Monday, November 30, 2009

November Roundup

Thank you to everyone that participated in the November challenge. This is my favorite roundup so far. Fluffy white cakes everywhere you look!

Finally, Coconut Cake

Posted by - Dorrie

I missed the September and October assignments for Have the Cake, including the one of my own choosing, Sacher Torte. The first few months of my pregnancy were marked by nausea and fatigue, but now I am finally feeling a bit better. So, just under the deadline, on November 29th, I finally made a coconut cake.

Even though I'm pregnant, I'm not able to consume an entire coconut cake by myself and even with my husband's help, it would be hard. So, I opted to make the gluten-free version of coconut cake from my "Gluten-free Baking Classics" book by Annalise Roberts, so I could share the cake with my sister, who has a wheat-allergy.

Having learned from my mistakes from the carrot cake I made from the same book, I knew that Ms. Roberts has recipes that don't do well at high altitude. As I reviewed the recipe, which I won't waste your time with here, I decided to reduce the moisture in the recipe to save myself from another Titanic sinking cake. I cut the 4 eggs down to 3 and reduced the 1 cup of oil to 3/4 cup oil.

The cake mixed up well, although it was oddly sticky:

Sticky cake
Sticky cake

Joyfully, the cake did not sink in the middle, but was probably the most even cake I've ever made.

While I made the frosting, which also called for too much liquid, the cutie came by to help out by going through the cabinet beneath where I was working.

My cute helper
My cute helper

After adding more powdered sugar than the recipe called for, I finally finished my coconut cake.

Finally, coconut cake!
Finally, coconut cake!

My gluten-free recipe received rave reviews from my husband, Ellebee, who came by for a play date the next day, and most importantly, my wheat-allergic sister. All's well that tastes well, I say!

Coconut Cake with Cardamom

This is a very belated posting but I did make this Cake in November!
Here is the link to the original posting on my blog.
Perils of baking a cake...

Instead of baking it in 3, 9 inch pans, baked it in 2, 9 inch pans!!!
Lessons: 1. Watching Top Chef while spreading the Filling for the the cake layers will lead to the Niagara Effect!
Greasing and Flouring the Pans was not perfect, shearing off a tiny top section!

I have twisted the recipe given in the blog by adding fresh green Cardamom powder alongwith 1/2tsp of vanilla. I also added one tsp of fine coconut powder, instead of sweetened coconut flakes to the frosting for the layers.
•3/4 cup sugar
•1 cup sour cream
•4 tablespoons milk
•1/2 cup fine coconut powder
• 3 green cardamom, crushed or just powder of the seeds.
The recipe calls for another Frosting to cover the entire cake.. however since I lost steam at that point, we had the cake without the frosting!

Posted by -Shri

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Coconut Cake for no good reason

Posted by - Brooke
So this was my first month participating in "Have the Cake". And while I had hoped to make my cake earlier in the month, I found that I was searching for an occasion, a birthday, dinner party etc. Given that Decembers challenge was creeping up on me I decided that yesterday was as good a day as any! I got my spring form pans ready, preheated the oven and embarked on my first coconut cake. I had planned to use a recipe that was passed along by our Have the Cake creator, but found myself a tad intimidated by the frosting which required a double boiler. I opted instead for Ina Gartens recipe; surely the Barefoot Contessa must know what she is doing??

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
For the frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

Double boiler aside, there were a few hurdles. I accidentally added the vanilla twice instead of the almond extract. And I was ill prepared for the coconut amounts to be measured not in cups but in ounces. So eyeballing that was a tad challenging:

I tried to err on the side of caution, but thought, is this cake supposed to be SO coconutey? Is that even a word? And then the cake batter seemed a little skimpy for my cake pans, I worried it wouldn't rise enough:

And then I was concerned the cake might be a tad overdone:

Surely this would be concealed by the addition of the glorious frosting? Frosting, which for the record was very user-friendly and quite tasty!

All in all I was thrilled to have dusted off my apron. I had forgotten how fun baking is and how much it reminds me of when I was a child. My mother called me periodically throughout the day inquiring about the status of my cake. It was very sweet. And I was reminded that baked goods bring such a smile to peoples faces. The cake (seriously it must weigh ten pounds with the plate) made it safely to my office. Everyone is looking forward to a slice after lunch! And I am looking forward to Decembers challenge which will only take a backseat to my annual tradition of making iced Christmas cookies. Both of which I plan to do with my mom this time!!!

November - Coconut Cake

Posted by Gerri

I baked my Coconut Cake on December 5. We were spending a long weekend in New Hampshire. I thought, "Why not take all the ingredients and bake in the relaxing atmosphere of the country?" It worked. The warmth of the wood burning stove and snow seem to go well with the fluffy cake.

