May is a horrible month for my family. Horrible, yet wonderful at the same time. There’s Mother’s Day, my nephew’s birthday, my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding anniversary, my grandma’s birthday and my dad’s birthday. Generally, this means there’s a lot of celebrating and over eating. Celebrations means cake of course, but by the time we’re at my dad’s birthday we’re usually all caked-out. Still, you can’t have a birthday without cake, so I made my dad a tiny coconut cake just big enough for the seven of us to share.
This coconut cake is moist and coconut-y due to the coconut milk and shredded coconut in the batter. For me, the best part about making a cake for someone, aside from the look on their face when they see and taste it, is lopping off the tops to eat. Layer cakes have to be even, but cakes don’t usually bake up flat, so there’s quite a bit of cake you can eat right away.
This recipe bakes up great as cupcakes as well, and actually, that’s what the recipe’s intended for, but I find cake so much more festive.
Coconut Cake Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
makes a two layer 4 1/2 inch cake that will serve 7 people that have consumed too much cake in the past two weeks
Note: I grossly miscalculated and thought I wouldn’t have enough batter, so I doubled this recipe and had a major disaster as you can see from the photos. If you’re planning on making mini 4 1/2 inch cakes, follow the recipe below!
2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup un-sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 + 2 tablespoons coconut milk
3/4 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 stick of room temperature butter
2/3 cups sugar
1 large egg and 1 large egg white
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line two 4 1/2 inch springform pans with parchment circles.
Sift the dry ingredients and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and egg white and mix well.
Add the dry and wet ingredients. Start by adding a third of the dry ingredients, mix, then add half the wet ingredients, mix, add another third of the dry ingredients, mix, add the last half of the wet ingredients, mix and then add the remaining third of the dry ingredients.
Divide the batter evenly among the two pans and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Smitten is my favourite food blog on the net, partially due to her candor, but mostly due to the fact that I trust her recipes. Out of all of the recipes I’ve made from her site, not one has been a dud. It’s no surprise that Deb is one of the most popular food sites ever and I was very pleasantly not-so-surprised when I saw a discreet button on her sidebar announcing The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Congrats Deb!
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
12 tablespoons of room temperature butter
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
Whisk the egg whites and sugar in your metal mixer bowl over a pot of simmering water. Continue to whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Test by dipping a finger in and rubbing it against another finger. If you can feel any grains of sugar, you’re good to go.
Lift the bowl off the pot of simmering water and be sure to wipe away and water condensation on the bottom of the bowl. Using the whisk attachment, whip the egg mixture starting on low a low speed and moving to high until it turns white and doubles in size. The eggs will cool down while whipping and when you touch the bottom of the metal bowl, it should be cool before you add any butter.
Switch to the paddle and slowly whip in the butter a tablespoon at a time. The mixture might look like it’s curdling, but it will come together into a lovely fluffy mass of delicious, not-too-sweet frosting. When all the butter is whipped in, add the coconut extract.