Sunday, October 3, 2010

Coconut Cake

Today's cake adventure began a couple of weeks ago. I sat down with Honey to watch some tv after the kids had gone to bed and one of my favorite Food Network guys was on. He was doing a whole show on coconut and coconut cake. I loved it! So, I decided this weekend to dig in and give it a try.

Part One:
The Coconut. I have spent the better part of my day piercing, draining, baking, cracking, peeling, grating, boiling, soaking, and more draining two whole coconuts to create; a pile of freshly grated coconut, a 1/2 cup each of homemade coconut cream and coconut milk and a liquid measuring cup full of coconut water (the liquid I drained from the inside of the coconut to begin with). Apparently you can also soak some of this coconut in vodka for 5-7 days to create your own extract, but I cheated on that one element and bought some at the store. After completing all of that, I began the cake. Fluffy unsalted butter, sugar, the homemade coconut milk and cream, cake flour, etc. mixed accordingly and then folded in with some stiff egg whites. It is now in the oven in the pans that I oiled and lined with parchment. Which I then oiled again and dusted with flour. My sink is over flowing with mixing bowls, whisks, spatulas, measuring spoons and measuring cups. My counter and mixer are dusted with flour. My arm is tired from hand grating coconut and whisking egg whites. This better be the best darn coconut cake on the planet. And despite his aversion to the texture of coconut, Honey better have a bite or two. I already know of a couple of people who will be hand delivered a large piece. You know it's for my own good that I can't keep the entire cake in my own house. I will most certainly be without sufficient self-control to avoid eating. it. all.

Part Two:
The Cake. With nervousness and anticipation, I check on the cakes with 5 minutes left on the timer. This is important, you gize. Sometimes they're done sooner and I know that my ovens usually bake things a little faster. And my top and bottom ovens don't bake the same as each other. Homemade from scratch cakes are a lot harder to create and the results are hard to predict. I've tried things before that didn't work out, I think because of my elevation. Anyway, after checking, the cakes are done 5 minutes early. They aren't perfect and smooth on top like a box mix. The one from the bottom oven has sunk down a little bit in the middle. But I'm reserving judgment. Once each layer is split and stacked with frosting and stuff, it won't really matter what it looked like when it came out of the oven. Right? Right. The cakes, after cooling, are dense and sort of heavy. The recipe says to cut each layer in half, then giving your finished cake 4 thin layers, but I am too afraid to try. So I just sliced off the crisp top of each layer and brushed them with coconut water. The pieces I've removed taste AWESOME.

Part Three:
The Frosting. Egg whites, sugar, coconut water, a stainless bowl, sitting on top of a pot of simmering water, with an extension cord attached to my hand mixer so it will reach my cooktop. After 7 minutes of beating and an addition of coconut and vanilla extracts, I have a beautiful bowl of marshmallowy, white and fluffy fantastic frosting. Oh. my. gosh. I never thought in a million years I'd be able to make a successful batch of 7 min Frosting.

Part Four:
Assembly. Since I'm wimping out and refusing to try a 4 layer cake, assembly was easy. The cake layers are moist. A blob of frosting on the cake plate, first layer down. Frosted and lightly sprinkled with my fresh coconut. Second layer on, the entire thing frosted and sprinkled with more coconut. This made a huge mess because I was tossing it, but the cake looks fantastic. Now it has to sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick..........

Part Five:
The Final Test - Eating. As I mentioned above, the cake is pretty dense. With all of the frosting and coconut and coconut flavor, it's also quite rich. I rather enjoyed it. Honey did have a couple of bites and thought it tasted very good. My neighbor said it was too good. My kids didn't like it. Why would I do that much work for one cake? Well, why not? Why not try the hard recipe, go to all of the effort once to do it just like the recipe and see what happens? I learned how to disassemble a coconut. I learned how to make successful 7 min frosting. I learned that if I make this cake again, it won't be for a long time and it will only be for grown ups. This is not a kid cake. I offer a huge thank you to Alton Brown for this fantastic cake adventure today. Now, I'm tired. And full.


The McLaughlin's said...

I think it's fun to try hard recipes every now and then. When they turn out they are very rewarding! I will have a piece delivered to me immediately!

danandcami said...

WOW!!! I don't know if I could go through that much work and effort. Although Whitney does want to buy a fresh coconut so we should have SOMETHING to do with it IF we ever try! My husband would be in HEAVEN with this cake! Glad to know it all worked for you!

Jenny ESP said...

I love shredded coconut. The sweetened kind, otherwise they just taste like fingernail clippings.

Ronna said...

OMG! That sounds like alot of work. Congrats on the 7 min frosting too, I've never been able to get that frosting right.