July 6, 2014
When I was a little girl, I was not very fond of coconut. There was something too coconutty about coconut flavours that it overwhelms my tastebuds. I was a child, my sense of taste wasn’t fully developed to appreciate the flavour of coconut – at least that was my excuse. It wasn’t till I was a bit older that I realized it; I wasn’t disliking coconut, I was just disliking the flavours of the processed extract of coconut. Fresh coconut, it’s flesh and water, virgin or otherwise transformed, I do very much like. It was probably very telling when I liked certain coconut products but not all. And I am glad to report, I do like coconut after all. And since that one time I saw a cake, iced in glorious white flakes, I have been wanting (dying) to make a coconut cake with all it’s glory. 🙂 My version of a coconut cake is a dense but light (I’ll get to that in a bit) cake with an Italian meringue icing flavour with my homemade coconut extract! I got that idea from Alton Brown. I had researched a lot of recipes, of cakes and icings, and I came up with this recipe as an adaptation to every awesomest cakes out there. I call this my own version of a coconutiest coconut cake. Be forewarned, you’ll need to think about this cake a week in advance if you want to make it with your own homemade coconut extract (recipe below). You could skip the extract too, it just won’t be the “coconutiest coconut cake” any more, it’d just be “coconut cake”.
Coconutiest Coconut Cake
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 1½ cups sugar
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature + 2 yolks
- 1 tablespoon homemade coconut extract
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more to dust pan
- 1 cup grounded almonds
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes + ¼ cup toasted until light brown
Coconut Italian Meringue Icing
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 6 egg whites
- 1½ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅔ cup coconut milk
- 2 teaspoon homemade coconut extract
- Preheat oven to 325F and line two 9-inch round cake tins with parchment paper. If you have a large rectangl etin, or two square tins, that’s fine to use too. Your cake will just not be round. Combine all the dry ingredients well and set aside.
- To make coconut cake: In a large bowl, combine your sugar and eggs and yolks and whisk until pale and ribbony. If you use handmixer, you can achieve this in 8-10 minutes. If you’re whisking by hand, you might want to think about investing in a handmixer, it’ll be a half hour or so.
- Drizzle in melted butter in medium speed and then add then add the vanilla and coconut extracts.
- We are going to combine the dry ingredients in so I used a spatula to avoid over mixing. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture in along with half the milk and combine well. Add the remaining flour, milk and half of the toasted unsweetened coconut in and mix the batter very well.
- Split the batter onto the prepared cake tin and bake for 55 minutes in the oven. Cake is done if you test it by poking with a knife and it comes out clean. Let it cool completely on a rack.
- To make Coconut Italian Meringue Icing: In a heatproof bowl, whisk egg white and sugar together. Place the bowl on top of a stainless steel pot filled with 1 inch of water simmering. Whisk the egg whites and sugar lightly for a 5-6 minutes, until the meringue mixture is hot and the sugar is mostly dissolved.
- Take the heatproof bowl off the pot and continue whisking the meringue on high with a hand mixer until a light, cloud-like meringue forms. This will take about 7-8 minutes to achieve.
- Lower the handmixer speed to low and add a piece of room temperature butter at a time and mix well. Don’t worry if the mixture looked a bit curdled in the beginning, continue mixing and it’ll eventually come together. Add the extracts and salt in at this point as well.
- Once all the butter is mixed in, increase the handmixer speed to medium high and continue mixing the butter into the meringue. And after about 5 minutes, a luscious, glossy, frosting manifests itself before your eyes and you’ll be very tempted to take a spoonful of it in your mouth. The frosting is not supposed to be thick, it looks more like liquid silk.
- Putting together Coconutiest Coconut Cake: When the cakes are cool, cut them length-wise into halves to make the four tiers for the cake.
- On a serving plate, layer cake, frosting and sprinkled with toasted coconut, and repeat until all layers are done. Spread the frosting in each layer as evenly as you can. Slather the remaining frosting all over the cake and press 1 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes all over the cake. Let the cake sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.
The addition of grounded almonds into the cake better makes a dense but light cake.
Homemade coconut extract
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1½ cup 40 or higher proof alcohol, vodka is fine as long as it is a clear tasteless alcohol.
Make: Combine the coconut flakes and alcohol together in a mason jar. Shake the content daily for 7 days. Add more alcohol as necessary.Use as instructed or to flavour other baked goods. Or as part of a cocktail.