Hi! Remember me?

July 31, 2011

Well. I think I used to write here.

Rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated, as a much better writer than me once said. But it’s been a royal bee-yotch of a week, I’ve been stressed and depressed and frantic and were it not for the little happy pills that let me sleep at night, I’d’a probably been suicidal.

However, I seemed to have turned a corner Friday, came home and drank wine Friday night, spent yesterday on the lake drinking way too much but thoroughly enjoying the sun and the breeze, and have even done a little cooking. There will be more cooking, and perhaps a wee bit o’drinking, today.

Looks more like a Mounds bar, sans chocolate, than it does a coconut cake.

Made perhaps the ugliest coconut cake in the history of coconut cakes Friday night, for a co-worker’s father-in-law’s birthday. For whatever reason, my layers wanted to crack and crumble and stick to the pans, yielding a somewhat lopsided stack, and then my frosting was a bit thin. Oh, well, it should taste good, never mind if they have to stick it in a bowl and eat it with a spoon. Call the damn thing trifle, or something. But I do make perhaps the best coconut cake in the world, based off a Cook’s Illustrated recipe:

Classic White Cake

Nonstick cooking spray
2 1/4 cups cake flour (9 ounces), plus more for dusting the pans
1 cup whole milk , at room temperature (I use coconut milk for coconut cake)
6 large egg whites (3/4 cup), at room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool

1. For the Cake: Set oven rack in middle position. (If oven is too small to cook both layers on a single rack, set racks in upper-middle and lower-middle positions.) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray; line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper rounds. Spray the paper rounds, dust the pans with flour, and invert pans and rap sharply to remove excess flour.

2. Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended.

3. Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.

4. Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer.

5. Divide batter evenly between two prepared cake pans; using rubber spatula, spread batter to pan walls and smooth tops. Arrange pans at least 3 inches from the oven walls and 3 inches apart. (If oven is small, place pans on separate racks in staggered fashion to allow for air circulation.) Bake until thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes.

6. Let cakes rest in pans for 3 minutes. Loosen from sides of pans with a knife, if necessary, and invert onto wire racks. Reinvert onto additional wire racks. Let cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.

For the frosting, I mix a cup of sour cream, a package of frozen coconut, and 3/4 of a cup of sugar. I reserve about a third of that, and spread the rest in between the layers (my cake pans are 8-inch, and this recipe depends on lots of moistness from the frosting penetrating the cake, so I make three layers instead of two). Beat a cup of whipping cream until it’s very stiff, and fold in the remaining frosting and a half-bag of coconut. Frost the top and sides of the cake, and sprinkle the remaining coconut on top.

It has to live in the fridge, and it needs to be made a couple of days in advance, but damn it’s good!

Last night, I made shrimp and grits, which I did not want, because I had been drinking all day. But they weren’t bad, albeit too salty. As I did not eat them, I woke up starved to death today, and fixed myself a big ol’ breakfast — a yeast roll, bacon jam, fried up leftover grits from last night, an over easy egg and a slice of tomato.

That's a breakfast that'll keep you going through lunch!

Got more tomatos, along with some roasted corn, marinating in oil and vinegar for a salad tonight with a grilled pork loin. Got figs on cooking down for fig jam. Thinking I’ll make a loaf of bread. Kinda getting back in the cooking saddle, after a week of fast food and next-to-nothing because I have had no appetite.

Well. I think I’m off to the kitchen to get some stuff done. If I don’t give up the ghost early tonight, I may update with today’s production. If not, well, at least you and y’mama ‘n ’em know I’m alive.


One Response to “Hi! Remember me?”

  1. Len Cleavelin Says:

    Good to know you haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth. 🙂

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