Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Study in White: Coconut Cake

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barefoot-contessa-coconut-cake (3)As a blizzard blasts the east, it's no surprise I have white on my mind. Wet snow clings to every tree and just when it appears to slow, another blast of snow falls. The only vehicles on my road today have been plows (and my poor husband leaving for work).  It's supposed to continue into the night, so Jeff will be firing up the snowblower when he gets home. To be sure snow isn't the only white he sees, I decided to whip up Ina Garten's Coconut Cake. Much more comforting than any snowstorm, this cake is flavored with vanilla and almond extracts, as well as plenty of coconut. The cream cheese frosting adds another layer of flavor... and whiteness!

This recipe appears in Barefoot Contessa At Home. Find her original Coconut Cupcakes in her first cookbook. Whether you go for bite-sized or the whole shebang, this is a delicious cake - moist, flavorful and all-around satisfying. Perhaps a mug of hot cocoa on the side...? We shall see...

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As you might guess, I made a few modifications. I added a bit more almond extract to the frosting and reduced the butter to 1 1/2 sticks. I also reduced the amount of powdered sugar - I used about 2/3 pound. I added a bit at a time until it got to the consistency and sweetness I like. I had more than enough to frost the cake - I actually had about 1/2 cup leftover. Oh! Watch the cooking time for the cakes. Mine were done after 40 minutes. I'd start with 35 minutes or so and see how they're doing. These cakes are dense so you really don't want them dry (I used dark metal non-stick Calphalon cake pans).

Coconut Cake
From Barefoot Contessa at Home, by Ina Garten
also available on
  • 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
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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth (don't whip!).

To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.
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Krystle said...

Looks delish!!

Tami said...

A girl after my own heart! White coconut cake has always been my dream birthday cake, yet I've yet to make it for that day. This looks so tasty I can almost taste it!

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