Monday, May 26, 2008

Coconut Cake - Happy Birthday Nana!

To celebrate my grandmother's birthday, I offered to make a cake to present to her at my mom's Memorial Day cookout. I asked Nana what kind of cake she would like and she told me either lemon or coconut. Being that I personally do not like lemon, I went with coconut ;) The obvious choice for a cake proved to be Ina Garten's Coconut Cake, as it was recommended to me by just about everyone on the What's Cooking message board. Upon reviewing the recipe, I decided it had to be a good cake. After all, how can anything that contains 5 sticks of butter, a pound of cream cheese and a pound of powdered sugar be bad? I even went ahead and made it more decadent by putting chocolate chips in the cake. Overall, this was a tasty cake! The frosting is unbelievably tasty. The cake was good, but I think I may have left it in the oven a few minutes too long as it ended up being on the dry side. Or perhaps it was because I used large eggs and Ina calls for extra large. Regardless, it was still delicious, and everyone enjoyed it - especially Nana!

Coconut Cake

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

For the frosting:
1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.
Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.
For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth (don't whip!).
To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.


Liz said...

That is one yummy-looking cake!

And you have the second-cutest Grandma EVER! (After my own, of course. Love the Grams!)

Lauren said...

What a GREAT picture! Happy Birthday, Nana! :)

Annie said...

Looks great! I really want to try this cake sometime, but I need an occasion to make it and leave it there :) That picture is SOOO adorable.

Claire said...

That is SUCH a cute picture your Nana! I love it! And the cake looks great, too.

Lisa said...

What a great cake and cute picture of your Nana!

Robin said...

Nana looks so excited and the cake is so pretty! Great job!

Robyn said...

Oh my gosh your Grandma is so cute.

Robyn said...

Oh my gosh your Grandma is so cute.

Pamela said...

The cake looks great, but your Nana looks AMAZING!! Glad she enjoyed her day. Great picture.