Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Piece of (Birthday) Cake

I surprised Henry for his birthday last week by making his favorite cake in the world - my Aunt Lynne's Coconut Cake.  Turns out a practice run would've been a good idea, but now I know that next time I can make a delicious cake!  This time it turned out pretty dry and unevenly shaped...

I followed the recipe below exactly, but my cakes baked faster than the recipe said.  I was watching them, but was expecting the cakes to look a little darker when they were done - they didn't.  So they were not burned, but overdone and dry.  I also thought there must be a reason the recipe didn't say to level the cake layers before stacking - so I didn't do it.  MISTAKE!  The cake was much taller in the middle than on the sides and the gaps between the layers made it very hard to ice and make pretty.  SO, next time I will pull the cakes out earlier for toothpick testing and I will use a serrated knife to make the layers flat and even before stacking.  Otherwise, this is a great recipe - everyone looks forward to Aunt Lynne's amazing cake every Easter!


16 servings

4 cups cake flour
3 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
6 egg whites
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup light coconut milk

1 8-ounce brick reduced-fat (also known as Neufchatel) cream cheese
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 16-ounce box confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ cup raspberry jam

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat three 8-inch round cake pans with Crisco. * Line bottoms of pans with
waxed paper; coat paper with Crisco; dust pans with flour.
2. In medium size bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside
3. With mixer on medium speed, beat butter and granulated sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add
egg whites one at a time, beating after each one. Beat in 1 teaspoon coconut extract. On low speed, beat
flour mixture alternately with coconut milk into butter mixture, beating after each addition. Spread into
prepared pans; batter is fairly thick.
4. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of layers comes out clean and
cakes begin to pull away from side of pans. Cool layers in pans on cooling rack 10 minutes. Remove
cakes from pans; cool completely
5. Frosting: In large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. On low speed, beat in
confectioner’s sugar, coconut extract and lemon juice until smooth and good (but thick) spreading
consistency. Add a few drops of water, if needed, for easier spreading.
6. Place one layer on plate. Spread with half of raspberry jam. Top with second layer and spread with
remaining jam. Top with last layer. To keep cake layers from sliding, secure stacked cake by inserting 4
wooden skewers through all the layers in a square pattern, one skewer in each corner. Spread frosting on
side of cake and most of top. Remove skewers and finish frosting the top.
7. Press handfuls of coconut gently into sides of cake, using a bowl underneath the area you are working to catch excess. (It helps to elevate the cake on a box or something, if you are not using a pedestal cake plate.)
Continue around cake and sprinkle coconut over the top.

* Never use cooking spray on your good cake pans, regardless of what the recipe says. The aerosol
propellant in the spray will eventually make them permanently sticky and ruin them.

This makes a great cake for Easter...mostly because it's extremely delicious, which I guess makes it a great cake for any occasion!  A couple of other cute Easter cake ideas:

Source with recipe
Source with another coconut cake recipe
Source with recipe and instructions
Let me know if you make Aunt Lynne's cake - it really is one of the best!

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