Thursday, February 16, 2012

best. cake. ever.

mmmmm... this cake is so good i can't stop thinking about.
in fact, i'm having it for breakfast right now.
wait. what? i didn't say that. 
moving on...
I wanted to make something yummy for our valentine's day dessert
and since i have 7 bags of shredded coconut (no exaggeration)
i decided on a coconut cake. mmmmmm... cake.

the cast of characters:

for the cake:
5 egg whites
1/2 c. milk
1-2 tbls coconut flavoring or extract 
(didn't have any coconut extract so i used 1 tbls vanilla and 1 tbls almond extract)
3 c. cake flour
2 1/3 c. sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c. unsalted butter at room temp
1 c. unsweetened coconut milk

for the frosting:
12 ounces cream cheese, slightly chilled
1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
3 egg whites

1 1/2c. sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper (The original recipe is for a triple layer cake, but I only have two 8-inch pans and so I adjusted the cooking time for two thicker layers instead of three thinner layers.)
Put the egg whites in a bowl and whisk slightly. Add the 1/2 cup milk and coconut flavoring and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and coconut milk and combine on low speed. Increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add the egg white mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing just long enough to incorporate between additions. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

To make the frosting, put the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until fluffy and smooth. Add the butter 1-2 tablespoons at a time, mixing until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until creamy. Set aside.
Combine the granulated sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage, 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
(i didn't get any pics of this process and i'm pretty sure i screwed it up, but it still came out delicious)
Meanwhile, have the egg white in the bowl of an electric mixer, ready for when the syrup is at the proper temperature. Slowly add the hot syrup to the egg whites, while mixing on medium-low. Take care not to cause the hot syrup to splash. When all of the syrup is incorporated, raise the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture has cooled to body-temperature and it forms stiff peaks.
With the mixer on medium-low, add the cream cheese and butter mixture one spoonful at a time. When all is incorporated, raise the speed to medium and whip until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
Frost the cooled cakes and cover with shredded coconut.

obviously, your finished product will not have giant pieces missing.
i totally forgot to snap a pic on v-day, so this is the day after
and we obviously enjoyed it immensely :)

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