Last Friday the writer of this article was stuck in transit with nothing but cake on her mind. It’s not the best idea to arm a hungry girl with a smartphone, but out came her iPhone and soon she was aggressively searching anything that had to do with coconut and cake. Why coconut came to mind, she’s not too sure. She just knows that end-of-the-week hunger inspired her and soon a coconut cake is all that would calm her mind.
She came across the Epicurious Coconut Layer Cake recipe. This cake asked for cream of coconut, buttermilk, and cream cheese frosting. Basically rabid after reading the indulgent recipe list, she got off at her station, and headed straight for the grocery store.
Coconut Layer Cake
2 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
pinch of salt
4 cups sweetened shredded coconut
cream cheese frosting
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter and sweetened cream of coconut in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients and then buttermilk, each just until blended.
Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites with pinch of salt in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold beaten egg whites into batter.
Divide cake batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack 10 minutes. Run small sharp knife around pan sides to loosen cakes. Turn cakes out onto racks and cool completely.
Place 1 cake layer on cake plate. Spread 1 cup Cream Cheese Frosting over cake layer. Sprinkle 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut over. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle remaining coconut over cake, gently pressing into sides to adhere. (Coconut Layer Cake can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours before serving.)
Epicurious does a great job at simplifying the instructions to this fairly simple cake. So it should come as no surprise that she still ended up flubbing these steps.
Between chatting with her boyfriend about the last gross thing she did when oil pulling and making a breakfast smoothie for herself, she began absentmindedly combining ingredients without really reading the instructions that said “Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter and sweetened cream of coconut in large bowl until fluffy.” Instead, she combined these wet ingredients with the dry ones. She realized her error when it became impossible to make her mixture “fluffy.” She was so annoyed with herself that she threw the egg yolks and vanilla in the batter too.
Then came the issue of the pans. She was so sure that she had two 9-inch diameter cake pans that she did not even bother to look for them until her batter was made. After ten minutes of frazzled searching, she concluded that she was either going to bake a giant cake in a steel pot she uses to boil pasta or create a mini wedding cake out of three different sized CorningWare dishes. Obviously, the wedding cake sounded a lot more exciting to her, so that’s what she went with.
A wedding cake it was not. After baking the batter in the three dishes, she saw the center had fallen in. When trying to pop the cakes from the CorningWares, she lost a bit of cake. And yet, after frosting her creation (with Duncan Hines Cream Cheese Frosting ) and the sweet coconut flakes, it looked cute. Pretty even.
We at Silver Spork recommend this cake to all those who like a moist, sweet, nutty confection. If your heart ever desires the crunchy coating of coconut flakes and dessert that looks like mounds of snow, bake the Coconut Layer Cake. Even if you mess up the instructions, it’ll turn out as indulgent as you could possibly imagine.
Post and Photo by Nandini Ahuja. Recipe from Epicurious.