I used the recipe Tori posted and found it was easy to manage and turned out well considering I was using an electric stove.
My father-in-law didn't have a wooden spoon that would work, so I used chopsticks to make the holes. I also didn't find the round pans until the next day.
This frosting reminded me of marshmallow fluff. Yum!

I never made a coconut cake before but remember the delicious ones my great aunt used to make. Not bad for a first attempt and I think I'll be making more soon. My in-laws and co-workers received several "hunks" because we couldn't risk keeping too much of it around. Thanks for the inspiration, Tori.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Coconut Cupcakes

"Where's your wicking layer?"

That was the first thing that Alan, my running partner, said to me when I met up with him on Sunday morning to go for a long run.

I stood there. Hands on my hips. Staring at him. For probably a full minute.

In the meantime, I had this internal monologue going through my head.

Wicking? Layer? in candle? Is he trying to say that I should cover myself in wax? Is this some kind of weird innuendo that I've never heard of before? Where's Donna when you need her? Should I be backing away right now, slowly? I mean, you think you know a person and then they come up to you and say something like this and it just goes to show you that you can never really know someone and-

At this point, Alan is circling me, looking me up and down in disbelief.

Kind of like a vulture, circling his prey.

He is not helping his case.

I get ready to run for it. Just in case he pounces.

"You don't have a windbreaking layer either. OR a thermal layer. And you're wearing a cotton sweatshirt."
Finally it occurs to me that perhaps he is not insane and that maybe, just maybe, the miscommunication is actually due to my inability to be coherent at 8AM.

"Okay Alan, so you're saying all of these words right now. And I'm not really sure how they apply to me. At this moment."

He looks at me, exasperated.

"Where's your winter running gear?"

So then I looked around. And noticed that everyone in the park was wearing gloves. And a hat. And a jacket. Some people were even in parkas. Tourists, I thought, mentally shaking my head in disbelief.

And there I was, wearing my spandex. And a sweatshirt. Obviously rejecting the notion that we might not be in Kansas anymore. And it might not be 70 degrees and sunny again. For a long, long time.

So we went for the run and it ended up warming up to about 52 degrees, which was fine. I managed to escape without any frostbitten fingers and toes, which was really all I could ask for. But I was shaken. I will concede.

When I got home, I called my mother and informed her that I was severely lacking in the wicking layer department. This got her very nervous.

"I also need a thermal layer and a windbreaking layer", I added, trying to sound authoritative and knowledgeable.

The more technical terms, the better.

"Plus I hear it's going to be really cold this winter. Starting sometime after Christmas. Probably December 26th to be exact. And boy, that winter running gear would really come in handy then..."
I can see her now as she ran to my father after getting off the phone with me. "Your daughter is hypothermic. We are going to Modell's. Now."

I have learned that all I have to do is plant a pretty innocuous seed in her head and she somehow manages to blow it entirely out of proportion. I fully expect that when I go home for Thanksgiving, she will have found some way to associate my lack of winter running gear with the imminent threat of nuclear war.

In the meantime, I am not ready to give into winter just yet. I don't want layers. Layer cake, maybe. But layers of long underwear followed by underarmour followed by a windbreaker? That's just unappealing.

So I will perpetuate my own denial for a while. And these coconut cupcakes with their coconut cream cheese frosting were just enough to send visions of palm trees and tropical islands through my head. So thank god for Have the Cake, the theme of which for this month was Coconut Cake. And whoever had the foresight to know that this little bit of summer was just what I would need to get me out of my early winter slump.
Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 2 dozen, adapted from The Bon Appetit Cookbook (the recipe was originally for Coconut Layer Cake but cupcakes are much easier to bring to class and share with my friends)

3 cups cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp coconut extract
14 oz coconut milk, divided
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar (or more to taste)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually add sugar and beat unti light and fluffy. Add in applesauce. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each. Mix in vanilla and coconut extracts. Reserve 1/4 cup of coconut milk for frosting. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with remaining coconut milk. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites and cream of tartar in another large bowl until medium-firm peaks form. Fold 1/3 of whites into cake batter to lighten, then fold in remaining whites.

2. Pour batter into cupcake tins. Bake about 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pans 15 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

3. Make frosting - beat cream cheese and butte rin a large bowl until smooth. Gradually sift powdered sugar over, mixing until well combined. Gradually add enough of the reserved 1/4 cup of coconut milk to make frosting spreadable. Chill for 1 hour.

4. Ice cupcakes. Eat.

Thankful it turned out YUMMY!! (My Coconut Cake)

Posted by - Tina

As usual, my baking experience this month was ... eventful. I decided to make the coconut cake for this challenge as an offering for our Annual Transplants Thanksgiving (where me and several of my friends - Aussies and Brits that I met in New York - get together and have a mostly traditional American feast in Merry Ole England), along with my standard pumpkin pie.

