You know, sometimes the best things in life aren’t the flashiest or the fanciest.
Take this Coconut Cake, for example. The most exotic thing about this dessert is the cup of coconut milk I had to hunt and peck all over the market to find. (Asian foods section!) However, a slice of this fluffy cloud of tropical heaven (um, not an understatement, okay) and you will appreciate the simple combination of coconut, sugar, pure vanilla extract, and butter.
I believe in butter.
I also believe in chocolate, wine, and the power of puppies, but that is for another post.
There are a caveats to producing a tender cake. First, there is the “do not over-mix” rule. Most people know this rule, the whole “over mixing produces tough proteins” thing. It’s true. Do NOT do this. Once you add your flours to the batter, mix until combined. Then stop. Seriously. DO NOT PROCEED ANY FURTHER.
The most important matter I’d like to address is that most people do not sufficiently cream their butter. I used to be guilty of this. I used to think “Pshaw. Cream the butter with the sugar for FIVE whole minutes?! That delays me stuffing my face!” Let me set the record. If your recipe says to cream your butter and sugar for five minutes, you CREAM THE BUTTER FOR FIVE FREAKING MINUTES, BUDDY! When sufficiently creamed, your butter and sugar form the base for an airy, tender cake. And that’s worth delaying a nosh for an extra five minutes.
Pale yellow is the “power color” of properly creamed butter.
Now that we having the baking science out of the way, let’s get down to business. Coconutty, buttery, business. *drool*
This is the kind of cake that you want to serve with coffee or tea, for sure. And maybe a smidgeon of jam. Or half the jar. Let’s not be stingy, now.
I baked this particular batter in a bundt pan, set at 350 degrees, for about an hour and 10 minutes. This batter would make equally great sheet cake, layer cake, or even cupcakes!
Fluffy Coconut Cake
1 cup butter (2 sticks), unsalted, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, large
3 1/2 cups cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup coconut milk (sold in most markets in the Asian foods section)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract (can substitute equal amount vanilla)
1 cup coconut, shredded and sweetened
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease desired cake pan with melted butter. Set aside.
1. In a large bowl, or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together softened butter and granulated sugar for five minutes. Butter should be fluffy and pale yellow at the end.
2. Add in eggs, one at a time, until mixed, scraping bowl in between.
3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. In a measuring cup, add extracts to 1 cup coconut milk.
5. Add one third of combined flour mix to creamed butter, just until combined.
6. Add half of coconut milk/extract mixture, just until combined.
7. Add second third of flour, just until combined. Scrape bowl.
8. Add rest of coconut milk, until combined.
9. Add remainder of flour, just until combined and scraping bowl to ensure everything is mixed well.
10. Add batter to large, greased, Bundt pan, baking at 350 degrees for approximately 70 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
11. Allow cake to cook in Bundt pan for approximately 20 minutes, then turn out onto cookie sheet and allow to cool completely.
12. Drizzle cake with coconut icing and toasted coconut shreds, smeared with jam if desired.
Toasted Coconut Glaze
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, separated
1 tsp. coconut extract (or substitute vanilla extract)
pinch of salt
1 cup of shredded, sweetened coconut.
1. In preheated 350 degree oven, toast shredded coconut on cookie sheet for approximately ten minutes. STIR COCONUT EVERY FEW MINUTES. Keep an eye on your coconut as it goes from toasty to roasty in zero time flat! Remove from oven and set aside.
2. In medium mixing bowl, break up any clumps in powdered sugar and pinch of salt using a whisk.
3. Add in heavy whipping cream, 1/4 cup at a time, until a glaze is formed. It should be thick enough to thoroughly coat the back of a spoon, but have enough fluidity to drizzle itself in thick ribbons. Depending upon where you live, weather, humidity, etc., you may not need all of the cream.
4. Add in extract.
5. Immediately drizzle or spoon glaze over cooled cake. Top with toasted coconut.