Monday, March 24, 2014

Coconut Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

Several years ago, I made the best coconut cake I've ever made for a friend. Unfortunately, I made it with a Swiss buttercream frosting, which I since realized is my nemesis (bleh--butter with a tiny bit of sugar= toast, not cake).

I didn't forget about that cake (it was really good), but I didn't make it again in order to experiment with frostings because Kip and Mark don't like coconut and as awesome as cake is, I rarely want to make one that I primarily consume by myself. So I didn't make this again for a couple years. Fortunately for me, my sister-in-law was looking for a good coconut cake. I gave her this recipe and she topped it with a white chocolate frosting, which I realized was the perfect pairing for this cake. This frosting walks the line between white chocolate ganache and regular frosting, and is positively delicious. It's perfect cake. Also, it's gorgeous.

And then, as fate would have it, we were having a baby shower for a friend of mine who does like coconut and I thought this white cake with mounds of pretty pink coconut would be just the thing. It was.

Coconut Layer Cake with White Chocolate Frosting
adapted from The New Best Recipe
makes 2 layers
Prep time: 20 minutes for cake, 10 minutes for frosting, 2 minutes for coconut
Cook time: 30 minutes for cake, plus several hours of cool time before you can frost
Cost: cake--$2.90, frosting: $5.45, coconut: .60. Total: $9.00
cake--flour: .25, eggs: .60, cream of coconut: 1.00, extracts, etc.: .30, butter: .75
frosting--white chocolate chips: 5.00 (ouch, I know--go with plain vanilla frosting if you want to cheapen it), milk: .15, powdered sugar: .30
coconut: .60

A few notes:
-Cream of coconut is sort of like sweetened condensed milk, only with coconut instead of cow's milk. It can usually be found int he liquor aisle since it is often used for making pina coladas.
-If you're looking for a killer white cake but don't want coconut, my sister-in-law says she subbed sour cream for the coconut cream and more vanilla for the coconut extract and turned out a delicious white cake. I haven't done this, but she's a pretty great cake maker.
-If you just want regular frosting, this vanilla butter frosting also rocks this cake
-How to use all those extra egg yolks? If you're not interested in a yolk-heavy omelette (yum), I'd recommend a good pudding.
-How to use the rest of your cream of coconut? We made a smoothie with 2 C frozen strawberries, milk, 1/2 banana, and a good scoop of coconut cream and it was to die for.


2 1/4 C flour (cake flour or all-purpose)
1 large egg, plus 5 egg whites
3/4 C cream of coconut
1/4 C water
1 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 C sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces


Note: This cake is also delicious with this vanilla frosting.

Note: You should use a high quality white chocolate for this to work well. Cheap white chocolate isn't really chocolate at all (white chocolate contains the butterfat from cocao). My cheap ones were actually called "hite baking chips" when I looked closely at the bag.

2 bags high quality white chocolate
about 1 C milk
3-4 C powdered sugar

Pink coconut:

1-2 C sweetened shredded coconut
a few drops red food coloring

For the cake:

Heat oven to 325.

Grease two 9-inch cake pans. Then cut out a round of wax paper (or parchment paper) and put this in the bottom of your cake pan. Then grease that. [Do you have to do the whole wax/parchment paper thing? No. But it will make your life so much less stressful when you go to turn that cake out. Totally worth the 5 minutes.]

In a small bowl, beat large egg and egg whites with a fork. Add cream of coconut, water, coconut extract, and vanilla and beat with a fork until combined.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl (or stand mixer bowl). Add butter, one piece at a time, and beat until the mixture resembles coarse meal with butter bits no larger than small peas.

With the mixer still running (if you're coordinated enough; if not, life will go on) add about 1 C of the coconut cream/egg mixtures. Beat until combined. Then add the rest of the coconut cream/egg mixture and beat until thoroughly combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. You'll have a fairly thick batter. Usually I don't trust thick cake batters, but this one totally works.

Divide batter between cake pans and mix.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick/fork/large handsaw/whatever comes out clean or with a few moist (but not raw) crumbs clinging to it.

Let cool for 10 minutes in pans. Then turn out to cool on a rack or parchment paper lined plates/countertop. [This is the type of instruction I ignored when I was learning to make cakes. Don't. If you leave those cakes in there for hours, they will be VERY hard to turn out.]

For the frosting:

Combine white chocolate and milk in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 30 second intervals, mixing in between. Eventually it will start to come together into a runny, creamy mixture. If it is very thick (mine wasn't), add more milk. (This takes longer for me than when I use chocolate chocolate chips.)

Let this cool for a few minutes and beat. It will thicken somewhat, but it won't whip up like regular chocolate ganaches do. That's why we're going to add some powdered sugar.

Starting with 2 C, add the powdered sugar and beat. Taste. Is is sweet enough? Is it thick enough to frost a cake? I needed to add more to get the right consistency, but it may vary somewhat depending on what type of white chocolate chips you use. Add more powdered sugar in 1/2 C intervals and beat well. It will be somewhat thick--you want it thick enough not to drip off your cake. Also, remember that if it is warm, it will thicken as it cools.

To assemble your cake:

Put one layer on a cake holder or large plate. Frost with white chocolate ganache. If it seems like it will squish out when you top it with the second layer, throw it in the fridge for a few minutes so that it will harden up.

Add next layer of cake and frost the top.

Then frost the sides.

(Note: I hope I've given you enough frosting. Truth be told, I did the cupcakes pictured above with 1/2 of this white chocolate frosting recipe and I made a mini (6-inch cake), which I frosted with my vanilla frosting.)

Another random note: I think this would be super amazing with vanilla frosting in between the layers and then the ganache on the top and sides. Oh, yes, I do. But that's more work and I get it if you don't want to mess with it.

For the coconut:

Put the coconut in a Ziploc bag. Add a few drops of food coloring. Squish and shake it around. It will turn color. Fun, right!

Put this on the top of your cake while the ganache is still soft enough. If you wait till the ganache sets, your coconut won't stick.


1 comment:

  1. This looks amazing! And I love the suggestions for using up extras! Thanks. I don't know when I'll get to try it. The only ones around here who really like it are me and my 9 yo and we don't need to eat an entire cake, either!



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