Monday, April 28, 2014

Coconut Cake..

So the very first recipe posted was a coconut cake and I was very excite because I really do love a good coconut fan.  I also thought oh no problem, I got this cause well damn it I can bake! I put it off and put if off. I decided I could do it for Easter, I ended up with Saturday and Sunday off and knew it was gonna take some work but I was sure I could do it.. I assumed of course!

Little notes, I could NOT find a can of coconut milk anywhere!! So I bought a box in the nutrition section of my local grocery store. Whether it was correct or not omg the flavor was unbelievable and well anyone who can drink coconut water.. High Five cause I choked it down and never will again! 
Now this cake has 4 steps before even putting it together; and reading the recipe I would say you should be a little familiar with each step in order to successfully make this cake. I have experience and still had a few issues!

The cake for instance, it is a very different way of mixing it together but it was pretty nifty. I think because of the wording of the recipe I was afraid to over mix the batter but now I think I lost building volume from my egg whites because I didn't mix it long enough.  The reason I think this is because once baked both cakes fell in the center. I spoke with the host of the recipe and she made cupcakes out of the recipe and all of her cupcakes fell as well. It could just be the recipe but perhaps one day I will test my theory and mix it longer. I also was not a huge fan of the cake layers themselves, though great flavor they were a bit like Genoise and that was a sponge cake I simply never truly liked. In the end chose to remake my layers with my favorite lazy cake mix adding coconut extract and moving on!

Next the syrup.. so easy and smells amazing! no tricks or problems there!!

The pastry cream.. this pastry cream could be the best thing EVER!! I fully intend to remake it and use it to make a coconut cream pie in the near future! My only issue was I think I needed to cook it longer just to thicken up a little bit more but I admit.. I licked many spoons.. had a few bites.. so on and so forth.. pretty sure you get my point ;).. I do think part of the flavor was that coconut milk. I will use it every time now!
Now.. the biggest issue.. the damn Swiss Buttercream.. ugh. I have gotten lazy yes.. but man why do I need to cook sugar to a degree and added it and beat it forever and hope it works! Obviously since this is the last note.. mine obviously did not work the first time.. see I started out with it and it was beautiful..
I do not deny just how proud I was that I got the sugar to the right point and my egg whites were whipping up beautifully. I whipped them for the 8 min to 10 min.. felt my bowl. It was barely warm and I thought I am ok.. right.. I think.. I hope. And I dropped literally half a tablespoon of butter in.. and 2 minutes later my beautiful egg whites were no longer beautiful.. The above picture is what you want and my next picture is definitely Swiss Buttercream failure!
Half a tablespoon!! Can you believe that!! I wanted to cry!!! Instead.. I washed my bowl and started over.. mostly because I happened to have 6 dozen eggs in my fridge and well.. what the hell.. I had the rest of the damn steps done why stop now! So.. I went through all my steps and this time.. I let those damn sugar syruped egg whites beat for 40 min lol.. they were gonna be damn cool by the time I added that butter! then.. finally it all came together and well. I was just too tired to take a picture of the bowl of icing. I wanted it put together and done ha-ha..

So I will stop running my mouth and give you the recipe! I am not sure where she got the recipe from but I do want to give someone credit so the name of the host of the recipe is Megan Herreid Pires and in the end.. as I still have cake to enjoy I am glad she posted it for our first challenge! I lied haha if I had read further I would have seen this:

"Recipe by: adapted from Zoë Bakes (coconut pastry cream), The Way the Cookie Crumbles (perfect white cake), SAVEUR (inspiration for assembly)" So that is where she got everything from! I feel better being ever to post at least some form of credit for this seriously coconut cake!

The Ultimate Moist, Fluffy, Ridiculous Coconut Cake  

Yield: 9-inch 4-layer cake
This is it. The ultimate coconut cake. Perfect white cake is drizzled with coconut syrup, filled with rich coconut pastry cream, and slathered with coconut Swiss meringue buttercream. If you love coconut, this one’s for you.

