Monday, July 13, 2009

Your Hawaiian vacation in a dessert

Yes, yes, this economy stinks. Raj and I evaded it for a long time, but eventually it even got to us and our budget. On top of that, we are trying to save for a trip to Europe next spring. Needless to say, we won't be doing any spectacular traveling this summer. Unfortunately, I am really in the mood for a Hawaiian getaway. Badly. If any of you feels the same way, this is the best I can do for you: put on your mu'u-mu'u and try this cake.

I've got to tell you- this is my own recipe, so some of the quantities have been vague "to taste" kinds of amounts since I am the only one who has made it. I will try my very best to give you a good estimate of what I use.

You will notice that the pastry cream uses yolks, while the cake uses whites. I did this on purpose. Separate your eggs before you begin. Also, I think you will need about a quart of whipping cream. You will use whipped cream for a couple of things. If you are unfamiliar with making home made whipped cream, use this link.

Annika's Organic (if you use organic ingredients) coconut cake

1 recipe white cake
1/2 recipe pastry cream
12 oz flaked coconut
8 oz shredded coconut
1 recipe Coconut simple syrup

White Cake

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large egg whites (3/4 cup)
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Set rack at the middle level in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Butter the bottom of two 9-inch round or one 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan. Line bottom with parchment or waxed paper.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Combine egg whites, milk and vanilla extract. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture then add half the milk mixture. Continue to alternate beginning and ending with flour mixture. Scape the bowl and beater often.

Pour the batter into prepared pan(s) and smooth top with metal spatula. Bake cake(s) about 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean.

Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack, remove paper and let cool completely.

Pastry Cream

  • 3 cups milk
  • Seeds scraped from one vanilla bean (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 8 yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened

In a 3 quart saucepot combine the milk and vanilla bean seeds. Combine the yolks and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sift the cornstarch onto a piece of wax or parchment paper.

Scald the milk. Meanwhile, beat the yolks and sugar until they lighten in color. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the cornstarch. Pour about 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking continuously to incorporate. Whisk the tempered egg mixture back into the remaining hot milk, and place the pot back on the heat. Cook on medium high heat, stirring constantly but gently with the whisk, until the mixture comes to the boil. Reduce heat and let it boil for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and gently whisk in the butter. Strain the pastry cream into a bowl, place plastic wrap right down on the surface, and chill completely. This can be made up to 3 days ahead.


1. Toast the flaked coconut until it is golden in about a 350 degree oven. This goes FAST!

2. To prepare the simple syrup, boil 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar for 2 minutes. Cool, and mix in 1/4 cup coconut milk.

3. Whip 2 cups of cream per the directions I gave you. Use a whisk to break up and soften pastry cream. Fold about 1/3 of the whipped cream into pastry cream to lighten it (you have, by the way, just made a Bavarian cream). Add shredded coconut until, in your opinion, it tastes nice and coconut-y. For me, that's about as much coconut as the cream can possibly hold.

4. Place the first layer of cake down, and using a pastry brush soak with coconut simple syrup.

5. Spread cream mixture on the cake, about 1/4-1/2 inch deep. Leave a good 1/2 inch around the edges so that it doesn't drip over. Put the second layer of cake on and repeat soaking with syrup.

6. Use the remaining whipped cream to ice the cake on all sides about 1/4 inch thick. Make the top nice and flat, but don't worry too much about the sides, as they will be covered. If you run out of whipped cream, just make more.

7. Take a large handful of the toasted coconut, and gently press on the side of the cake, repeating until it is sufficiently covered on the sides.

8. At this point, you can decorate the top. I like to use a large star tip and edible flowers to give it an islandy feel.

1 comment:

The Saunders said...

Sounds yummy! But I am in no mood to bake. I would rather sit on the couch while you bake the cake and serve it to me :)