Being between contracts, I decided I'd take all day Wednesday and just potter around the kitchen, baking with ease and present my version of Jamie Oliver/Paula Deene's coconut cake to WOW the friends.

Well... mostly.

I should have known when I nearly left the grocery store without COCONUT that it was going to be a challenging afternoon.

The highlights:
• When the recipe says to cream the softened butter, S-O-F-T butter really is required (not melted, not still mostly chilly but not exactly rock hard: soft).
• When adding flour to a large spinning bowl of said creamed butter, the ensuing dust cloud that floats out over the kitchen is not only cough-inducing, it’s far-reaching. We’re talking several feet in diameter, people.
• Balancing an Ikea bowl inside a pan of boiling water and attempting to use a hand blender to make 7 min un-grainy frosting is nerve wracking. And possibly requires more coordination (or hands) than I possess.
• When the recipe says to cook the cakes for 25-30 minutes, it’s probably best not to rely solely on the visual test (“hmmm, really really brown on top, must be done!”). Use a toothpick. Use several, in fact.
• When flipping a cake out of the pan onto a plate, Listen carefully. If the cake thuds down like a lump of … Oh, I don’t know – uncooked batter, it’s probably not the light, fluffy sponge cake you’re hoping for.
• Electric stove burners stay HOT for a very long time after they’re turned off. So don’t take the cakes out of the oven and set them on one of these hot little burners to ‘cool’. It will keep cooking. Until it burns. And smells.
• Always buy enough ingredients to make 2 batches of cake. Trust me on this.
• Just because you bought cake pans at the same time, it doesn’t make them the same size. Measure.
• Do not get so wrapped up in trying to be artistic in the photo taking process that you don’t see when you’ve accidentally pressed ‘Delete All Files’ on your camera.

If you do, you’ll have no pictures to show your friends of the gorgeous (lopsided) white fluffy coconut cake that eventually turned out absolutely scrummy and was the hit of Transplants Thanksgiving.

I absolutely LOVE coconut cake. But I just don’t think I have the nerve to ever try this recipe again.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Getting Over A Fear of Coconut

I spent a restless month.  Sometimes, it is a problem, being a team player because being one, means making a coconut cake even though I have been excused from duty and can make a plain cake.  All month, I came up with ideas.  Substitute nuts for the coconut.    What about some shredded carrot in the frosting?  Make a layer cake with white frosting - no one will eat it any more than if it had coconut.  This continued throughout the month.  Frustration reigned.

Yesterday, I checked in here to see what everyone was doing and you broke through my wall of confusion.  I knew what to do.  First, I must say I am thoroughly impressed with your creations.  I hope I did not miss making comments on each of yours because each one is special, in its own right.  I love that we take different roads to get to the end.  I certainly did.

Keep in mind, my cake has to be gluten free so I made it with a combination of rice flour, potato starch and tapioca flour.  I followed Paula Deen's recipe, replacing the flour with this combo.  I made 6 little bundts (thanks to Joanne) and finally, I made frosting for one.    Here is the story of my little cakes.


I wanted to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm so glad that you've all become part of this little baking family.

All the best to you and your families!

I wonder if anyone is having coconut cake for thanksgiving?

Monday, November 23, 2009

A BEAUTIFULL COCONUT WEDDING CAKE(psst psst....its delicious too...)

Wedding cake huh?Beautifull yeah,beautifull in our hearts ,to our hearts, Yeah u read right-w/o really planning it or anything ,i actually ended up having the frosted cake ready(not all made it to the frosting table) on their wedding anniv which really had me so so so thrilled & the eager beaver in me with the joys of spring served it to all as their wedding cake & even my littlest bro who has absolutely no sweet tooth & doesnt indulge/join in,in our cookie espresso parties had a few helpings of these and before long it had all vanished.....

And snowy white coz thats exactly what this frosting is -smooth & snowy white & sets beautifully-give it an overnight to set-beautiful!!!
I have been travelling around blogosphere & a whole new world awaits,a whole new exciting world & while munching on oreos & exploring i discovered a wonderfull site with a wonderfull monthly challenge on-------have the cake,u must read all about this exciting challenge here----& the november challenge is a coconut cake.

Have the cake -i read all around and just wanted to be a part of this group so darted an email & Rena was so sweet & warm ,that got me all the more enthu to participate.And having somebody so sweet behind this event immediatly send me the positive vibes.(found out about this thanks to ---joanne-thank u Joanne)
Oh it was much fun emails flying to & fro & loved how with a quick search she came up with A GREAT LIST of substitutions for me(something i truly need) & oh got down to the joy of baking.............
Coconut cake is something i associate about Goa-for it famous coconut based delicacies galore-which i recently baked & to perfection, so with this lovely coconut cake i could actually take in the aromas while reading the recipe,was sure about this recipe though i'll have to miss the filling and thus the layered version for want of good sour cream(i make my own by adding few drops of lime or white vinegar or some yoghurt to 25% cream,&stand it for awhile,i dont know how right or wrong i am but thats the closest i get)but i dont think that'll do for this filling though i could have 'tried' with heavy cream(i still dont know where i can get that from around place),risking to lose my lovely cakkey.

