I have no idea why I chose this cake to make last week when I wandered into the kitchen in the mood to bake. Of all the cake recipes in the MSBH (and there are many I have left to do), this seemed the least desireable to my particular palate. But I am a convert now! This cake is awesome.
The cake is a pretty basic cake recipe that contains both shredded coconut (finely chopped in a food processor and stirred in with the dry ingredients) and unsweetened coconut milk instead of regular milk or buttermilk. In fact, this would be a perfect cake for people with dairy allergies because there is no dairy in the cake or in the frosting.
The cake is supposed to be baked in two 9-inch square cake pans. I only have 8-inch pans and I should have held back some of the batter, but didn’t. The cake still baked up just fine, but I should have trimmed more off when leveling the two cakes. Oh well, I’ll know better next time.
The Seven-Minute Frosting recommended for this recipe involves cooking water, egg whites, sugar, and light corn syrup over a double boiler. I’ve never taken this approach to frosting before.
The recipe indicating bringing the ingredients up to 160°F but I noticed that the egg whites starting cooking (coming together in little white cooked blobs) at about 140°F so I took it off the heat then. This may have actually been 160 (or higher) as I haven’t calibrated my thermometer in a long time, if I even did it at all. In any event, I used a slotted spoon to scoop out the cooked bits before transferring the bowl to the mixer.
It takes about two minutes to cook the frosting ingredients and then they’re mixed on high-speed with a whisk attachment for five minutes, hence “seven-minute frosting.” The mixing process increases the volume of the frosting exponentially. It smells a lot like cooked eggs while being whisked but you add some vanilla at the end which solves that problem altogether. The resulting frosting is AMAZING: light and glossy, a very subtle vanilla-y sweetness, doesn’t leave any sort of nasty, cloyingly sweet aftertaste like so many frostings do.
Here’s the first cake layer with a layer of frosting. I went way overboard and should have used about half the amount here!
Then the top layer. I really just took this picture because it looks like a giant fluffernutter sandwich. I’ve never had a fluffernutter sandwich – something about marshmallow and peanut butter sounds disgusting to me.
Then a crumb layer:
Then finally the frosting goes on the whole cake. I hate doing this sort of thing and the Seven-Minute Frosting wasn’t altogether easy to work with. It starts to liquify as it warms up so I was working quickly. I do love the glossy waves that result from swooping the offset spatula through the frosting.
The MSBH recipe for the Coconut Cake instructs you to make coconut curls from an actual coconut, the same way you do for the Coconut Cream Pie. Since I’ve been-there and done-that and decided it was a million times more work than it was worth, I opted to just sprinkle the top with shredded coconut and call it good.
The coconut milk in the cake itself makes the cake very rich and moist and the coconut flavor is so prominent that you don’t really need a flavored frosting (or even the coconut curls or shredded coconut on the frosting). The main thing I learned is that less is more with both the cake and the frosting – my cake would have been much prettier and much tastier if I had thinner cake layers and been a bit more conservative with the frosting.
All in all, however, I love this cake and will make it again.