It has been too long, and we are glad to be back to blogging here at the farm. We hope absence makes the heart grow fonder. And since we have been (mostly) absent, we decided to return with something special, Coconut Layer Cake. And trust us, this is quite a cake. And since we are all about gilding lilies in our kitchen, why not add some hot fudge sauce? Got a problem with that? We didn’t think so….and there is a method to our madness. As we said, this is quite the cake. It is sweet and flavorful and incredibly moist. So moist, it seems that the coconut and butter are barely held in suspension. This is the good stuff. The only “issue” with this cake is that it is so moist and sweet with coconut that you need something else to balance it out. This is where the hot fudge comes in. It may seem ironic to cut sweetness with hot fudge, but chocolate is a naturally earthy counterpoint to coconut, so it works here. (Come to think of it, hot fudge sauce seems to fix all sorts of problems….) So what is the secret to this cake? As with many coconut recipes, the secret is using cream of coconut. For most of us, that means Coco Lopez. If you are unfamiliar with Coco Lopez, it is the stuff that makes your Pina Colada so tasty. It is also a very good way to use coconut in many recipes, as it is probably the most consistent coconut product you can work with (coconut milk can be inconsistent in fat content, and flaked coconut sweetness varies). The only issue with Coco Lopez is that it is very sweet, so most recipes using it adjust sugar or other sweeteners accordingly. For frosting, you can go in many directions (and there are multiple versions of this recipe out there to work from- pick your favorite) but Carolyn went with an egg white buttercream. Basically this combines meringue with buttercream and adds more Coco Lopez. How can you go wrong? Finally we do have to say that this cake, while by no means a chore, takes a little extra time to make. We suggest 4 layers, the frosting is a bit fussy and you have to whip up the hot fudge sauce. But once you taste the cake, we think you will love it…and your family will demand that you make it again. So be prepared. Coconut Layer Cake With Hot Fudge Sauce: (Hot fudge sauce adapted from the Gramercy Tavern Cookbook) Notes Before You Start:
- If you can’t find Coco Lopez in the store, look for “cream of coconut”. Sometimes you can find Coco Lopez in the liquor section of the market or liquor stores.
- If you don’t want to deal with cutting the cake into 4 layers, 2 still work, but 4 layers means extra frosting in every bite. We think it is worth the effort.
What You Get: Incredibly sweet, moist cake. What You Need: Cream of coconut and a stand mixer is a big help. No other special equipment required. How Long? A couple of hours. This one takes a while. But it’s worth it. Coconut Layer Cake: Ingredients: Cake:
- 3/4 cup cream of coconut (Coco Lopez)
- 1/4 cup water
- 5 egg whites, plus one egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract (optional, but good)
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter. Cut into 12 pieces and softened
- 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 egg whites
- A pinch of salt
- 4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, cut into 2 dozen pieces and softened
- 1/4 cup cream of coconut (Coco Lopez)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
- 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Place a rack in the lower-middle part of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Grease and flour 2, 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream of coconut, water, egg whites, whole eggs and extracts.
- In a large bowl whisk together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using an electric mixer at low-speed, beat the butter into the flour mixture, one piece at a time, about 30 seconds. Beat the mixture until it resembles cornmeal and the butter pieces are the size of peas, another 1-3 minutes.
- While the mixer is running add 1 cup of the egg mixture. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy 45-60 seconds. Then slowly add the rest of the egg mixture. Stop, scrape the sides of the bowl and mix at high-speed for 15-20 seconds, until the batter is fully combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Smooth the top and tap to release any air bubbles and place the pans in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Rotate the pans halfway through baking.
- When done, cool the cakes in the pan for 10 minutes. Then run a knife around the outside of the cakes and turn them out to cool on a wire rack. Let cool completely before frosting.
- Before frosting, cut both cakes in half lengthwise so you have 4 cakes.
- Before frosting the cake, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the shredded coconut on a sheet pan and bake in the oven, stirring a few times, until golden brown. 5 -7 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Set up a double boiler with a large heatproof bowl over a medium pot filled with an inch of just simmering water. Add the sugar, egg whites and salt and whisk until the mixture is cloudy and hits 120 degrees on a thermometer (digital is faster/better here), about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Beat the mixture with an electric mixer at high-speed until the mixture is very sticky, 6-7 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium-high and add the butter, one piece at a time. Next, beat in the cream of coconut and extracts. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl and then mix at medium-high until the frosting forms about 1 minute.
Finishing The Cake:
- Line the edges of your cake platter / plate with parchment strips to keep the plate clean and then add each layer of the cake, frosting each layer, until all layers are added. Then frost the sides of the cake. Coat the top and sides with the toasted coconut. Remove parchment strips before serving.
- Using a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the chocolate with the butter and corn syrup over low heat.
- Add the cream and brown sugar and increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Serve immediately, or allow to cool and then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
- Otherwise, pour the hot fudge over a slice of coconut layer cake. Enjoy. Repeat.