• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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Coconut Cream Pie Cake

I love an excuse to bake, but I rarely do it unless it’s for other people. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, and the few tastes I get of batters and icings and such along the way is more than enough. But if I bake something, it tends to get eaten one way or another, which the other reason why I don’t bake without an occasion (Matt and I will polish up a plate of cookies just to get them off the kitchen counter). My friend Maggie’s birthday was the perfect excuse to make something I knew she’d love: a big coconut cake.

I called this cake “Coconut Cream Pie Cake” because it has the light layers of coconut cake filled with a creamy coconut custard and then topped with a fluffy white frosting. All together, this can seem daunting – to an apartment cooker or otherwise – because it has three separate components. But each recipe is very simple, and most can be made ahead. It’s a simple coconut cake. The custard filling is easier to make than pastry cream. And the frosting is a variation on the stand-by seven minute frosting (plus the coconut all around the outside makes icing the cake a breeze). If you take this cake one step at a time, you’ll be more than impressed with the results.

Coconut Cream Pie Cake

Makes one 6 layer 8″ cake (or 3 layers)
Leftover Potential: If it’s not all devoured at a special event, this cake will last refrigerated for a day or two in the fridge, but be careful, the frosting can begin to weep.

Coconut Cream Filling (adapted from the ultimate coconut cake from the peninsula grill)
-Buttermilk gives this filling a tangy quality that balances out the richness of the cream and butter-
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cup sugar
8 oz butter
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp water or milk
4 cups shredded coconut

1. In a large pot, heat the cream, buttermilk, sugar, butter, and salt over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is gently simmering.
2. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with the vanilla and water/milk to make a slurry. Add to the warm cream mixture and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes.
3. Add the coconut, and mix to combine. Remove from heat, and pour the finished filling into a shallow baking dish and cover directly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cooled completely or overnight. When ready to use, beat smooth with a whisk or in a mixer.

Coconut Cake
-This cake is so light it can err on the crumbly side, making it difficult to slice and layer. Either thoroughly chill the finished cakes prior to slicing, or use a simpler cake (try this pound cake minus the white chocolate, with 2 cups coconut folded into the finished batter).-
1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs (room temperature)

1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract

3 cups cake flour, sifted
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup shredded coconut

1. In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping between each addition. Mix in the extracts.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Gently begin adding to the butter mixture alternately with the coconut milk just until incorporated.
3. Gently fold in the shredded coconut.
4. Spoon the batter into greased and floured cake pans, and bake in a 350 degree oven until a tester comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes.

Fluffy Coconut Frosting
-I reduce the sugar in my version of seven minute frosting for a fluffy, but not overly sweet, finishing touch to this cake-
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 pinch salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract

shredded coconut, as needed

1. In a large metal or glass bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg whites, lemon juice, and salt. Set the bowl over a water bath (gently simmering water) and mix by hand or with a handheld mixer until stiff peaks begin to form.
2. Remove the mixture from heat, and continue beating for another minute or so. Mix in the extracts. Generously frost the cake with the finished icing, and press the shredded coconut all around the top and sides.

3 Responses

  1. Wow what a gorgeous cake. I love the combo of coconut milk in the cake and that great creamy filling.

  2. That is so gorgeous and “frilly!” Is it okay to call a cake frilly? I mean it as a compliment. It would be a great special occasion cake: wedding, baby shower, bridal shower, Thank Goodness It’s Friday…you know.

    Anyway, I found you on TasteSpotting and am writing to say that if you have any photos that aren’t accepted there, I’d love to publish them. Visit my new site (below), it’s a lot of fun! I hope you will consider it.


  3. There are not many cakes better than a coconut one! Your’s looks extra delish. I would love to give it a try one day.

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