Was also tempted to bake a few muffins which i did & loved 'em.
U'll love this must try recipe--------------bookmark it to make ur family high tea or weekend brunch delicious!!!!
I'm sure this'll be great with a white chocolate ganache or white choco butter cream but have stuck to the frosting here & grated white chocolate instead of coconut & a few milk chocolate callebaut arriba callets for the polka dots(ofcourse was tempted to make do with my sprinkles too which am running out of).
Other fact was that had to use my hands to whisk & whip (but rest assured my hamilton beach all metal carmine red-hopefully-might soon be on its way-i hope i have made the right choice here)but have been doing just that for the last few months and have been paddling my own canoe where whisking is concerned and am fine about it.
I was so thrilled to see 'me' virtually as in sugarplumfairy on the list of bakers-thank u rena for the invite & addition.

Coconut ,coconut & coconut galore..
oh the sweetness & soft white flesh we adore!!!!!
Curries,rices ,soups & desserts or a brew,
Oh in fantastic cakes to it shines thru!!!
Oh i so enjoyed baking this so much though its purely 'hand made-whats wrong with that or what exactly is that now u ask-well well well hand made = hand whisked the good 'ol grandma way :-))))
So while i was wisking the gorgeous butter ,then butter & sugar & then eggs ,one at a time,well well i got to see NO RESERVATIONS ,now isnt that a double treat+the batter was delicious from the word go & had fun with the fillings too...atta gurl......way to go!!!!!
I got 9 big cuppys& 2 small ones & a big little one!!!
This cake is absolutely soft & moist with a tighter crumb & am so glad i stuck to this simple easy but gorgeous recipe. The coconut flavour get even better the next day & is just right ...loved it...we all did...
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1.5 cups sifted self-rising flour
1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1.Cream butter well till light and fluffy,add sugar and beat well (really really well)
2.Add eggs ,one at a time ,beating well between each addition.-Oh the mixture is a gorgeous moussy creamy mix by now
3.Now tip in flour & coconut milk,begining & ending with flour.
4.Add vanilla & beat just until mixed.
5.Ok now if u want a filling fill cupcake cakes 2/3rd ,nutella in one,milk chocolate callets in another or dark chocolate -pineapple would be fantastic too but i had nonE.

-as i said i hand whisked this icing& since i dont have an electic hand beater ,i replaced 1/2 cup of sugar with icing sugar as wasnt sure if my arms would take all the whisking to dissolve the sugar-it aint mentioned but for a fristing like this i guess castor or superfine sugar would be it but i didn have that either.
-I absolutely didn allow the water to touch my luminarc glass bowl but yet it got a wee bit grainy which we all ignored coz it set in really well,was delicious & complemented the coconut cake really well.also a frosting as this keeps the cake from drying out.
-I took around 14 mins,whisking with my hands that i was & switched between boiling & simmering water.
-I could have started again coz its just egg white & sugar but still i thought it would be sad to waste such beautiful snowy white frosting-a bowl full at that!!!
-U need to work a little quick with this when ur frosting the cake as it begins to set in!!!
3/4 cups sugar
1/8teaspoon cream of tartar or 1/2 tablespoon white corn syrup (I USED LIME JUICE AS A SUBSTITUTE)
1/6 cup water
1 egg white
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1.Place sugar,cream of tartar/lime juice,salt,water,egg whites in the top of a double boiler or glass bowl that fits on a pan of simmering water so as the water not to touch the glass bowl(we dont want grainy icing do we?)
2.Beat well with a whisk for 3-4 mins(1 min if u have hand held mixer)
3.Place pan /bowl over boiling water making sure the top poan doesnt touch the boiling water.
4.Beat constantly with a whisk(10-14 mins,aw my arms)but a electric hand beater will do it for u in 7 mins on high.
5.Finally beat in vanilla.



(was actuaaly reduced to tears with this post and the iron cuppy post-yeah have been tring to upload & post since 22nd & either blogger/flicker refuses to co-operate or m netbook does-had to spend a night w/o sleeping (though my eyelids were drooping but i had no choice and so wanted the posts up..:-((( ) BUT AFTER THE POST WAS POSTED & UP ,I WAS ALL SMILES & AM ADMITTING TO THE POINT OF SOUNDING SILLY BUT THEN ,I FALL IN LOVE ALL THE TIME & ALMOST THOUGHT OF IT AS LABOUR WITH A BUNDLE OF JOY ,BUT NO UR BUNDLE OF JOY CAN COMPARE TO NONE & THEN HOW WOULD I KNOW......