heat. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and corn starch. Once the cream is hot, remove the vanilla bean (if used), scraping out any remaining seeds and returning them to the cream. Add 1/2 cup of the hot cream slowly to the yolks, whisking as you add, to temper the eggs so they won’t cook into an omelette in the middle of your pastry cream. That would be a bummer. Then pour the yolk mixture into the pot of hot cream and whisk. Continue to whisk with heat on medium-high for 3 more minutes. The mixture will turn thick and bubble. You need to continue to whisk for the full 3 minutes or the pastry cream will separate once it is cool. After the 3 minutes, whisk in the butter. Add the coconut flakes. Pour into a shallow dish to cool.

Cover with plastic wrap pressed right against the pastry cream. This will prevent a thick skin from forming on the surface. Refrigerate for at least an hour or freeze for 30 minutes. Once it is cold, stir the pastry cream to loosen. Whip the 1/2 cup cream to medium peaks. Stir in 1/3 to the pastry cream to lighten. Fold in the remaining cream until the pastry cream is nice and light. Avoid eating entire bowl of pastry cream with a spoon.

This cream was good, but not as good as one I made previously. If I ever make this cake again I will try it with that cream and if it is indeed better, I will change up this recipe. But like I said, this cream is good. Really good.

To make coconut syrup

Combine the sugar, water, and coconut water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool completely, about 20 minutes.

Make Coconut Swiss buttercream icing:

Combine sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil without stirring until syrup reaches 240° on a digital thermometer, about 5 minutes. (I think this is softball stage - in case you don't have a candy thermometer. But really, you should have a candy thermometer. They aren't expensive. Get one.)

Meanwhile, in a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer on medium speed, gradually pour in hot syrup in a thin stream; avoid pouring syrup on whisk. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until stiff peaks form and mixture is cool, about 8 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add butter 1 tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition. (If at any time buttercream appears curdled, beat on high until smooth, then reduce speed to medium and continue beating in butter.) Once all butter is added, beat on high speed until buttercream is smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla and coconut extract. (Let's talk about this for a minute...I have never been able to add the extracts without curdling the icing and I haven't quite figured out how to get it back to creamy after curdling. Doing the whole beating on high speed will make it creamy again, but I haven't figured out the creamy AND fluffy thing yet. I need to seek out some Youtube videos on this. The best I have ever gotten a Swiss Meringue to look after curdling is a little like a soft butter. Which is OK, but I can't help thinking that it is supposed to look and act differently. It still tastes good.)

Assemble the cake: Carefully slice each cake layer in half with a long serrated knife. Drizzle a couple tablespoons of coconut syrup over the “inner” side (the one that seems most porous) of each layer. Spread 1/3 of the coconut pastry cream filling onto the first cake layer. Spread it almost to the edge, but pipe a thick bead of buttercream around the very outside edge of each layer to ensure no spillage. (I just built up a little layer of frosting around the edges of each layer) Sprinkle with flaked coconut. Repeat with the other layers. Frost the cake with a very thin crumb coat and set it in the freezer to set for about 15 minutes. Bring it out and continue frosting the rest of the cake generously. Carefully push handfuls of fluffy coconut all over the sides of the cake and on top. Keep the cake in the refrigerator, but let sit out for about 30 minutes before slicing and serving so the frosting will be soft. (Bringing the cake to room temperature is very important. The icing is like a stick of butter when it is cold.)

It's time to bake don't you think?

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Laura @ duke manor farm said...

Looks delish but there is no way that I could make a cake over the span on 2 days! When I want my cake I want it now!:)

Danni@SiloHillFarm said...

Any time you start a post with "I baked a cake" you've got my attention! Looks delicious, but I'm with Laura...I'm probably never going to bake a cake with that many steps in it. (But I'd be happy to eat it!!)

Linda @ it all started with paint said...

Luckily I'm not a fan of coconut. Otherwise I would have to curse you again ...

;) Linda

Laurel@ChippingwithCharm said...


Anonymous said...

It looks delicious! I might have to give it a try. My husband loves coconut cake!

Gigi @ Old World Patina

Art and Sand said...

I am not big on coconut in my food, but that cake looks amazing.

Bliss said...

Satan in a cake. Without Oreos.

Unknown said...

Mom said it was best on day 3. How many cakes get better as they age?

Kirby Carespodi said...

I love cake. I miss cake. *sniff* That is all.


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