I was up with family again this weekend, which means an opportunity to create another big family dinner! On Saturday evening, merriment was had, grandbaby/nephew was fawned over (as per usual), and great food was consumed with all evidence of enjoyment and satisfaction. And OMG Pelicanz the FOOD…sooo muuuch good food…!
Le menu: Focaccia-crusted Asian salmon filets, Sea Scallops Provençale, Potatoes Dauphinoise, steamed Frenched (AKA julienned) green and yellow beans and matchstick carrots, a leaf-lettuce salad with homemade garlic cheese focaccia croutons, and store bought bakery buns (hey, we had to draw the line somewhere, right?). Dessert was a homemade 2-layer coconut cake with cream cheese coconut frosting (made by yours truly, of course!).
I will post some of the recipes of my most favourite dinner dishes separately; however, the coconut cake will have a step-by-step tutorial below. I am well-known for switching-up a recipe to suit my tastes and my extensive baking knowledge (as in, I usually know what I can safely change in a baking recipe and what I can’t), but in this case, I followed the estimable Ina Garten/Barefoot Contessa’s cake recipe to a T. The reason why I actually stuck to a recipe this time? Simple: while I do love my family’s gourmet kitchen, I have varied success with baking cakes in the convection oven, as I don’t normally use convection, and therefore sometimes over-bake my creations…so…I thought I’d not take any chances with this cake, since I really wanted this to be tasty!
Original Source: Barefoot Contessa, Barefoot Contessa at Home
Yield: 10-12 servings
- ¾ lb. unsalted butter, room temp, plus more for greasing the pans
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 5 extra large eggs, room temperature
- 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tsp pure almond extract
- 3 cups AP flour, plus more for dusting the pans
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup 2% or whole milk, room temperature
- 4 oz. sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 lb. (2 blocks) regular cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ lb./1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp pure almond extract
- 1 lb./500g confectioners’ (icing) sugar, sifted
- 6 oz sweetened shredded coconut (I used the larger flaked coconut for decorating the top of the cake to make it prettier, but it’s totally your choice)
Bake in the centre of the oven for 45-55 minutes (rotating pans at least once during baking), until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on baking rack in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto the racks to finish cooling.
For the frosting, combine all the wet ingredients and mix on low speed. Add the icing sugar and mix until just smooth (do not whip).
To assemble, place one layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place second layer on top, top side up, and frost top and sides. Sprinkle top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides.
Now, having made and eaten this cake, I think I would make a few changes if I were to make it again, as I found the cake “as-is” to be a tad dry for my liking…sorry, Contessa!
(And P.S. no, I did not overbake the cake, heh…)
I firstly would torte (split horizontally) both layers to make a 4-layer cake, and wash the tops with a vanilla/almond simple syrup. I would then add a thin raspberry or blackberry jam layer in between each of the torted layers, and only fill the centre layer with the frosting (it’s VERY sweet). I would also only add the flaked coconut to the top layer only as opposed to the top and sides, as it’s a bit too much coconut for my taste. But then again, that’s the (secret) fun of baking; there are nearly infinite ways to change up a recipe to suit your own tastes and preferences!