Sunday, January 27, 2013

Coconut Layer Cake

I made this cake for a coworker's birthday last month and everyone pretty much drooled over it. There was even talk of me opening a bakery. I deserve very little credit though; it's just that the folks over at that cooking publication that must not be named are so good at what they do, and I just happen to be pretty good at following directions. I would love to have a bakery though.

Coconut Layer Cake - plan ahead when making this one, cream of coconut can be a beast to find if you, like me, have lousy grocery stores (I went to six different stores before finally finding it!)

1 large egg
5 large egg whites
3/4c. cream of coconut
1/4c. water
1tsp. vanilla
1tsp. coconut extract
2 1/4c. cake flour
1c. sugar
1T baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
12T unsalted butter
2c. packed sweetened shredded coconut

- adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325. grease two 9 inch cake pans with shortening and dust with flour (I used butter once and had a tough time with the release, so I'm thinking there's something to the shortening on this one) 
- beat egg whites and whole egg in large measuring cup with fork to combine. add the cream of coconut, water, vanilla, and coconut extract and beat with fork until thoroughly combined.
- combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer and mix on lowest speed to combine, about 30 seconds. with mixer still running on lowest speed, add butter one piece at a time, then beat until mixture resembles coarse meal, with butter bits no larger than small peas, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.
- with mixer still running, add 1 cup liquid,. increase the speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds. with mixer still running, add remaining 1 cup liquid in steady stream (this should take about 15 seconds). stop mixer and scraped down bowl with rubber spatula, then beat at medium high to combine, about 15 seconds.
- divide batter between cake pans. bake until deep golden brown, cakes pull away from sides of pans, and toothpick yada yada yada, about 30 minutes, roating cakes after about 20 minutes.
- cool in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool to room temperature. meanwhile, spread shredded coconut on rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven (still at 325) 15 to 20 minutes (stirring 2 or 3 times).
- frost cake with coconut buttercream and coat with fantastic golden, toasted coconut

Coconut Buttercream
4 large egg whites
1c. sugar
pinch salt
1 pound unsalted butter
1/4c. cream of coconut
1tsp. coconut extract
1tsp. vanilla

- combine whites, sugar, and salt in bowl of stand mixer, set bowl over saucepan with barely simmering water. whisk constantly until mixture is opaque and warm to the touch and registers about 120 degrees on instant read thermometer, about 2 minutes (I do this all the time without a thermometer- just time it and pay attention. if it goes too long, you'll know because you'll have cooked eggs!)
- transfer bowl to mixer and beat whites on high speed with whisk attachment until barely warm (about 80 degrees) and whites are glossy and sticky, about 7 minutes. reduce speed to medium high and beat in butter 1 piece at a time. beat in cream of coconut and coconut and vanilla extracts. stop mixer and scrape bottom and sides of bowl. continue to beat at medium high until well combined, about 1 minute.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Vinegar and Oil

I have a giant binder of recipes that recently burst because it was so full. Amabel and I have been going through the process of finding which recipes I have duplicates of, which recipes I'll never ever use, and which recipes I need to try soon lest they grow moss. One little something I found in the binder that I can do away with if I merely record my information is the product reviews. I like to know what my cooking snob resources think of the various brands of essential ingredients. I record the top three and try to find them in the store next time I'm buying them. So, what better place to record the information than on my blog so you can see it too? I am also including links so you can see what the packaging looks like, because, if you're like me, you will not remember the name, but you will remember the look of the label.

Balsamic Vinegar- Lucini Gran Riserva Balsamico, Monari Federzoni, Ortalli (this website is completely in Italian and I couldn't find a good picture. It does appear to be available at Walmart though).

Extra Virgin Olive Oil- Highly Recommended: Columela (couldn't find a website, link is to product on Amazon), Recommended: Lucini Premium Select, Colavita.

I also have a lot of recipes that I need to write down. I am less and less interested in writing things out on recipe cards though. I'm all about the iPad in the kitchen. So, coming soon, more recipes!

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