A friend recently bought a coconut cake because she was ‘in the mood’, we brewed a pot of tea, and after a dinner of salad (so we didn’t feel quite so guilty about the cake) we cut the pretty white cake. Then disappointment set in. It was nothing but a plain ole’ store bought white cake with coconut sprinkled on top. Being an amateur baker, this was entirely unacceptable, so I set out to make a coconut cake that tasted like coconut. As I am not a coconut lover I relied on others who are, to tell me if I accomplished my goal of creating a cake that actually tasted like coconut. Based on the reaction of said coconut lovers, I did indeed accomplish my goal.
A couple of months ago a co-worker mentioned it was his birthday soon, I asked if he’d like me to make a cake. He said no. Then, a half an hour later he came back to me and said he’d changed his mind, he would like a cake and he wanted a coconut cake. I made my new ‘recipe’ as cupcakes for Paul and the rest of the folks at work. They were a huge hit. I’ve had several people ask for the recipe, so figured I’d add it here.
Using a white cake mix, (I used Betty Crocker), I followed the instructions on the box, substituting the oil and water for virgin coconut oil and coconut cream or milk for the water. Not sure if coconut water would work as well. The virgin oil and cream have very nice coconut flavor. I used only egg whites. The one thing I added that wasn’t a substitution was ½ cup desiccated coconut to the batter. I got mine at Jane’s Cake and Chocolate Supply, which is one of the places where I get what I need for baking, gum paste flowers and my chocolate filled candies. However, a colleague at work found ‘dried’ coconut at Whole Foods. After baking the cupcakes, I cooled them on a rack, then put them in the boxes I use. I put the fluffy white frosting in a bowl and added 1 teaspoon coconut extract. I found I needed to add just a bit of powered sugar to stiffen it a little as the extract thinned it a too much. If you decide to use a pastry bag and fancy decorators tip you will probably need two cans of frosting, but if you aren’t using one, just spread the frosting on the cupcakes (or frost a layer cake). One other thing I did was toast some coconut. It was a nice contrast to the stark white of the frosting, and the toasted flavor was nice.
With the left over egg yolks I made a small batch of crème brulee, which gave me a chance to use my kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar on top. Back to the cake.
If you try this, let me know how it goes. Have a happy and safe Labor Day.