I knew you were coming, so I baked a cake
November 16, 2015
A coconut cake, in fact. The cake that is perhaps my very favorite cake among all cakes (though pineapple upside down cake and ricotta cake come close). The cake that my Mama used to make the old-fashioned way, either grating the coconut on the box grater (and trying not to grate knuckles in with it; blood really shows up against coconut) or just getting out the sausage grinder and mincing it up that way.
Me, I have the advantage of fresh-frozen coconut from the grocery, and I use it in copious quantities. It’s one product whose taste doesn’t vary much from the real, fresh item. (Sans blood.)
Mama used to frost her coconut cakes with seven-minute frosting, which has never been one of my favorites. I don’t like buttercream on a coconut cake, either; it’s too sweet. But Mama came across this ultra-simple frosting for this cake years ago, and I’ve adopted it for my own, and it’s wonderful.
I tried a different recipe for my cake itself this time; it’s here. I baked mine in three layers, which I always do for coconut cake, because I like thinner layers that I can frost between. And I may have made a major error, because I somehow managed to tilt two of the pans when I put them in the oven, resulting in two layers which have one thin side and one thick side. The thin-and-thick cancel each other out when you stack them, so the cake’s not lopsided, but the thin sides of the layers may have overcooked.
To compensate for that, and because this cake needs to be moister-than-moist to be really good, I poked holes in the layers with a fork. Then I took about 1/4 cup of coconut milk and drizzled it over each layer, using a tablespoon, so it could soak in well. Then I went ahead and frosted it. I’m hoping that, plus the two-day “soak” in the moist frosting in the fridge, will soften up any overcooked areas.
This frosting. This is just the best frosting in the world for coconut cake, and it’s dead simple.
Take a cup and a half of sour cream. I use the full-fat kind. You’re making a freaking dessert; quit worrying about calories. Add a cup of granulated sugar, and stir it up. Then add one package and half of another package of thawed frozen coconut. The dried flaked coconut in the baking section will work, but it will NOT be as good.
Use about half that mixture to frost in between the layers and on top of the cake. Slather it on thickly; you want it to really coat those layers so the moisture will soak in.
Then take either about half of a small container of Cool Whip, or the equivalent amount of lightly sweetened whipped cream, and stir into the remaining frosting. I will confess to generally using Cool Whip because it seems to me to be a bit more stable; I’m always afraid my whipped cream is going to liquefy. Frost the sides of the cake, and gently dollop it around on top so you can create a layer atop the initial filling you’ve already put there.
Lick your fingers, lick the bowl, lick the spatula, because this stuff? Is GOOD.
Take that half a bag of reserved coconut, and sprinkle it on top and pat it on the sides of the cake. Then pop that baby into a fairly airtight cake keeper and stash it in the refrigerator, where it MUST sit, undisturbed, for a minimum of 48 hours, and it’s better if you wait 72, but who can really wait that long? I made this one last night, and frosted it this morning, to eat Wednesday night, which won’t be a full 72 hours, but hopefully will be long enough.
This is a pretty fine cake. Find you a white/yellow cake recipe you like, or use a mix if you want — I’ll never tell — and proceed apace. It never fails to get oohs and aaahs. It also, in the unlikely case you have enough leftovers you want to keep them more than three or four days (it MUST live in the fridge) freezes well. I have said for a long time I was going to get small cake pans and make three or four small cakes and freeze them, so I could enjoy it at times other than when I was having a crowd over.
I’m having friends over for dinner Wednesday, and dessert is done. If you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em show up, I’ll definitely give you a slice of cake.