Perfect White Cake Ingredients:
2¼ cups cake flour (9 ounces)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup coconut milk
6 large egg whites (¾ cup), at room temperature
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1 inch vanilla bean seeds)
1½ cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (11.35 ounces)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1½ sticks), softened but still cool

Coconut Pastry Cream Ingredients:
1 can (14 fluid ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch kosher salt
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup whipping cream

Coconut Syrup Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup coconut water

Coconut Swiss Buttercream Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites , at room temperature
24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
3 cups sweetened coconut flakes

*NOTE ON TIMING: This cake has many steps, but none of them are particularly hard. For convenience, I’d split it up over 2-3 days. On the first day, bake the cake layers and let them cool before wrapping and freezing them. Make the coconut syrup and leave it covered in the fridge. On the second day, make the coconut pastry cream and frosting. Assemble the cake. Serve it then or on the third day.
Make the cake: Set oven rack in middle position. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or butter/flour two 9-inch cake pans very well. Add a parchment paper circle in the bottom of each and grease that too. You don’t want your layers to stick! Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into a small bowl and whisk gently until blended.

In a large bowl, whisk together cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks left.
Add all but about 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Scrape down the sides of bowl before beating just a little longer.

Divide batter evenly between two prepared cake pans and smooth the tops with a spatula before dropping it from about 3 inches high to eliminate any bubbles in the batter. Arrange pans on middle rack. Bake until a thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs, 23 to 25 minutes. If you wait until the toothpick comes out totally clean, your cake might’ve gone too long and could be dry; be careful not to overbake! Check early and often.

Let the cakes rest in pans for a few minutes before running a knife around the edges of the pan and inverting the cakes onto wire racks. Invert them again so they’ll be right-side up and let them cool completeley, about 1 1/2 hours, before wrapping in wax paper and plastic wrap to freeze until pretty firm, about 30 minutes.
Make the coconut pastry cream: Heat the coconut milk, sugar, salt and vanilla bean or extract in a medium saucepan over medium heat. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and corn starch. Once the cream is hot, remove the vanilla bean (if used), scraping out any remaining seeds and returning them to the cream. Add 1/2 cup of the hot cream slowly to the yolks, whisking as you add, to temper the eggs so they won’t cook into an omelette in the middle of your pastry cream. That would be a bummer. Then pour the yolk mixture into the pot of hot cream and whisk. Continue to whisk with heat on medium-high for 3 more minutes. The mixture will turn thick and bubble. You need to continue to whisk for the full 3 minutes or the pastry cream will separate once it is cool. After the 3 minutes, whisk in the butter. Add the coconut flakes. Pour into a shallow dish to cool.

Cover with plastic wrap pressed right against the pastry cream. This will prevent a thick skin from forming on the surface. Refrigerate for at least an hour or freeze for 30 minutes. Once it is cold, stir the pastry cream to loosen. Whip the 1/2 cup cream to medium peaks. Stir in 1/3 to the pastry cream to lighten. Fold in the remaining cream until the pastry cream is nice and light. Avoid eating entire bowl of pastry cream with a spoon.

To make coconut syrup: Combine the sugar, water, and coconut water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool completely, about 20 minutes.
Make Coconut Swiss buttercream icing: Combine sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil without stirring until syrup reaches 240° on a digital thermometer, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer on medium speed, gradually pour in hot syrup in a thin stream; avoid pouring syrup on whisk. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until stiff peaks form and mixture is cool, about 8 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add butter 1 tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition. (If at any time buttercream appears curdled, beat on high until smooth, then reduce speed to medium and continue beating in butter.) Once all butter is added, beat on high speed until buttercream is smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla and coconut extract.

Assemble the cake: Carefully slice each cake layer in half with a long serrated knife. Drizzle a couple tablespoons of coconut syrup over the “inner” side (the one that seems most porous) of each layer. Spread 1/3 of the coconut pastry cream filling onto the first cake layer. Spread it almost to the edge, but pipe a thick bead of buttercream around the very outside edge of each layer to ensure no spillage. Sprinkle with flaked coconut. Repeat with the other layers. Frost the cake with a very thin crumb coat and set it in the freezer to set for about 15 minutes. Bring it out and continue frosting the rest of the cake generously. Carefully push handfuls of fluffy coconut all over the sides of the cake and on top. Keep the cake in the refrigerator, but let sit out for about 30 minutes before slicing and serving so the frosting will be soft.

This is one hell of a cake and will feed an army no doubt! Oh and I didn't get it made for Easter. When the cakes disappointed me, I remade the layers and waited til my next day off to make it lol.. either way I definitely am enjoying every slice I eat!

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